Tyne and Wear HER(4437): Sunderland, Crowley's Iron Works - Details
Sunderland, Crowley's Iron Works
Metal Smelting Site
In circa 1682 Sir Ambrose Crowley began an iron manufactory in Sunderland, in a house in Low Street known as the Wear Ice Wearhouse. This was a nail warehouse and manufacturing plant where he could challenge the nail making cartels that operated in the West Midlands. It became his Anchor and Chain Works in 1682. Robinson locates it at the foot of Russell Street and describes it as a stone fronted house. The headstones of some of the windows were of Saxon style, said to have come from St Paul's chapel at the monastery. A carved stone above the door bore the date 1682. Sunderland however was remote from the iron-making district and there were few experienced nail makers in the north-east. Workers had to be brought in. A letter of 1685 indicates that Crowley intended building a slitting mill at Sunderland. Subsequent references to workmen from Liege suggest that this mill was built - it was from Liege that the slitting mill was introduced to England. Crowley did not not stay long in Sunderland before setting up his works in Winlaton village (HER 5987) in 1691 and later at Swalwell (HER 5979). He seems to have abandened his Sunderland enterprise by 1691 following the religious persecution of the largely Catholic specialist workforce that he had brought to the area from Liege. The works at Sunderland were demolished in 1917/8 and replaced with Scotia Engine Works.
<< HER 4437 >> Mackenzie & Ross, 1834, Historicalâ€¦.View of the County Palatinate of Durham, p 267 J. Robinson 1903, Historic Houses in Sunderland Antiquities of Sunderland, Vol. 5, P 18; M.W. Flinn, 1962, Men of Iron - the Crowleys in the Early Iron Industry