The Butterley Company Story
Thanks to HLF funding, a new DVD about the iconic Butterley Company is now available
The early history of the Butterley Company and the Cromford Canal are inextricably intertwined. Structures such as the Barlow Shed at St Pancras station and the Falkirk Wheel have spread its fame worldwide, and it still is very close to the heart of many people living in and around the Ripley area.
This professionally produced hour-long video traces the history of the company from its beginnings with the canal engineers Benjamin Outram and William Jessop, along with financiers Francis Beresford and John Wright, whose family was to be involved for five generations through to the sad demise of the company in 2009.
Archive images and film combine with interviews with the last of the Wright family to be involved and the company’s last employees to weave a fascinating story of great success followed by sad decline.
Other successes include ironwork for Telford’s Menai Straits bridge, Brunel’s SS Great Britain, and steam engines and bridges around the world. They allowed the Wright family to build for themselves a mansion second only to Chatsworth in splendour, although sadly now demolished.
The pitiful decline of the company began with nationalisation of the coal industry – a major part of the Butterley Co’s activities – followed poor management decisions, and a host of inappropriate takeovers, mergers and asset stripping and is told in a no-holds-barred manner of surprising frankness.
Produced by the Ripley & District Heritage Trust, this is a very watchable DVD and one which I wholeheartedly recommend.