History of Stanton Ironworks site
STANTON Ironworks were originally started in 1846 when Chesterfield man Benjamin Smith, and his son Josiah, brought three blast-furnaces into production alongside the banks of the Nutbrook Canal.
These original furnaces produced around 20 tons of pig iron – a basic type of iron – per day but the company experienced financial difficulties and there were several take-overs during the middle of the 19th century.
During this period the business was taken over by the Crompton family, who then owned the firm for more than 80 years and renamed it The Stanton Iron Company.
The Franco-Prussian War of 1870 created a huge demand for iron and the works expanded rapidly, with the construction of new furnaces and foundries, known as the New Works, along the Erewash Canal.
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By the early 20th century the business was named The Stanton Ironworks Company Ltd, and during the First World War Stanton produced large numbers of shell casings, while during the Second World War both shell and bomb casings, gun barrels, and concrete air-raid shelter components were made.
With its experience in high quality concrete products, Stanton was also involved in the production of experimental concrete torpedo casings and made 873,500 bomb casings.
At its height 7,000 people worked at Stanton, making it one of the biggest employers in the area.
The years following the war saw Stanton's fortunes fluctuate with nationalisation, privatisation and re-nationalisation taking place.
During the early 1980s Stanton became part of the French Pont-a-Mouson Group and later part of Saint Gobain.
Production wound down during the 1990s and eventually stopped on May 24, 2007, when the last pipe was made.
Soon after the closure, Birmingham-based company Spring started creating controversial plans to build 4,000 houses on the site.
But in 2008 the company was forced to pull out of the deal after its residential property arm suffered badly in the credit crunch. However Saint Gobain still wanted to continue with the plans to create the village on the brownfield site.
After years of indecision, plans have now finally been submitted for the approval of Erewash Borough Council.
Most recently the site hit the headlines after a huge blaze took hold at the Arcwood Recycling plant.
Crews were forced to let the 8,000 tonnes of wood burn out after failing to douse the flames and thousands of fish were killed as water used to tackle the fire ran into a nearby canal.
The blaze, which lasted nearly two months, even changed national policy as the Environment Agency confirmed early this week that it was working with other UK recycling plants to reduce the risk of fire.