Monday, 31 July 2017

Mostyn Iron Works

Mostyn Iron Works Circa 1930 Courtesy of Coflein Mapping
 Mostyn Colliery was a coal mine in Flintshire, North Wales, that was owned in the later part of its operating life by the influential Mostyn family. The colliery was located at Mostyn on the banks of the River Dee.

When an ironworks was opened to produce iron using coal from Mostyn colliery in 1802, the company was renamed the 'Mostyn Coal and Iron Company'. In 1887 the Mostyn Coal and Iron Co was taken over by a Darwen (Lancashire) company to become the Darwen and Mostyn Iron Co Ltd. In 1927 A private company with two furnaces usually in blast at Darwen and two at Mostyn, on the North Wales coast. Known as a maker of spiegeleisen, ferromanganese, silicon spiegel, silicious iron and chrome iron, produced largely from foreign ores discharged from steamers at the furnace depots on the Dee. In 1951, business nationalised under the Iron and Steel Act; became part of the Iron and Steel Corporation of Great Britain. In 1959, Company sold to Barrow Hematite Steel Co by the Holding and Realization Agency.

Mostyn Iron Works Circa 1930 Courtesy of Coflein Mapping
The Mostyn furnaces would have been visible from Lowry's home at Inglewood, Caldy in the 1920s before the trees obscured the view in later years. The furnaces seem to have had a strong impact on the young Lowry's imagination. Later, the view across Burrard Inlet from Dollarton to the oil refinery must have reminded Lowry of the Mostyn furnaces of his youth.

Lowry refers to the furnaces in his early short story 'Enter One In Sumptuous Armour': ""Over the Dee in Flintshire the furnaces glowed red." (Psalms & Songs Pg. 232)

Lowry makes several references in his novel In Ballast to the White Sea; the furnaces are visible from the Caldy Golf Club while Sigbjørn plays golf with his father "Dark clouds were blowing up from the sea, from the Point of Ayr: beyond, on the other side of the river in Flintshire, the Welsh mountains loomed leaden-grey: but the Mostyn furnaces were lashing vermillion against the angry sky, as though something, or the shadow of something, were there, gesticulating in the furnace light." and " Over in Flint against the Welsh mountains the Mostyn furnaces lashed red against the blackness." (Chapter V111); the smoke is apparent at Caldy before Sigbjørn leaves for Preston; "And outside a thick fog, as though all the smoke of Liverpool and Birkenhead, not to say of Chester and the furnaces of Mostyn, were hanging concentrated over the Wirral Peninsula. A gloomy prospect." (Chapter 1X) and finally the pilot sees smoke over Lancashire which echoes the furnaces; "Smoke-laden flames, in murderous competition, streaked ever higher in an obscene parody of the Mostyn furnaces which had once seemed to Sigbjørn to threaten the body of the night." (Chapter X111).