Elkington Street

Furnace Lane

This lane was named from the aston furnace the had stood on this site for many years, there is a story that the slag and cinders were used for the foundations of aston Hall, which was on a short distance from the furnace.

The aston Furnace

There exists a popular error among those who knew the town of Birmingham but imperfectly. Picturing Birmingham as "grimy with dense smoke of furnaces, echoing with the clangour of forges, gleaming with great fires, and busy in the production of iron." No picture of the town, certainly, could have ever been wider of the mark.

Scarcely a bar or a pig has ever been smelted within in it's boundaries; but there was, as we have previously mentioned, a solitary furnace at aston, until towards the end of the eighteenth century, which had existed for many generations.

There the blast was blown by a water wheel, and one of the first steam engines in this neighborhood was erected to supply it's place; one of the Newcomen and crawley's curious atmospheric engine, which attracted great crowds at the time of it's erection and for several years afterwards, who used to stare and wonder at was then known commonly as the "the fire machine."

The aston Furnace itself was blown out finally shortly before the year 1795, and from that period in time the iron smelting was driven away into the district as we know it today as the "Black country."