Great Northern Manganese Co. Ltd

Incorporated23 March 1868
ObjectsSearching for, producing, buying, selling, and dealing in manganese, coal and cannel
Registered Office7 South Parade, Manchester (agent and secretary J K Williams)
Original Capital£15,000 as 3,000 shares of £5 each
1868   Richard Roberts of Bala, merchant (and director of the Bala Banking Company)
Eustace F Piers of 51 Moseley Street, Manchester, insurance broker
Henry Southam of 7 South Parade, Manchester (later 63 Corporation Street, Manchester) wine merchant
Company SecretaryJoseph Consterdine of Leinster Chambers, St Anne’s Square, Manchester, commision agent
SolicitorAlfred Orrell Walmsley, Manchester
AuditorJ K Williams, Manchester
BankersBala Banking Co. Ltd, Bala
Consulting Mining EngineerR Hughes, geologist, Bala
Major Shareholders
1869   215 shares held by 12 members
Timothy Cowsell, Hulme, mining agent (47)
Richard Roberts, Bala (20)
Henry Southam, (18)
Thomas Edwin Marks, Bristol (47)
Richard Trevithick, Bristol (47)
Operations1867–1871 Mynydd Nodol
Disolved31 August 1883 (No returns filed 1871–1877.)
[PRO BT31/1393/3935], [MJ 1868 p. 228]

The company incorporated the Bala Mining Company. There were to be not less than three directors nor more than nine. Immediately after its incorporation in March 1868 the company offered its remaining 2000 shares to the public at a premium of 10s. per share with the inducement that the next dividend would be from 7½ to 10 per cent. In the advertisement it was claimed that the directors had been offered contracts for manganese that would absorb their entire production for the next two years. [MJ 1868 p. 529] As well as its mines at Mynydd Nodol and Rhyd Uchaf the company owned a rottenstone/emery mine near Bala.

In July 1868, the company claimed that at Mynydd Nodol, “at great expense, immense veins of manganese have been searched for and found, the quality being equal, if not superior, to the foreign manganese”. Samples had been assayed at 70-75% oxide and large sales had been effected. In addition, the company announced an “important” discovery of silver-lead ore at their lead/silver mine at Rhyd Uchaf. Shares were still on sale and it was claimed that “a dividend of 15 to 20 percent may be calculated upon and paid to its shareholders.”. [MJ 1868 p. 532]

In August the company secretary J R [sic] Williams wrote to the Mining Journal to say that “another very large pan of manganese” had been discovered, of “most excellent quality”. He claimed there was at least 100 tons present but implied it could be much more. [MJ 1868 p. 579] Elsewhere in the same issue the company again advertised its remaining 2000 shares, still at a premium of 10s per share. [MJ 1868 p. 592]

In December an un-named correspondent wrote to the Mining Journal, saying of Rhyd Uchaf that “a neater and better laid out mine it would be difficult to find”. An agent’s house, store-rooms, dressing-floors, a leat and water-wheel and eight heads of stamps had been erected and a tramroad had been laid. The level had been driven 40yds and “ores begin to show themselves”. The correspondent goes on to say “I was permitted by the captain to see some beautiful ore, fresh from the crucible, which I take to be silver; from 1 lb. of ore 1¼ oz. of metal was taken. I am strongly of the opinion that this property will greatly increase in value, and that in a short time.” [MJ 1868 p. 893] The MJ’s correspondent is not named and the question of whether he was a totally disinterested party has to be considered.

A further eulogy to the comany appeared in the Mining Journal in January 1869 when a ‘T. G.’, of Chester wrote to recommend to English capitalists “this very interesting, and, I firmly believe, rich [in minerals] district”. In the same issue the company advertised that “The great success” of the undertaking had induced the directors to offer to the public its remaining shares, this time at par. The advertisement again said that the next dividend would be from 7½ to 10 per cent. By this time the company offices had moved to 12 Parsonage, Manchester and the auditor was now G Nelson, accountant, of Manchester. [MJ 1869 p. 24, 33]

During February and March of 1869, J Harris made a number of reports of good progress and favourable indications of manganese at Mynydd Nodol [MJ 1869 pp. 150, 170, 186, 222] There was also a advertisement in March that the company wanted to purchase three to five tons of secondhand bridge rail [MJ 1869 p. 225].

In August 1869 Mynydd Nodol, “a first class manganese mine”, was advertised for sale together with a water wheel, crusher, jigs, long and square buddles and other effects, all stated to be in good working order and nearly new [MJ 1869 pp. 613, 633]. (Considering the letter in MJ in the December of the previous year mentioned above, it is more likely that the plant was from the Rhyd Uchaf mine.) The mine was re-advertised in December 1869 and this time a price of 1200 was stated. In addition to the plant previously advertised the effects included tools for 20–30 men, wagon and tram rails, kilns, picks, drills etc., blacksmiths’ and joiners’ shops, store-rooms, a stable, a manganese house (presumably a store or ore-bin) and the manager’s house. [MJ 1869 pp. 613, 633]

On 10th May 1870 The Great Northern Manganese Co. Ltd sent a memorandum to Lewis Williams Dolgelley and J.R. Jones, Bala, Solicitor, giving authorization for the auctioneers to pay rent from proceeds of the sale at Rhyducha. [GAS DAO: Z/DP/5/58]

On 24th May 1870 a substantial amount of mining materials were advertised for auction at Rhyd Uchaf by order of Henry Southam. The advertisement included a quantity of rotten stone but no other minerals are mentioned, neither is there any mention of the water-wheel and stamps referred to above. [MJ 1870 p. 429]

On 26th May 1870 Southam wrote to J. R. Jones, Solicitor, Bala stating that he was not indebted to certain parties (namely, John Jones Saddler and Richard Jones, Talybont). [GAS DAO: Z/DP/1/146]

Notice was given on 6th May 1872 of the first meeting of the creditors of Henry Southham of 63 Corporation Street, Manchester, Wine Merchant, trading as Southham and Co. at Mynyddnodol and Rhyducha, and in co-partnership with Richard Roberts of Bala as Mine Proprietors of Roberts and Southam and latterly Managing Director of The Great Northern Manganese Company Ltd. [GAS DAO: Z/DP/5/59]

No returns were filed 1871–1877 and the company was subsequently dissolved in August 1883.