Our Story

1720 (established)

John Webster of Digbeth an ironmonger by trade begins to draw wire at his mill in Perry Barr.

1752 (expansion)

Joseph Webster (2nd generation) takes a lease on Penns Mill in Walmley. By this time the company was involved in multiple stages of production from pig iron to finished components.

1766 (crucible steel)

Joseph Webster starts experimenting with crucible steel at Plants Forge in Minworth. This led to the development of high carbon steel piano wire. The development of other products such as needles, fish hooks, gun barrels and swords followed. By this time Joseph had developed Penns Mills into a specialist wire drawing facility.

1777 (exporting)

The development of crucible steel production led to the first exports of wire to France for needle making. Increasing demand for iron production also led to a lease of the Longor Iron Forge in Shropshire.

1788 (hunting accident)

Joseph II (3rd generation) dies after a hunting fall leaving his wife Phoebe to run the company for twelve years. The company at this time consisted of three wire mills, a forge, steel manufacture, a warehouse and a substantial retail organisation.



1801 (partnership)

Joseph III (4th generation) goes into partnership with his brother in law John William Crompton. For a time the firm was to be known as Webster and Crompton.



1822 (Killamarsh)

Joseph III acquires Killamarsh Forge and Rolling Mills in Derbyshire. From 1824 onwards Killamarsh became the main supply source for Penns. In 1923 Joseph’s manager John Bird starting experimenting with manganese in melts giving rise to a far superior quality of music wire.


1842 (Baron Dickinson Webster)

Baron Dickinson Webster (5th generation) made a joint partner by his father after three years of tuition in the company.

1847 (Letters of Patent awarded by Queen Victoria)

James Horsfall is granted Letters of patent by Queen Victoria for his heat treatment process for wire.

1848 (James Horsfall)

James Horsfall sells his Oxford Street Works in Birmingham and moves the operation to a former sword factory in Hay Mills.

1851 (Gold medal at Great Exhibition)

James Horsfall is awarded a gold medal for his music wire at the Crystal Palace Great Exhibition in Hyde Park.

1855 (Webster and Horsfall formed)

James Horsfall and Baron Dickinson Webster form a partnership known as Webster & Horsfall.

1866 (Trans Atlantic Cable)

The Great Eastern steam ship lays the first successful Trans Atlantic Telegraph Cable using Webster & Horsfall wire.

1885 (Locked Coil mining rope)

Telford Batchelor invents the Locked Coil Winding Rope and his business partner Arthur Latch approaches Webster & Horsfall to supply the wire.

1887 (Latch and Batchelor established)

Latch and Batchelor is formed to develop Locked Coil and subsequently Flattened Strand ropes for the mining industry.


1914 (First World War)

In the 1st World War, Webster & Horsfall are the sole manufacturers of shell fuse spring wire, along with anti-submarine netting, wire for mines, aircraft and balloon cables.

1940 (Second World War)

During the Second World War, Hay Mills is bombed with 12 direct hits. Production for the war effort is uninterrupted.

1949 (Canadian venture)

The Company set up a manufacturing plant in Canada.


1970 (UK Coal)

Latch & Batchelor are supplying specialist mining ropes to over 300 UK coal mines.

1980 (Crane rope division)

Latch & Batchelor start trading special wire ropes to the UK & Irish Crane Rope markets.


2005 (Oil and Gas)

Webster & Horsfall begin to manufacture super duplex stainless steel wires for the Oil & Gas sector.

2010 (Tyseley Energy Park)

Planning submitted or Tyseley Energy Park, a long-term vision to develop 10 acres of land at Hay Mills whilst maintaining a specialist trading business focused on wire and wire rope.

2013 (Biomass Power Station)

Construction of a state of the art biomass power station commences on phase 1 of Tyseley Energy Park.

2015 (Kiswire Strategic Partnership)

Latch & Batchelor enter into a strategic partnership with Kiswire for the global distribution of mining ropes.

2016 (Tysley Energy Park phase 2)

The Master Plan for Phase 2 of Tyseley Energy Park is launched.


2018 (Management Buyout & University of Birmingham Investment)

Completion of Management Buyout and Collaboration Agreement between Tyseley Energy Park and the University of Birmingham.