Walter Somers

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Walter Somers (1839 in Repton, Derbyshire – 1917) was an English engineer and businessman who established a forge company, later known as Walter Somers Limited, producing a range of steel products including items for military use by the British Admiralty during World War I.[1]

In 1866 Somers was given a loan of £100 by his father and took on a short lease on an ironworks complex at Mucklow Hill, Halesowen, establishing a forgemaster business. Initially focused on production of chains and anchors, the business later also produced axles and railway buffers. By the last decade of the 19th century, it was delivering forgings to Admiralty specifications - a customer relationship that continued throughout World War I. Somers' company also produced parts of the anchors used on the RMS Titanic.[2]

In 1907 Somers bought Belle Vue House on Mucklow Hill, installing electricity in the house. Overhead lines from a generator at Somers' works supplied current for the house until the 1920s when it connected to public services.[3]

Somers died in 1917, leaving the company under the direction of his two sons, Seth and Frank. Frank Somers was managing director until 1954.

Legacy[edit]

Walter Somers Limited was incorporated in 1919. However, it became embroiled in the 'Arms-for-Iraq' scandal in the 1980s, and no longer trades. However, subsidiaries Somers Handling, Somers Forge and Somers Vehicle Lifts survive and still trade in the Halesowen area.

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/a2a/records.aspx?cat=145-dsom&cid=0#0
  2. ^ http://www.titanic-model.com/articles/a_titanic_achievement.pdf
  3. ^ http://www.qlhs.org.uk/oracle/belle-vue/belle-vue.htm