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Burnett And Hallamshire
Burnett And Hallamshire


Thanks To Steven Morrell?

Steven Morrell     
4 Sep 2014
Re Burnett & Hallamshire.

Hi Website maintainer. 
Burnett & Hallamshire was formed in 1953, when the Burnett Brothers and Hallamshire Coal Supplies merged becoming Burnett & Hallamshire Fuel Supplies. 
They operated in the Industrial, Wholesale and Retail, (bagged home delivery as well as off site public sales), operating out of the old Corn Exchange building, but also having various small coal depots using the railway network and the Sheffield Canal basin.

A senior Burnett manager John C. Wood, visited Canada and while their encountered a Coal Handling Plant.  When he got back home he looked at the feasibility of building one in Sheffield and pressed for a Sheffield one.  

In 1957, the new combined depot was opened at Nunnery Sidings, Bernard Road, Sheffield S2 5BQ, around half a mile from the Sheffield Victoria station.   The Handling Plant had 20 storage bunkers, all high enough to get a 15 foot high Tipper Truck underneath, able to hold at least 60 tons if not more each.  60, 10 ton rail wagons a day, moved by their own Diesel Shunter, off the mainline spur  (The expensive Wath to Manchester overhead DC electric line that used the Woodhead Tunnel was adjacent to the site, the most expensive new Rail line project post war, until the Channel Tunnel Rail Link).  Uncoupled and lifted and tilted using a cradle, down a shoot on to Conveyors then deflected off into the bunker of choice. 

They became the biggest Coal Merchants in South Yorkshire, North Derbyshire and North Nottinghamshire, with a new office based at Psalter Lane, Sheffield in the leafy Brincliffe / Nether Edge suburbs. 
Steady profits were made, and they also bought a Chemical plant in Clitheroe, Greater Manchester, which made a Cleaning fluid "Langene" and Disinfectant "Lanry" which were sold from the bagging wagons to domestic customers.
But what really made them money was that, one of the Burnett Brothers, (probably Sir Alf Burnett) had visited Canada on holiday in the late 40's and saw first hand outcropping in operation, with Conveyors, Screeners, Mechanical Loaders, Scrapers, and Dump trucks.  
Post war everyone wanted Coal, shortages of coal led to the decision to accept, opencast was proposals and they picked up the contract for the open casting of the Wentworth Woodhouse Estate, in the Dearne Valley near Rotherham.  (Minister of Fuel & Power Manny Shinwell personally authorised this first as the Fitzwilliam family had been Coal Barons from the 18th Century onwards.    
With this and the British Road building programme, loads of unexpected outcrop were hit all over, so they set up a new subsidiary, Northern Strip Mining Ltd (NSM).  
But it wouldn't stay rosy for long. 
The clean air act started to affect the bagging and wholesale businesses, even though they picked up more work supplying the Gas Works with Coal, and took the coke away for the Domestic market. 
In 1965, E.A Stevenson’s, bulk tipper fleet was added to the company.  Hallam GT Ltd a Heating Oil company was also added to the company. 
They decided to sell off the Fuel Distribution part of the company in the late 1960's. 
It was bought by the British Fuel Company, a private company, that was owned by a partnership split 50.25% by Amalgamated Anthracite Holdings (A.A.H. Group Ltd) and 49.75% by the National Coal Board (NCB).  They paid £500,000 in 1970 for the business that had traded as B&H for 2 years before changing to British Fuel Company. 
The Handling Plant (picture opposite, alongside the A57 Sheffield Parkway) was pulled down in 1981.  The Sheffield rate rise, British Rail's freight rate rise and the switch to Heavier Trucks, delivering coal to stockyard made it uneconomic.  (A plan for it to be used by Blue Circle, to take deliveries of stone and other aggregates delivered by rail, also failed over BR's rate rise, so more trucks used the Derbyshire roads) 
NSM was still hitting more and more outcrop, but they were not allowed to sell directly to the Power Generators, or other British Industry.   They had to use British Fuel Company or another Coal merchant to actually sell the fuel, which actually was able to make big profits as a result. 
They bought a large Midlands based Coal Merchants, to re-enter the fuel distribution market, and took delight in throwing British Fuel Company staff out of their officers, that they had been allowed to keep using.
In 1981 they bought the National Carbonizing Company (Rexco) Ltd.  Which had plants at Ollerton and Snibston near Coalville, in England, (the Mansfield Plant closed in 1973) and at Comrie near Dunfermline, Fife, Scotland
In 1987, they sold Rexco business to Coalite, who immediately started to move the work over to Bolsover and Grimethorpe works.  Both plants were closed by 1989. 
British Fuels Ltd, the company I worked for took part in the clean up. 
As a fuel Rexco is okay, but it spits, so is not really suitable for an open fire, unless you have a fine mesh fireguard. 
Burnett & Hallamshire PLC, eventually changed it name to NSM PLC, in 1988. 

They did well, then they went to the USA. 
After a promising start, they got stung, with a land purchase, which though rich in coal, was almost a swamp.  

This link contains details of their downfall.  (You'll have to scroll down).

This says that they did an Enron and hid debts off the balance sheet. 

 Surprised at how many subsidiaries they had. 

Other links

(Need to scroll to see the various posts about Rexco in the links below)



Also how much was paid for the Sheffield based distribution business in today's money:-


It’s amazing how much recent history is being forgotten.
Hope I have helped. 

Yours faithfully 

Steven Morrell