Mine of information about city firm’s search for ore in Norway
Dear Sir, Do you know you find the history of Brummies everywhere, even in cold, dark Kragerø, Norway? Kragerø, which is halfway down the coast from Oslo, is today a summer holiday resort, but once it was a busy mining place where Evans & Askin from Ladywood looked for ore for their nickel and cobalt refineries.
Charles Askin, a veterinary surgeon, was interested in chemistry and especially purifying nickel. He developed chemical refining to an art.
Together with Brooke Evans he set up business back in 1836 and the trade name British Plate was created. The popularity for British plate grew so much that they had to go far afield to look for ore for their product. A number of countries, including Norway, were visited.
David Forbes, who worked for Evans & Askin, started mining in Gausdal, north of Oslo, and had at most 400 people working for him. He travelled in Norway and started other mines, including some in and around Kragerø. The ore was transported on boats back to England and via the canal system to Ladywood.
Evans & Askin was taken over by Henry Wiggin and Co Ltd. Mr Wiggin was an active politician and gave his name to Wiggin Street, the site of the old Evans & Askin firm.
In Kragerø, Evans & Askin from Birmingham is remembered as the ones who started the mine “Dypedalsgruven” and others near the pretty coastal town.