East Moors Steel Works
Tharsis Sulphur and Copper Co – East Moors
Iron and steel was not the earliest large-scale heavy industry to appear on East Moors. That distinction went to the Tharsis Sulphur and Copper Co., which was registered in October 1866 with its head office in Glasgow. In addition to the five metal extracting works at Glasgow, Widnes, Hebburn, Oldbury and Willington-on-Tyne, the company established a plant on the East Moors which began operations in 1873. Copper pyrites were obtained from its Spanish open-cast mines at Tharsis, Calanas and Lagunazo in Huelva province. The ore contained about 50 per cent sulphur, 45 per cent iron and 3 per cent copper with traces of silver, lead, zinc, bismuth, nickel, antimony, arsenic and silicon. Part of the ore was treated in situ before being exported for further treatment in the company’s works to extract the metals as well as produce sulphuric acid. From 1888 until the coming of the Dowlais Ironworks, the Tharsis Sulphur and Copper Works occupied an isolated position on the southern stretches of the moors. There, it shared the company of a number of sluices and rifle ranges, as is evident from the first large-scale Ordnance Survey map of 1881, which also shows the company’s smelting and engine houses. The works closed around 1919, reopening in the 1920s only to close again in around 1927. A sintering works was established on the site in 1938 by Guest, Keen and Baldwins (Iron & Steel) Co. Ltd, but by 1942 the land had been cleared and was subsequently used by the steelworks. Extract from ‘Roath, Splott and Adamsdown – One Thousand Years of History’ Jeff Childs.