1.0 British Ropes Ltd, incorporated on 6 June 1924, was formed through a merger of eight companies. Seven of these made wire rope only, whilst one (Craven and Speeding) made fibre products, particularly binder twine. The eight companies were:
Bullivant and Co. London
George Craddock and Co, Wakefield
Craven and Speeding and Co, Sunderland
D.H. and G. Haggie, Sunderland
Haggie Bros, Gateshead
R.S. Newall and Son, Liverpool
Thomas and William Smith, Newcastle upon Tyne, and Tyne Wire Drawing Co, Gateshead, a subsidiary of Haggie Bros.
2.0 In 1925 and 1926 the new company acquired nine wire rope manufacturers, four firms of specialist wire drawers and five fibre rope makers. The wire rope companies were:
Allan, Whyte and Co, Rutherglen
W.B. Brown (Bankhall), Liverpool
Caledonian Wire Rope Co, Airdrie
Dunn and King, Lambeth
Edwin Ellis and Co, Milwall and Stratford
Excelsior Wire Rope Co, Cardiff
F.W. Scott and Co, Redditch
John Stephens and Sons, Falmouth and Warrington Wire Rope Co, Warrington and its interest in the Bristol Wire Rope Co.
2.1 The wire drawers were:
Doncaster Wire Co,
Steel Wire Co,
Ordsall Wire Mills Ltd, and E and A Smith and Co
2.2 The fibre rope makers were:
Charlton Ropeworks, Charlton
J.T. Davies, Bow, London, a subsidiary of the wire rope manufacturers John Stephens and Co,
Edinburgh Roperie and Sail Cloth Co, Leith Frost Bros, London and
South Wales Rope Work Co, a subsidiary of Excelsior Wire Rope Co
3.0 Rationalisation followed in order to concentrate production and by the mid 1940s British Ropes operated only seven wire rope factories. These were located at:
Cardiff, formerly the Excelsior Wire Rope Co
Doncaster, where there were two plants, the North Ropery of 1935 and the South Ropery of 1938 Gateshead, formerly Haggie Bros
Retford, where a new factory was built in 1935
Rutherglen, formerly Allan, Whyte and Co, and Wakefield, formerly George Craddock and Co
4.0 By the mid 1940s rationalisation of fibre rope and cordage production had led to the closure of all but four rope works located at:
Cardiff, formerly South Wales Rope Work Co
Charlton, formerly Charlton Ropeworks
Leith, formerly the Edinburgh Roperie and Sail Cloth Co, and
Sunderland, formerly Craven and Speeding
5.0 Acquisitions by British Ropes between 1945 and 1971 were:
Bristol Wire Rope Co, wholly purchased, 1948
Wm Cooke and Co, part purchased 1948, and the remainder purchased 1954
Humber Ropes, Grimsby 1954
R Hood Haggie and Sons, Tyneside, 1959 with its subsidiaries Glaholm and Robson and Dixon Corbitt which had acquired R.S. Newall and Co D. Morgan Rees, Cardiff 1962
George Elliott and Co, Cardiff, 1962 with its eight subsidiaries including William Terrell and Sons Newburn Cordage, Newcastle upon Tyne, 1963
Garnock Bibby and Co, Liverpool, 1963
Wrights' Ropes, Birmingham, 1963 and its subsidiary Rollason Wire Co
Great Grimsby Coal Salt and Tanning Co, 1965 (rope making interests only).
Henry Bannister, 1966 (purchase of goodwill only)
Mitchell Ropeways, 1967
London Spinning Co, Deptford, 1967
Webster and Co, Sunderland, 1967
Healey Bros, Heywood, 1968
Hugh Lewis and Sons, 1969
Binks Bros, Milwall, 1970 and Gourock Ropework Co, Port Glasgow 1971
All the factories acquired after the purchase of R. Hood Haggie in 1959 were closed on take over.
6.0 The purchase of R. Hood Haggie significantly increased the fibre-using plants controlled by British Ropes and the plants at Cardiff and Leith (see paragraph 4) were closed down. In 1971
British Twines Ltd was formed through the amalgamation of two firms, John Homes of East Ardsley, purchased by British Ropes in 1936 and Healey Bros of Heywood, purchased in 1968.
7.0 By the late 1960s British Ropes owned entirely or in part some two dozen manufacturers and distributors of ropes in continental Europe, Africa, the Americas, Australasia, Canada and the Pacific. The largest concerns were in Belgium, Canada, Mexico, South Africa and New Zealand.
8.0 In 1974 the name of the parent company was changed to Bridon Ltd, with four susbsidiary companies in the UK and Europe, comprising British Ropes, Bridon Wire, Bridon Fibres and Plastics and Bridon Engineering.