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Nova Scotia Steel and Coal Company
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1861-1966, predominant 1905-1930 (Creation)
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7 m of textual records and technical plans (blueprints).
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The Nova Scotia Steel and Coal Company was incorporated federally in 1898 as the NS Iron and Steel Company Ltd. Its name was subsequently amended in 1901 [NS Statutes, 1901, ca. 158]. The new company was an amalgamation of several smaller steel, iron and coal companies that had been established in Cape Breton and northern Nova Scotia in the 19th century. In 1900 the NS Steel Company had purchased coal leases for the collieries and mines of the General Mining Association of London. These leases included the Sydney Mines and Point Aconi areas, whose seams were considered to be of superior quality. In 1901 an integrated steel mill was established on the southeast side of Sydney Harbour in Whitney Pier, by the newly-formed Dominion Iron and Steel Company Limited (DISCO). DISCO merged with the Nova Scotia Steel and Coal Company (SCOTIA) in 1920 to form the British Empire Steel Corporation (BESCO). BESCO reorganized as Dominion Steel and Coal Corporation (DOSCO)in 1930. The Hawker-Siddley Group bought the steel plant in 1957 and operated it for ten years. In 1966 DOSCO and its parent corporation, A.V. Roe Canada Ltd., announced that its coal operations would be terminated. This action precipitated a series of events that resulted in the federal government stepping in to take over the Cape Breton collieries. In February 1967 it established a federal crown corporation, the Cape Breton Development Corporation (DEVCO.) This decision led to the subsequent provincialization of the DOSCO steel plant, renamed the Sydney Steel Corporation (SYSCO).
Believed to have been acquired by the Public Archives of Nova Scotia in the late 1960s. In 2006, this fonds was re-appraised, re-arranged and described. New reference numbers were assigned for portions of the correspondence. Detailed financial records (invoices, receipts, payroll) were de-accessioned and transferred to Dalhousie University Archives.
Scope and content
Fonds consists of operational records created by the NS Steel and Coal Company Ltd.'s New Glasgow and Sydney Mines offices. The most extensive section concerns the Old Sydney Collieries operations at Sydney Mines, containing letter books and correspondence files of the stores department (1905-1917), which detail the ordering and purchasing of supplies and equipment for the mines. In addition there are financial records such as cash books (1905-1913), general ledgers (1895-1915) and a very early workmen's book (1861-1864). Other records originate from the New Glasgow office and include general correspondence (1935-1941), corporate records such as printed annual reports and financial statements of NS Steel and Coal and its parent companies (BESCO and DOSCO), by-laws and articles of association, prospectuses and charters, and internal publications such as promotional booklets and agreements with labour unions. There are also a few files believed to have been created by former chairman Thomas Cantley, including two case files on the coal tariff issue (1912-1927) and a mine fire inquiry (1929), blueprints of mine sites in Sydney and schematic details of mining equipment used, and coal and steel production and sales figures (1898-1918). Finally there are later correspondence files and reports on mine performance and production at the Florence and Princess Collieries, 1953-1966.
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See Nova Scotia Archives’ Services page for information on copying, reproduction, and use of materials.
Related material is found in the Richard Brown family fonds, the Senator Thomas Cantley fonds (outgoing correspondence 1903-1911), the Nova Scotia Department of Public Works and Mining fonds and Department of Mining fonds. Records relating to the later successor body to Nova Scotia Steel and Coal, the Sydney Steel Corporation (SYSCO), may be found in the Department of Industry, Trade and Technology fonds.
Dalhousie University Archives has additional records of NS Steel and Coal Company. The Beaton Institute at Cape Breton University holds the records of the previous owner/operator General Mining Association fonds.