The Coal Commission report of 1865 records that "Ward's & Co" of Hanley employed 18 retorts to produce oil.
The case of North Staffordshire Railway v. Ward in 1867 (see transcript) shows that Henry Ward conducted business under the title of the Corbridge Oil Company. A further court case in 1867 (see transcript) questioned the legality of the partnership behind the Corbridge Oil Company. Henry Ward put the works up for sale 1871.
In 1874 the firm of Walker Brothers was formed, operating from Cobridge Oil Works, presumably having taken over the works from Henry Ward. It is unclear whether crude oil continued to be produced on site, or whether Walker Brothers only refined and retailed oils. The company were renamed Century Oils in 1900.
Mapped by the Ordnance Survey of c.1898, showing the oil works still in operation.
Number of retorts: 18 (in 1865).
To be LET, on Lease, COBRIDGE OIL REFINERY, situated In the heart of the Pottery District, and centre of the great North Staffordshire coalfield, where any quantity of fine Crude Oil and Shale can be had cheap, is a rare opportunity for enterprise being In the midst of a fine district for the sale of all the products. Apply: H.L. Ward, Hanley, Staffordshire
Birmingham Daily Post, 19th October 1871
Staffordshire Chronicle, 1st January 1876