KK's Steel Mill: Then
Steeped in history, This Grade 11 listed building was once home to 'Star Motor Company' - One of the first mass production car companies in the UK.
The story began when Edward Lisle built his own first bicycle in the early 1870’s. After gaining mass success through racing his creation, he then began to build his bicycles to order.
Edward Lisle founded the Star Cycle Company In 1883. In 1889, business was booming and the company were able to purchase a factory on Stewart Street. By 1899, production levels reached an incredible 10,000 cycles per year, and by 1904 Star were the largest bicycle manufacturer in Wolverhampton.
However by 1897, times were changing. As were the demands of the customers. The company followed suit and acquired a ‘Benz Car’, using it as a template and basis for the design of their very own car.
The Star Cycle Company went on to purchase the rights to produce Star-Benz cars in Wolverhampton and began production at the Stewart Street Works. The cars were now being sold under the Star Motor Company name, a registered subsidiary of Star Engineering Limited, who adopted a policy of building as much as possible inhouse.
In 1902, the Star Motor Company finally changed its name to the Star Engineering Company. The business grew rapidly and diversified, expanding the Stewart Street works and obtaining additional premises in neighbouring streets.
The company went on to undertake their final quest in 1903 – building a magnificent 40,000 sq. ft. site on Frederick Street, where it remains to this very day.