H. and T. Danks

The business was founded in Netherton, in 1840 by Joseph Danks, a publican who was running the Apple Tree pub at Rowley Regis in 1850. He is listed in the 1851 census as living at Rowley Regis, aged 42 with his wife Elizabeth, also 42 and their children: Henry, age 19; Thomas, age 17; Mary, age 14; Edwin, age 11; Lydia, age 8; and Elizabeth, aged 4.

In the 1850s, Edwin had an argument with his father and brothers and was given a large sum of money and told to go Australia to farm sheep. On his return, he founded a company at Oldbury called ‘Edwin Danks of Oldbury’ on a 17 acre site, in direct competition with H. and T. Danks.

Henry and Thomas Danks ran H. and T. Danks which specialised in the production of Lancashire boilers. They also made iron boats.

An advert from 1888.

Thomas Danks married Ellen White in 1855 and they had seven sons and three daughters. They are listed in the 1891 census as living at 77 Dudley Road, Rowley Regis.

At the time, Thomas was 57 years old and Ellen was 54. They were living with three of their sons, Thomas Albert Danks, age 28; Edwin Danks, age 26; and Alfred Benjamin Charles Danks, age 23. They had two servants.

Thomas died at Stourbridge in 1902, and Henry died in 1903. In 1907, H. and T. Danks became a private limited company and became H. and T. Danks (Netherton) Limited.

In 1937 the name was changed to Danks of Netherton. By 1961 there were 300 employees. In 1984 the business was taken over by Edwin Danks and Company.

H. and T. Danks were reconstructed and became H. and T. Danks (Netherton) Limited.

An advert from 1929.

An advert from 1936.

An advert from 1958.

Edwin Danks and Company

As already mentioned, Edwin had an argument with his family and was sent to Australia to farm sheep. He went to Australia but soon returned and started a jewellery business in Birmingham, which was unsuccessful.

In 1868 he set up a boiler manufacturing company in Oldbury, in direct competition with H. and T. Danks. The business was located on a 17 acre site in Dudley Road, Oldbury, alongside the canal. The company, originally called Edwin Danks of Oldbury, produced the same range of products as H. and T. Danks and became a private limited company in 1896, when it was listed as producing boilers and iron boats. In 1903 the firm opened an office at 52 Lime Street, London.

The location of the boiler works at Oldbury.

An advert from 1891.

An Edwin Danks boiler from 1909.

Edwin Danks of Oldbury was acquired by Babcock and Wilcox in 1910 and began to concentrate on the manufacture of Lancashire type boilers.

In 1937 the company had a stand at the British Industries Fair and was listed in the catalogue as a manufacturer of pipework, tanks, valves, interlocking flooring, structural steelwork and press work. The firm also converted thousands of Lancashire boilers to chain grate stokers.

In January 1945 Mr. J. Smith became Managing Director, after working for many years as the company’s chief engineer. He was replaced as chief engineer by Mr. W. F. Johnston. The Oldbury factory was refurbished in 1959 and by 1961 the firm was concentrating on the manufacture of shell boilers, water tube boilers, pressure vessels, chain grate stokers and oil burners. In 1961 the firm also took out a patent for improvements relating to fuel burning apparatus and in 1964 took out a patent for improvements relating to steam boilers.

In 1984 the company took over its old rival, Danks of Netherton and was then taken over itself, becoming part of the Wellman Group, run by  Wellman, Smith, & Owen of Darlaston. It was later called Wellman Robey.

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