The Newport Steam Joinery Works

Photo reference number: 2015

Pictured is part of the quire, clergy stalls and organ case made for St Woolos Church.

Newport Steam Joinery Works was run by EW King and Davies at 65a Marlborough Road.

Postcard from the private collection of Patrick White.

Some information about E W King, from the Newport Official Handbook, 1962:

"The firm of E. W. King & Son (Newport) Ltd., joinery manufacturers, was founded in Cardiff in 1907 by the late Mr. E. W. King, the business being moved to Newport in 1910 when it operated as a partnership as King & Davies. The partnership was dissolved in 1918. A change of title took place in 1930 when the firm became known as E. W. King & Son, and was incorporated under its present title in 1944.

The firm has developed steadily since 1907, the floor area of the original factory being 450 sq. feet and the present floor area being in the region of 100,000 sq. feet, and it is interesting to note that the company had in 1910 only fourteen employees whereas the King group now employs about 250.

A wide variety of woodwork is manufactured in the factory, whose output has provided the joinery for some hundreds of thousands of houses in the southern half of the country and in addition has been used in many of the important buildings erected during the last half-century. The firm is particularly proud of the fact that it was chosen to carry out the reseating and woodwork generally for the restoration of St. Woolos cathedral at Newport, and the joinery for the extension to the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre at Stratford-on-Avon; also much of the joinery doors and fittings in the New University at Swansea.

Its products, too, have been used in the erection of factories and industrial buildings in many parts of the country; one of the contracts was the joinery for the new Uskmouth Power Station, which is one of the largest in Europe. The firm also takes pride in the fact that it supplied the woodwork generally for the Royal Naval Propellant Factory at Caerwent and the Royal Ordnance factory at Glascoed.

During the two wars, the manufacture of joinery was discontinued and the factory turned over completely to the manufacture of ammunition and explosive cases. Another of its war-time activities was the salvaging of timber from cases in which fighting vehicles were imported from America, and the tropicalising and packaging of vehicle and tank engines for transit to the Far East.

In more recent years the company was commissioned to manufacture roof trusses and interior panelling and seating for St. David's Cathedral, Cardiff; also the new panelled roof in St. John's Church, Maindee, Newport.

E. W. King & Son are associated with R. W. Moon, Ltd., one of the oldest, if not the oldest, firms of building contractors in the country, who have built many churches, schools and other important buildings. Also in association are the firm of Pitcher & Thomas, Ltd., making and repairing high-class furniture; Newport Woodworkers Ltd., whose principal product is woodwork for undertakers; and E. W. King & Son (Marketing) Ltd. established to deal with the sale of factored doors, kitchen units and buildings of all types for agricultural use. The King group of companies prides itself in being able to supply and, if necessary fix any article of woodwork which might be required."