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Early Modern




Wire maker at work

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In 1595, Godfrey Box, a native of Liege in modern-day Belgium, set up an iron slitting mill on a site thought to be close to the present Glaxo-Wellcome site. Box’s slitting mill was designed to cut iron bars into long square pieces or rods. These rods were then drawn-out to make wire or nails. Dartford’s iron slitting mill was one of the oldest to be founded in England. The oldest recorded slitting mill was operated at Tintern Abbey dates from 1580-1591. Dartford’s slitting mill was later owned by John Bennett (1627) and Nicholas Tooke (1652).

It is recorded that John Brown established a ‘brassil mill’ at Dartford in the 1670s. This mill was also reputedly used for the slitting and drawing of metal rods, particularly brass.

Around 1792 Mr. John Hall obtained premises in Dartford for carrying on the business of a millwright. He later founded the Dartford Ironworks which were a prominent feature of the local industrial scene in nineteenth century Dartford.

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