Johnson and Nephew

Ambergate Wireworks

Richard Johnson & Nephew Wireworks at Ambergate was a major employer of men and women from Crich Parish. It is believed that the Tors steps were built to enable the local workers easy access to the Wireworks (and Clay Cross Quarry).

sketch of Oakhurst House
This early sketch of the Iron Forge at Ambergate c1847, owned by the Hurt family, was the site of Ambergate Wireworks.
The forge became derelict and was rebuilt by Johnson and Nephew Wireworks in about 1870.

The following photographs are courtesy of Peter Byard

Wireworks in about 1900

Johnson & Nephew Wireworks c1900

Ariel view of the Wireworks



Johnson and Nephew Wireworks beside the A6 at Ambergate.
Oakhurst can be seen to the right

Wireworks Wireworks
Wireworks Wireworks
Wireworks Wireworks
Wireworks Wireworks
Wireworks Wireworks


Main entrance off the A6 in 1996


advert for Wireworks

Advert for Johnson's wire

Jack Oldhams retirement


Jack Oldham's retirement.

The photograph below is believed to have been taken in about 1940.

Photo courtesy Crich Heritage Partnership

Ambergate wireworks

Names courtesy of Peter Byard.
Back: 1. Gordon Barton
Middle: 2. (married Gordon Riley); 3. Ron Booth; 5. Ernie Fearn
Front: 1. Cyril Booth; 3. Colin Pearson; 4. Phyllis Fritchley (married Ron Leafe)

Photographs below courtesy Eric Bowmer

Aerial view of Ambergate wireworks in c1974


Aeral view of the Ambergate Wireworks c 1974

inside Ambergate wireworks

Inside the wire works

Inside Ambergate wireworks

Inside the wire works

From the book "The Part we Play" c1947

Aerial view of Ambergate Wireworks




In the grounds of the wireworks was a magnificent house called "Oakhurst, sadly now derelict.

Read the history of this house: OAKHURST

John Thewlis Johnson

John Thewlis Johnson was the "Nephew" in Johnson and Nephew.

Thewlis Johnson

Thewlis Johnson was quite an influential benefactor in the Crich and Ambergate area. He was a local magistrate and involved in local politics. He served on many committees including that of Crich Reading Rooms.
There is an interesting article by Bill Burns about Thewis Johnson and Richard Johnson & Nephew on the History of the Atlantic Cable website

The Derbyshire Village Book published by the Derbyshire Federation of Women's Institutes & Countryside Books, 1991. From the chapter on Ambergate:
Lower down this wood is a reservoir built to provide water for the near derelict but impressive Oak Hurst, family home of Thewlis Johnson, founder of the Ambergate Wire Works, now Richard Johnson and Nephew.
The parish church of St Anne was gifted by the aforementioned Thewlis Johnson, the foundation stone being laid by Mrs Johnson in July 1891. The site was donated by Albert Hurt of Alderwasley Hall, the stone for the church was hewn in the nearby Ridgeway quarry, woodwork prepared in Glossops, the local village woodyard, and much of the building work was carried out by willing local workers. These generous benefactors were friends of the more famous Richard Arkwright and George Stephenson to name but a few.

Obituary of John Thewlis Johnson

JOHN THEWLIS JOHNSON, born on the 22nd March, 1836, was the eldest son of Mr. Thomas F. Johnson, of Manchester. After being for some time in his father's cotton mill, he became in 1860 a partner in the firm of Messrs. Richard Johnson and Nephew, of the Bradford Ironworks, Manchester. The business of this firm, of which Mr. Thewlis Johnson ultimately became head, was the manufacture of wire for telegraph, fencing, and other purposes, and with that industry he was identified during a long and successful career. He took a lively interest in all matters relating to the trade of Manchester and the district, and was for many years a member of the Chamber of Commerce of that city. In 1892 he was elected Vice-President and in the following year President of that Chamber. Mr. Johnson was a Justice of the Peace for the county of Derby, a director of Nettlefolds, a member of the Iron Trades' Association and a Vice-President of the Manchester Geographical Society. He died at his country residence, Ambergate, Derbyshire, on the 15th January, 1896. Mr. Johnson was elected an Associate on the 4th December, 1866.