Hay Mills Foundation Trust

The three hundred year history of manufacturing steel wire and wire rope in Birmingham and the histories of the people who worked here is being brought to life at Hay Mills. Working with the archives of Webster and Horsfall, Birmingham’s oldest manufacturing business, volunteers are delving into employment records and the worlds of music, transport, armaments, telecommunications, mining, oil, food production, health and many others showing how the developments and inventions created here have been at the very centre of some of the most significant and historic industrial events over the last three centuries.

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Become a volunteer Archivist by joining our team

The archives and artefacts are retained at Hay Mills, Library of Birmingham, and several other locations. It is the purpose of the Trust to bring all this history together, to record and catalogue all the material and to give open access for the general public to explore and enjoy. In our first year we are looking for volunteers to help us do that by joining our team, located in James Horsfall’s historic schoolroom at Hay Mills and work through the boxes of documents, photographs and memorabilia, with help from The Library of Birmingham Archive Department. Contact us at [email protected]


Webster and Horsfall has influenced world history in subtle but remarkable way. It was founded before the age of steam. Its manufacturing processes and its products have been central to the developments of the Industrial revolution. It has served the mining, food, surgical, construction and telecommunications industries. All is recorded in its extensive archives.