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Old trade advertisement 1851.
(Melville & Co.'s Directory of Wolverhampton)
Gibbons fireclay, brick and retort manufacturers at Dibdale, their family business was one of the larger industries and major employers in the area.
Benjamin Gibbons started the fireclay works at Deepdale in 1834. He purchased the large area of land sliced through by Baggleys Lane, this parcel of land stretched from the Dudley Road down to the Himley Road and was rich in both coal and clay.
The quality of the underlying clay at Deepdale produced especially good fireclay, this would be used for producing bricks and other refractories which could be employed in furnaces and other industries where high temperatures were used.
In the middle of the 19th Century the main works started to produced gas retorts from the fireclay, and became one of the biggest suppliers in the land.
Retorts were used to extract gas from coal, and this enterprise proved very successful.
After Benjamin Gibbons death in 1863, his widow continued to run the retort business until she died in 1880, whereas her sons, trading as Gibbons Bros. took on the mining and engineering side of the business.
Since the discovery of the undersea gas fields in the 1960s, the demand for the company's products for producing coal gas declined, some of the land was sold off and the old slag heaps pushed aside to make way for the new Milking Bank housing estate.
Trade advertisement 1918.
(Grace's Guide to British Industrial Heritage)
Aftermath of the fire
A large fire totally gutted the Gibbons factory office buildings alongside Dibdale Road in July 1974.
The works eventually closed in 1987, a small tree plantation - part of the Black Country Urban Forest, was established on part of the land.
What remained of the works was demolished around 2005, and another housing development took place on what remained of Gibbons' land.
257 travelling up Bagleys Lane towards Dudley, 1978.
Photo courtesy of 'Walsall1955 Flickr'.
The vast Dibdale works of Messrs. Gibbons in the background nearing the end of its 150 year existance.
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