MCKENZIE & HOLLAND LTD, VULCAN IRON WORKS, WORCESTER
(Mckenzie & Holland until 1901)
(previously MCKENZIE, CLUNES & HOLLAND until
between 1872 and 1875)
(previously Thomas Clunes from 1857 until 1861)
Grid Reference: SO 553855
In 1857 Thomas Clunes established the Vulcan Iron
Works, Cromwell Street, Worcester as iron and brass founders.
Originally they are described by the 'Kelly's Directory' as being
'Engineers, Millwrights, Iron & Brass Founders, Plumbers etc'.
The engraving (from the archives of the MI.C)
shows the original extent of the Vulcan Iron Works that was situated
on the west side of the Birmingham Worcester Canal on the south
side of Cromwell Street.
An advert for Railway signals by Mckenzie &
Holland (collection of Andrew Smith).
Clunes was joined in 1861 by McKenzie and Holland
who were former employees of the Oxford, Worcester &
Wolverhampton Railway. They soon established a worldwide reputation
for the quality of their manufacture of railway signalling equipment.
In the 1870's the company name changed to 'McKenzie & Holland'.
Part of the Vulcan Iron Works was connected by a tunnel under Shrub
Hill Road and the main works of the former Worcester
Engine Works Co Ltd to the Vinegar
Works branch. Mckenzie & Holland
purchased their own locomotive to shunt these sidings. See also the
Butts Branch for photographs of an original bridge built by
McKenzie, Clunes & Holland.
Walter Holland had been an employee of the Oxford,
Worcester & Wolverhampton Railway prior to that railway being
taken over by the Great Western Railway in 1863. He then formed a
partnership with Thomas Clunes (who owned the Vulcan Ironworks in
Worcester) and John McKenzie to form McKenzie, Clunes & Holland
(later McKenzie & Holland). McKenzie & Holland expanded to
become the foremost manufacturer of signalling equipment in the UK.
Walter Holland became a J.P. for the City and County and was Mayor of
Worcester from 1878 until 1881 and again in 1887.
A portrait of Walter Holland (by Haynes Williams)
can be found in the Lower Hall on the ground floor of the Guildhall
The premises built by the Worcester Engine Works
Co Ltd went through a number of different occupiers before being
purchased by Heenan
& Froude Ltd in 1903.
Mckenzie & Holland merged with other signal
manufacturers in 1901 and became a limited company at the same time,
wholly owned by the Consolidated Signal Company Limited. The
Worcester operation was closed in 1921. The Mckenzie & Holland
locomotive was then purchased by Heenan & Froude Ltd who took
over responsibility for rail traffic.
The Vulcan Iron Works was occupied by Avery
Stephens & Co, ironfounders from 1921 until 1936 when it was sold
to Heenan Froude. The site has now been re-developed and no
evidence can be found of the Vulcan Iron Works.
This photograph was taken at location 'P' on the
map on the west side of Shrub Hill Road looking from the entrance to
the tunnel. This shows a surviving section of standard gauge track
leading down towards the Worcester Birmingham Canal. The large
blue building is occupied by Underwood Co Ltd who formerly used
the Coal Sidings, Worcester
and had a locomotive at their Droitwich site.
This is the entrance to the tunnel under Shrub
Hill Road (location 'N' on the map). The office building was built in
the 20th century, perhaps in the 1950's, but certainly before the use
of the internal railway closed in 1958. It was not possible to walk
through the tunnel when the photograph was taken on 24th December
2003 as a large iron door blocked progress about 40 yards beyond the
Mckenzie & Holland occupied the whole of the
area that encloses units 16 to 18 on the map. The Tunnel runs between
units Nos.18C and 18D. Underwood & Co Ltd occupy Unit No.16
whilst Unit No.17 appears to date from Victorian times.
BEE 0-6-0ST Manning Wardle 243 of 1868
(The dates that this loco was here are unknown)
WISH 0-4-0ST Manning Wardle 1239 of 1893 (new, to
Heenan & Froude,1921)