Pelsall Tool & Engineering Company

After publishing the article about Shelfield Mill House in Issue 6 of the Pelsall Times magazine, I was contacted by Tom Hall of Pelsall Tool and Engineering Company who was keen to tell me the history of the company which was situated at the rear of Shelfield Mill House.

Tom had been working for Pelsall Tool and Engineering Company since 1941 and during his time had seen many changes over the years.

Pelsall Tool and Engineering Company was not the only engineering company that had been housed on the site.  At one time the mill building was used.  

The first engineering company was called Grafton Heating and Engineering.  The engineering part of this company closed in the 1960's and the heating part of the company carried on trading up until around 1971/2.

Pelsall Tool & Engineering Company office was situated in the shed seen above

Photograph copyright A Bates - Pelsall Times

Pelsall Tool and Engineering Company started off as Falcon Engineering which was started up in West Bromwich by Mr Clarke who was 65 years old when he founded the business.

The company made items such as fires and electric irons.

Engineering works took place in the Nissan hut as seen above

Photograph copyright A Bates - Pelsall Times

Pelsall Tool and Engineering Company was situated in one of the two huts to the rear of the mill.  The hut was let out to Pelsall Tool and Engineering Company by Grafton Engineering who used the mill building.

The Rear of the Old Mill Building

Photograph copyright A Bates - Pelsall Times

In 1963 there was another company on the site called Gemsbridge.  This company sold the electric fires and irons that Grafton Engineering used to make.  The items they made were sold to the ministry and abroad.

The photographs above and below show the ground floor interior of the old mill building

Photographs copyright A Bates - Pelsall Times

The photographs above and below show the first floor of the old mill building

Photographs copyright A Bates - Pelsall Times

The upstairs of the mill was used to assemble items such as irons and the downstairs was used to pack the items in crates for export all over the far east.

As Grafton expanded, the owner, Richard Gullit decided to leave the mill and move the company to Rugeley.

Some time later however, Grafton was to move back to the region.

Pelsall Tool and Engineering stayed in one of the Nissan huts as Grafton moved on.

During the time that the engineering works were in operation on site the two huts were used as assembly shops having in them press tools, gigs and fixtures for tool making.  The huts were meant to be a temporary measure following a fire at the mill which caused extensive damage.  Following repair work to the mill, the two huts remained.

During the 1960's only one of the huts were in use by the engineering company. The hut was used by Barton's who were painters and decorators.

One day however a deep snow fall of 14 inches saw the collapse of the hut.  Following this incident, the hut was never replaced.

As liquidators were bought in to Pelsall Tool and Engineering Company in 1985 as the intake of work declined, Tom Hall bought the company.

Above: The Oliver Cromwell Room

Photograph copyright A Bates - Pelsall Times

 

During the tour of the buildings, Tom introduced to me perhaps the most historically interesting part of the old mill building, which was much older that Shelfield Mill House.

Tom stated that it is recorded that Oliver Cromwell hid in the Mill building during the Civil War as he was on the run from the royalists in 1643.  At this time the Royalist were making their way to Rushall.

Whilst researching the history of Shelfield Mill, I was also told by a past member of staff that one of the most disliked rooms in the building was known as the Oliver Cromwell room, it was widely acknowledged that Oliver Cromwell had hidden in this room which existed in the oldest part of the mill building.

I was told that in this room there was always a foreboding presence and workers did their best to avoid this room.  Workers became so spooked by the paranormal activity in the room that it ended up being used as a storage room, as seen above.

If you would like to share your memories of any of the above mentioned companies why not get in touch?