Woodall Duckham – WD

Thanks to Harry Wilson the mystery of the WD initials on many Stein Bluebell specials is now solved.

The initials WD within an oval surround stands for The Woodall Duckham Construction Company of Brompton Road, London. –source


Once again this is an example of a Scottish brick manufacturer stamping the customer’s trademark on bricks manufactured especially for them.


1906 – Business founded by Harold Woodall and Arthur McDougall Duckham.

1911 – Company founded.

1920 – Private company formed as Woodall-Duckham Vertical Retort and Oven Construction Co. (1920) Ltd.

1928 – Partially rebuilt the vertical retorts of Sheffield Gas Co at Neepsend.

1929 – Designed and installed the first coke ovens on the Becker system in the UK – 25 ovens were built at Handsworth for the Nunnery Colliery Co of Sheffield.

1933 – Built some intermittent vertical retorts on the Stettin principle for the Croydon Gas Co. Built carbonizing plant for the Tottenham and District Gas Co.

1936 – Built new coking plant at Blacker near Wombwell for the Barnsley and District Coking Co; motor spirit would be one of the byproducts.

1937 – Erected 82 coke ovens at Redbourn for Richard Thomas and Co.

1938 – Erected vertical chamber ovens for the Commercial Gas Co at Poplar. Erected new coke ovens for the Stanton Iron Works Co.

1948 – Incorporated as a public company.

1953 – Name changed. Woodall-Duckham was a public company which started to be quoted on the London Stock Exchange in April 1953.

01/07/1958 – The Glasgow Herald – Woodall Duckam, another year of expansion.

1961 – Designers and contractors for coal carbonising and coal and oil gasification plants, and ancillary plants for the gas, coking and chemical industries. 2,700 employees.

Below – Note the WD trademark top middle centre of the poster below and compare to the Bluebell special also shown.

woodhall duckham WD


1965 – U262/B34 Business letter to C.C. Middleton concerning the supply of refractory cast blocks from John G. Stein and Co.Ltd., Bonnybridge, Scotland, 1966, and brochure of the same firm, 1965, containing another letter to C.C. Middleton, 1966, and printed list, 1966 (1 letter, 1 brochure containing docs.) . Middleton held a post with Woodall Duckham 

Below – This is a firebrick found by Clint Williams in Grafton, NSW, Australia. I believe the oval stamp may represent Woodall Duckham as they also had operations in Australia.

The manufacturer of the fire brick above is unknown but information from Richard Michell suggests it may have been manufactured at the Woodhall-Duckham (Australasia) Brickworks at French’s Forest NSW, Australia.


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