Blue plaque unveiled to honour inventor James Horsfall

By John Corser | Birmingham | News | Published:

A blue plaque has been unveiled to honour 19th century industrialist James Horsfall.

The Bishop of Aston, The Rt Rev Anne Hollingshurst, and Charles Horsfall, chairman of Webster & Horsfall unveil the plaque

His inventions for Webster & Horsfall in Birmingham profoundly influenced the progress of the Industrial Revolution.

His company manufactured all the wire for the first successful Trans-Atlantic telegraph cable which, in 1866, connected the continents of Europe and America by electronic communication for the first time.

His patent steel wire made the internal combustion engine a reality and cables strong enough for deep cast mining are still manufactured by Webster & Horsfall today.

The plaque, authorised by The Birmingham Civic Society, was unveiled by The Bishop of Aston, The Rt Rev Anne Hollingshurst, and Charles Horsfall, chairman of Webster & Horsfall, and a direct descendant of James.

The ceremony – part of Heritage Week, took place outside St Cyprian’s Church, Hay Mills.

It was built by James Horsfall in 1870 for the benefit and wellbeing of his workforce. Charles Horsfall, in unveiling the plaque, said: “I am extremely proud to be here today to unveil this plaque to my great-great-grandfather.

“At last we are able to give him the recognition he justly deserves for his extraordinary achievements.

"He has been the inspiration to succeeding generations of his family who have carried his company successfully into the 21st century and continue to follow his principles of experiment and innovation to bring green energy solutions to Birmingham.


“I would like to thank the Birmingham Civic Society for giving us this opportunity to celebrate James Horsfall in this way.

“St Cyprian’s Church has for so long closely been associated with our company who share in this commemoration, and, most importantly, our employees past and present.”

Webster & Horsfall is located at Hay Mills and is one of Birmingham’s oldest surviving companies.

This year, the company is celebrating 300 years.

John Corser

By John Corser
Business Reporter

Express & Star Business Editor at head office, Wolverhampton. Welcomes all news of companies and business organisations.

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