Fensecure was established in 1918 as John Knowles (Wednesbury) Ltd by B.C. Knowles and J.J. Knowles. John Knowles (Wednesbury) were tube fittings manufacturers. It wasn’t until John Knowles were bought out by Tipper Brothers in the 1960’s that Fensecure came into its own. Using the tube fittings which we were specialists in, the Classic range of tubular fencing systems was born. From there it was a small stepping stone to being one of the country’s leading fencing manufacturers, which we are today.
Steelway was founded in 1928 at the Queensgate Works site in Wolverhampton by C.W. Goodyear. The original products that the company produced doesn’t much differ from today with the exception of weed burners and domestic household products. The weed burners were manufactured on Steelway’s behalf by T.E. Bladon & Sons Ltd, Birmingham. In 1931 Steelway merged with F Hammond & Co who were established manufacturers of handrail standards. Mr Hammond joined the board of directors. On the board of directors were Mr. F.H. Clark (Chairman), Mr. J.E. Bettles (Director) and Miss E.K. Holbrook (Secretary). The company was associated with J Brockhouse & Co Ltd of West Bromwich. Steelway were the sole selling agents of drop forged handrail standards manufactured by J Brockhouse & Co and in turn Mr. J.V.H. Brockhouse was the selling agent in London for all Steelway products.
1934 saw the launch of the Steelway pedestrian guard rail. After long and careful experiment with the co-operation and assistance of the Chief Constable of Wolverhampton and Wolverhampton’s Borough Engineer & Surveyor, the first pedestrian safety barrier was successfully installed at a busy junction in Wolverhampton. This was due to an accident involving a boy and the barriers were installed to prevent pedestrians walking off a blind corner into the path of motorists. Following on from this success, Steelway manufactured London’s first safety barriers at Britannia Crossing, Camden Town. These were inaugurated on 19th March 1935 by Mr Hore-Belisha, Minster of Transport. A second installation was carried out at Whitechapel Crossing for the Metropolitan Borough of Stepney on 22nd March 1935.
We manufactured the sockets and detachable uprights to form crowd control barriers for the 1937 coronation of King George VI – parts of which were used again for the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953. A letter of appreciation received after the 1937 coronation from New Scotland Yard reads ”Now that the coronation is a matter of history, I should like to express my thanks to your firm for the efficient way in which you met the demand for barrier material. As you know the barriers were of unusual design, which required special attention by you in manufacture. They proved most satisfactory, and I have not had any complaints regarding them. This is a matter of satisfaction to all concerned.”
During the Second World War, Steelway were involved in the manufacture of stretchers for injured personnel and were members of the National Scheme for Disabled Men. Many of our workforce who left to fight in the war effort returned to fill their original positions.