Hall's Barton Ropery Co Ltd


Ropery shed which is 400 metres long
The ropewalk where the rope would have been made.

Hall's Barton Ropery was established in 1767 by William Hall.  The Hall family had been shipowners and merchants from about 1700 onwards, although in Hull the name goes much further back.  After William Hall died the works passed to his brother John Hall who was a master mariner and, for many years, the senior warden of Hull Trinity House.  All raw materials for rope making were to be found locally, and included hemp, flax, willow and thorns.  John Hall took out a patent in 1808 for a new method of tubing rope strands. He installed steam as the motive power and laid down an iron tramway for laying large hawsers. He gained a medal for rope making in 1851.  John Hall was also known to go whaling in Greenland and trade with the West Indies.  The increase in the Hull fishing fleet in 1840 created a new market for the ropes and was one reason for the growth of the industry in Barton at the time.  Not long after the raw materials started to be imported as it was cheaper.

 

The Ropery despatch building
The old Dispatch building on the banks of the Haven.

John Hall died in 1863 and the Ropery in Barton passed to his son John Edward Hall, and he consequently enlarged the Barton works and quadrupled production.  He was a pioneer in wire-rope manufacture and machine spinning.  Trouble hit the works in 1868 when the river Humber broke the banks of the Haven and flooded the area, and the depression in the later half of the century also caused great problems. In 1890 the private firm of John Hall & Co became a private limited company Hall's Barton Ropery Co Ltd.  During the war, when Arthur Barton Hall was in charge, many items where made at the Barton works including small steel cords for aeroplanes and wire cord for parachutes.  In 1915 they were one of the first makers to produce a steel wire anti-submarine net.  By 1924 the companies products were being exported to many countries for example Japan, Spain etc. The companies offices were in Hull at the de la Pole House.

The ropery survived the depression of the 1930s and was again busy during the second world war supplying the needs of the Armed Forces and Merchant Navy. There were more problems for the works though when it lost its companies offices at De La Pole House to enemy action.  By 1945 it was ready to thrive once more as the burden of War was lifted.  The late 1940s to early 1950s saw a period of reorganisation which lasted to 1962. 

Ropery House
Ropery House

During the 1970s things became difficult again and by the 1980s the works had diversified into steel wire distribution.  In 1986 Hall's Barton Ropery ceased to be independent as it was taken over by Bridport Grundy Plc.  Three years later on 23rd December 1989 Bridport Grundy Plc closed Barton ropery.  Some of the buildings were demolished, such as Ropery house (pictured right), but some still survive today such as the despatch building (pictured above).  It was sold to the Proudfoot group in 1992 for development of a supermarket.  It also houses a museum and an art and craft centre.

 

 

 

 

Related Links (inbarton is not responsible for the content of external Internet websites)

The Ropewalk - The Ropewalk website..

Further reading : The Story of the Hall-Mark (1924 & 1975) : Ropeworks, A brief history of Hall's Barton Ropery : Family Ties, Stories from Hall's Barton Ropery.

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