The original site of the Wroxton Ironstone Works is of note
for being the main stabling point for the locomotives of the
former North Oxfordshire Ironstone Company and was regarded
as the most complete extant example of an industrial railway
locomotive depot in the English Midlands. The Wroxton complex
is also the most significant surviving monument to the once
mighty Oxfordshire ironstone industry itself; decades of land
restoration having removed most traces of the ironstone quarries
at both Wroxton and elsewhere.
The North Oxfordshire Ironstone Company was the largest producer
of ironstone in the Oxfordshire orefield. The company was
established in June 1917 after approaches were made by the
Ministry of Munitions, who were keen to increase substantially
the production of home ore in the English Midlands. The quarries
were connected to the main line railway system via a 3.5-mile
industrial railway built by German prisoners of war and the
quarries grew to become one of the most important single sources
of iron ore in Britain. The Wroxton quarries went into liquidation
in September 1967, although some workings were sold off and
struggled on until c.1978. The scale and importance of the
undertaking is shown by the production figures of 40,000 tons
of ore per week in 1965, with a total production of 33 million
tons over a fifty-year period.
The 6.65-acre site of the former Ironstone Company's headquarters
is located north west of the village of Wroxton. Adjacent
to the site’s north west boundary is a local playing
field - otherwise the surrounding area is characterised by
open farm land.
Planning permission for the 19,000 sq.ft development of office
units to form the Apollo Office Park was approved in two stages
by Cherwell District Council on 14th October 2004 and 28th
Sir Thomas: In 1918 Hudswell Clarke supplied two six-coupled
tank engines to the Oxfordshire Ironstone Company of Banbury.
They were given fleet numbers 1 and 2 and named Sir Thomas
and Lord North respectively.
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