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The Forest of Dean by H. G. Nicholls

A gentleman in the tinplate trade


"Attempts still continued to be made from time to time in the locality, but the want of success, and the loss of large capital, placed the whole neighbourhood under a ban. It was during this interval that the name of David Mushet appears in connexion with the Forest. He made his first essay at White Cliff, near Coleford, in partnership with a Mr. Alford. The result was the loss of the entire investment, and the dismantling of the works, except the shell of the building, as a monument over the grave of departed thousands. A large quantity of the castings were brought to Cinderford in 1827, and were connected with the blast apparatus attached to those works. The names of Birt and Teague now occasionally appeared, combined with attempts to retrieve the character of the locality for iron making; but all failed: and Mr. Mushet's famous declaration that physical difficulties would for ever prevent its success, in connexion with such repeated failures, seemed for several years to have sealed up the prospects of the Forest; but at length a glimmer of light broke through the darkness, and it was reserved for an individual of Forest birth to prove that the greatest theorists may arrive at wrong practical conclusions.

"Moses Teague was the day-star who ushered in a bright morning after a dark and gloomy night. Great natural genius, combined with a rare devotion to the interests of the Forest, led him to attempt a solution of the difficulty. In this he so far succeeded at Dark Hill, in the cupola formerly used by Mr. Mushet, that he formed a company, consisting of Messrs. Whitehouse, James, and Montague, who took a lease of Park End Furnace about the year 1825, erected a large water-wheel to blow the furnace, and got to work in 1826. Having started this concern, Mr. Teague, who from constitutional tendencies was always seeking something new, and considered nothing done while aught remained to do, cast his eye on Cinderford, which he thought presented the best prospects in the locality; and after making arrangments with Messrs. Montague, Church, and Fraser, those gentlemen with himself formed the first 'Cinderford Iron Company,' the writer joining the undertaking when the foundations of the buildings were being laid. The scheme comprehended two blast furnaces, a powerful blast engine still at work, finery, forge, and rolling-mill, designed to furnish about forty tons of tinplate per week with collieries and mine work. Before the completion of the undertaking it was found that the outlay so far exceeded their expectations and means, that the concern became embarrassed almost before it was finished, which, with the then great depression of the iron trade during the years 1829 to 1832 inclusive, led to the stoppage of the works, which had continued in operation from November 1829 till the close of 1832, in which state they continued to 1835, when Mr. Teague again came to the rescue, and induced Mr. William Allaway, a gentleman in the tinplate trade, of Lydbrook, to form, in connexion with Messrs. Crawshay, another company. Mr. Teague having retired from the management of the furnaces, that important post was filled by Mr. James Broad, a man of great practical knowledge, who for twenty years succeeded in making iron at Cinderford furnaces of quality and in quantities which had never been anticipated. There are now four blast furnaces, three of which are always in blast, and a new blast engine of considerable power is in course of erection, in addition to the old engine which has been puffing away for twenty-eight years."


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