Steelway

Tel: 01902 451733
Email: sales@steelway.co.uk

Our History

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 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.

In 1953 Steelway was bought by Fred Willetts of Hipkiss Bros. Glynwed Tubes bought both Hipkiss Bros. and ourselves in 1954.

We provided open mesh flooring to the Z Cars Series stages sets and grating to the James Bond films “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service” in 1969 and “Diamonds Are Forever” in 1971.

In 1983 we expanded to form the present company, Steelway Fensecure, following the successful merger of Steelway with Fensecure.

The company was acquired in 1999 by Tyco International Ltd and then became privately owned in 2000.

In 2005 the company’s private ownership changed and it became part of the Brigam group of companies which include Steelway Fensecure Ltd, Oleo International and Savery Hydraulics.

In 2007 the company acquired the business of Brickhouse Access Covers, who operate from their offices and works based in West Bromwich, and subsequently named Steelway Brickhouse (Steelway Fensecure Ltd).

We are now under the private ownership of Dan Houghton after he acquired Steelway Fensecure Ltd and Steelway Fensecure Ltd trading as Steelway Brickhouse on 1st July 2010.

We presently have three operating divisions (Steelway incorporating Rail and PP Mackindale, Steelway Fensecure incorporating Protect) and Steelway Brickhouse and two manufacturing plants based in Wolverhampton and West Bromwich and employ over 160 people.

More photos of Steelway products from the 1930’s and 1940’s can be found at these websites:

http://www.historywebsite.co.uk/Museum/Engineering/Steelway/History.htm

  • Steelway History
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  • Steelway History
  • Steelway History
  • Steelway History
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  • Steelway History
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  • Steelway History
  • Steelway History
  • Steelway History


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