Scottish shale Scottish shale

Milton Oil Works

Alternative names:
Foxley Bridge Oil Works
Former parish and county:
Parish of Milton, County of Stafford, England.
Local authority:
City of Stoke-on-Trent
Hardman, Jones & Co. (until 1876)
J. Hardman & Co.
Jones Brothers & Co.
Pre 1865
Post 1892
Current status of site:
Rough grazing


The 1865 Coal Commission Report lists the oil works of Messrs. Hardman & Co. at Milton, equipped with 8 retorts. The first edition (1878) OS map shows a substantial oil and chemical works at Foxley Bridge, Milton.

An account of May 1876 (below) describes the firm of Hardman and Jones as oil refiners, however in September 1876 (below) when the works were advertised for sale the firm of J. Hardman & Co. were described as Industrial Chemists specially tar distillers and sulphuric acid manufactures. The business were then purchased by J. Hardman, presumably Joshua Hardman, described in Kelly's 1896 directory as "manufacturer of anthracene, benzole, naptha, carbolic & sulphuric acids, sulphate of ammonia, creosote oil, black varnish, pitch, asphalte and coke".

An account of flooding in 1879 (below) describes damage to the oil works of Mr T. Jones, adjacent to Mr. Hardman's Naptha work. This and other evidence suggest that Jones Brothers & Co. carried forward the oil refining interests on dissolution of the Hardman and Jones partnership, and that Hardman & Co concentrated on tar distillation.

Milton 26th Nov 1864 Staffordshire Advertiser.jpg

  • Location map
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  • Newspaper references
    • WANTED, a second-hand Iron BOAT, suitable for a Tank. State Lowest price, delivered at Milton. - Apply to Hardman, Jones & Co., Milton Oil Works, Stoke-on-Trent.

      Birmingham Daily Post 20th July 1867.


      NOTICE is hereby given, that the Copartnership carried on for some time past at Milton, near Stoke-on-Trent, in the county of Stafford, by the undersigned, Thomas Jones, William Jones, Enoch Colclough. James Cartlidge Adams, Josiah Hardman, Charles Sherratt, and Ralph Steele, as Tar Distillers, was dissolved by mutual consent, as and from the 29th day of September last. The said business will in future be carried on by the said Josiah Hardman, Charles Sherratt, and Ralph Steele, under the firm or sty le of Josiah Hardman and Co. All debts due to and by the said copartnership concern will he received and paid by the said Josiah Hardman, Charles Sherratt, and Ralph Steele.—Dated this 11th day of November, 1873. Thomas Jones. Josiah Hardman, William Jones, Charles Sherratt. Enoch Colclough, Ralph Steele, James C. Adam

      London Gazette, 18th November 1873.


      ACTION ON A CONTRACT. - In the Exchequer Division of the High Court of Justice, at Westminster, on Thursday, Baron Bramwell and a special jury had before them the case of Hills v. Hardman, Jones, and Co., action brought by Mr. Arthur Hills, of the Cannock Chase Chemical Works, near Lichfield, against Messrs. Hardman, Jones, and Co., oil refiners, carrying on business in the immediate vicinity of Stoke. The plaintiff sued the defendants upon contract which had been entered into between the parties for the supply of a quantity of concentrated sulphuric acid by the plaintiff to the defendant's firm, for the purpose of their oil-refining business.

      The action was brought for non-acceptance of quantity of the acid coming within the contract, and for the price of a quantity delivered. The defendants pleaded in effect that the acid supplied them was not according to contract. The complaint, put in general terms, was that the acid was not properly rectified, and not quality come within the terms of the contract. At one time the defendants said that their works were at a standstill in consequence their not obtaining the requisite and stipulated supply acid, and that they had had to obtain from other sources.

      The plaintiff, on the other hand, denied that the acid which supplied was of the defective character which the defendants represented, that they had in any way failed to carry out the contract or that they were responsible for the inconveniences or losses which the defendants complained that they had been subjected. The jury returned verdict for the plainliffs damages

      Staffordshire Sentinel and Commercial & General Advertiser, 13th May 1876


      TO BE SOLD, Pursuant an order of the High Court of Justice, Chancery Division, made in an action of Hardman and Another v. Steele, with the approbation of the Master the Rolls, the judge to whose court the said action is taken by MR. HENRY GILLARD, the person appointed the said judge, at the North Staffordshire Railway Hotel, Stoke upon Trent, the county Stafford, on Tuesday, the day September 1876, Four o'clock in the afternoon precisely, in one lot. An extensive and newly built FREEHOLD and COPYHOLD MANUFACTORY and CHEMICAL WORKS, OFFICES, LAND and PREMISES, situate Milton, near Stoke upon Trent, in the county of Stafford, with a water frontage the Cauldon Canal of eighty yards or thereabouts Together also with the goodwill of the extensive business of manufacturing chemists specially as tar distillers and sulphuric acid manufacturers, carried since the year 1873 by the late firm "J Hardman and Co." upon the said premises, and also, all the excellent TRADE PLANT, FIXTURES, and other conveniences for carrying on an extensive business. Particulars and conditions of sale may lie had gratis in the country of Richard Heaton, Esquire, Solicitor, Burslam and of Messrs. Coopers, Solicitors, Newcastle under Lyme , and London of Messrs. Coopers, 42, Bedford-row; or Messrs. Tibbitts and Co., 1, Field Court, Gray's Inn, Plaintiff"s Agents, and of the Auctioneer, Stafford.
      Dated this day August, 1876. JOHN WM. HAWKINS, Chief Clerk.

      Staffordshire Sentinel and Commercial & General Advertiser, 2nd September 1876


      MILTON. Sale the Chemical Works.- On Wednesday the freehold manufactory and chemical works near the Cauldon Canal, and the goodwill of the business carried there by Messrs. J. Hardman and Co.. were sold at the North Staffordshire Railway Hotel, Stoke, by Mr. Henry Gillard, auctioneer. The purchaser was Mr. J. Hardman, a member of the firm, and the price paid was £8,000

      Staffordshire Sentinel and Commercial & General Advertiser, 9th September 1876


      ...The canal also overflowed, and considerable damage was done to the oil works of Mr. Thomas Jones, which are adjacent, as well as to Mr. Hardman's naphtha works.

      Staffordshire Sentinel and Commercial & General Advertiser, 23rd August 1879


      MILTON. Sudden Death. —An inquest was held Monday at the New Inn, before Mr. Booth, coroner, on the body of Jesse Meigh, a boatman, employed at Messrs. Jones's Oil Works.—Charles Bowyer, a carter, said that on Sunday, the inst., he saw deceased lying dead about twenty yards inside the yard of the works. He appeared to have been dead some time. Deceased usually lived in the boat alone. There was no wound or injury on the body. Blood was running from his nose and mouth. Deceased was at the Foxley Inn from four to seven the previous evening, and no one would on the works after deceased. He was fifty-four years of age, and had several violent fits of coughing while at the inn.—The jury returned verdict of " Death from natural causes."

      Staffordshire Sentinel and Commercial & General Advertiser, 12th March 1881