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Full text of "Pioneers of the Cleveland iron trade"

OF THE 



CLEVELAND IRON TRADE. 



" GAZETTE " STEAM PRINTING AND PUBLISHING OFFICES, 
MIDDLESBROUGH-ON TEES. 



PIONEEES 



OF THE 



CLEVELAND IRON TRADE, 



BY 



J. S. JEANS., 

AUTHOR OF "WESTERN WORT-HIES," ETC. 



MIDDLESBROUGH-ON-TEES : 
H, G. REID, "GAZETTE" PUBLISHING OFFICES, 

1875, 



.771/4-5 



Stack 
Annex 



PREFACE, 

THE extraordinarily large and rapid growth 
of the Cleveland Iron Trade, and the vast 
population chiefly dependent upon it, has 
awakened an interest which extends beyond 
the district immediately concerned. The 
fact that the make of Cleveland Iron now 
amounts to 1,999,491 tons annually being 
more than a third part of the whole make of 
England, and fully double the annual pro- 
duction of Scotland invests it with a national 
importance. To supply some definite know- 
ledge of the men who have created this great 
industry, is the purpose of this volume. 

The following chapters originally appeared 
as a series of articles in the Newcastle Weekly 
Chronicle, and a strong desire was expressed 
by many to possess them in a more permanent 
and convenient shape. Before reproducing 
them in book -form, the facts were carefully 



VI. PREFACE. 

verified, but it is obviously no easy matter to 
secure in the circumstances, perfect accuracy. 
The aim has been to give a full and faithful 
sketch of the men who have chiefly come to 
the front in the creation and development of 
the staple trade of Cleveland, without going 
outside the functions of the biographer and the 
historian. 

No doubt, some names deserving of mention 
have been omitted ; and opinions may differ 
as to the relative positions assigned to the 
various pioneers. The time has not yet 
come for doing justice to the newer works 
and workers ; the introduction of wire, nail, 
tube, and other manufactures, on which the 
future prosperity of the district must 
largely depend. No attempt at classifica- 
tion has been made, and it is hoped that the 
book will be accepted as an honest endeavour 
to preserve some reliable and tangible record 
of the inner life of the Cleveland district, and 
the lives of the men who have helped to raise 
it to the position which it now occupies. 



CONTENTS, 



PAGE. 

PREFACE .... . V. 

I. CHARLES ATTWOOD . 1 

II. H. W. F. BOLCKOW, M.P. . . 47 

III. JOHN VAUGHAN . . . 67 

IV. ISAAC WILSON . . ... 84 
V. JOSEPH DODDS, M.P. .... 94 

VI. EDGAR GILKE3 . 117 

VII. JOSEPH PEASE . . . 128 

VIII. W. R. I. HOPKINS ... . 149 

IX. ISAAC LOWTHIAN BELL . 164 

X. WILLIAM BARNINGHAM . . . 178 

XI. DAVID DALE . . .196 

XII. BERNHARD SAMUELSON, M.P. . . 216 

XIII. CHARLES MARK PALMER, M.P. . .. 235 

XIV. JOHN GJERS 253 

XV. JEREMIAH HEAD . . . 268 

XVI. EDWARD WILLIAMS . . . 282 

XVII. JAMES MORRISON . 298 



I-CHAELES ATTWOOD, 



IT would be difficult to find, in the -whole 
range of industrial biography, a more re- 
markable career than that which it is here 
our province to trace. Belonging to, and 
living chiefly in the memory of a past gene- 
ration, Charles Attwood is less known, and 
still less understood and appreciated, than he 
deserves to be, by the children and children's 
children of those whom he has outlived. 
Many of the reminiscences here recorded will 
have seen the light of publication for the 
first time, and many facts that clear up what 
have hitherto been little else than vague 
traditions, will here, also, initiate their exis- 
tence on paper. In tracing the lines of Mr. 
Attwood's biography, we are cultivating a 
field of surpassing promise and ripeness. 
Science owes him much more, probably, 
than his successors will ever be willing; to 
acknowledge. In the troubled arena of 
politics he has also fought and left his mark 
a mark that it will be difficult to efface. His 



2 PIONEERS OF THE CLEVELAND IRON TRADE. 

many-sided and versatile character may be 
approached and estimated from several diff- 
erent points of view ; but his career almost 
naturally divides itself into two parts the 
scientific or industrial, and the political. We 
prefer to deal first with the former phase, as 
more germane to the aim and scope of the 
present work. 

Mr. Attwood belongs to a family that had 
long occupied a leading position among the 
ironmasters of South Staffordshire. His 
grandfather began the manufacture of iron 
in that county about the middle of the last 
century. At that time, the iron trade of 
Staffordshire was of extremely limited extent. 
Scrivener, in his work on the " Iron Trade," 
estimates the total quantity of pig iron made 
in England and Wales in 1740 at 17,350 tons, 
or less than the annual production of a single 
large-sized Cleveland blast furnace at the 
present day. In Staffordshire the staple of 
the pig iron was made up into nail rods and 
bars. It was in this branch of the trade that 
the Attwood family were chiefly engaged, 
although they had previously become steel 
manufacturers, on a scale that was considered 
at that time of day, to be exceptionally large. 
Indeed, the steel manufacture of Great Britain 
was then the monopoly of a few families. The 
grandfather of Mr. Attwood, with his three 
sons, took a leading place among the monopo- 



CHARLES ATTWOOD. 

lists. The bulk of the steel was made from 
the iron obtained from the ore of Dannemora 
in Sweden, called Oregrund iron. There were 
four firms in Great Britain that monopolised 
the Dannemora iron for steel-making pur- 
poses, and it may be interesting, at this time 
of day, to state that these firms were the Att- 
wood family which included the father of 
the subject of our sketch the Walkers of 
Rotherham, the Cooksons of Newcastle, and 
the Harveys of Bristol. It was in this trade 
that the Cookson family laid the foundations 
of their fortune, and the Harveys also 
amassed immense wealth in it, until in an 
evil hour they founded the Ebbw Vale Works 
in South Wales, where they lost much of what 
they possessed. As for the Attwoods, they 
continued to stick to the steel trade, which, 
however, was becoming less of a monopoly 
than it had previously been. The Sheffield 
firms were getting possession of the field with 
their cheaper steel, made from Russian and 
from second class brands of Swedish iron; 
and competition with them could only be 
maintained by fighting them with their own 
weapons and on equal terms. This the Att- 
woods hesitated to do, although young Charles, 
who had been brought up to the steel trade, 
and had studied it closely, thought that the 
Dannemora ore could still be used with more 
advantage. Full of this faith, he would have 



'i PIONEERS OF THE CLEVELAND IRON TRADE. 

liked to be allowed to carry on the works on 
his own account. " Don't be such a fool, 
Charles/' said his relatives. " Can't you see 
the trade is shrivelled up ? We haven't half 
the trade we used to have. These Sheffield 
people, with their cheap steel, are beating us 
out of the field." " Which," said young Att- 
wood, "they will continue to do, so long as 
you charge cent, per cent, profit, while they 
are content with five-and-twenty." Charles 
persevered in his suit, assuring his father that 
he saw how to make their works compete with 
the Sheffield firms, but he could not get his 
own way, and he had to look out for " fresh 
fields and pastures new." 

About the year 1810, we find Mr. Attwood 
acquiring a share no more than a tenth in 
a small window or crown glass manufactory at 
Gateshead. In this concern he worked 
vigorously, and was enabled in 1813, after 
buying out all his partners, to carry it on 
as his own exclusive property. Meanwhile, 
he felt that the manufacture of glass was in 
anything but a perfect state, and set himself 
to improve it. He was so successful, that he 
patented an invention enabling glass, in- 
stead of being in colour, as Mr. Attwood has 
himself put it, " something like a goose's 
egg," to assume the smooth and transparent 
consistency it now retains. It was three years 
before he was able to bring his process to 



CHARLES ATTWOOD. 5 

the degree of perfection he desired. During 
those years he worked most assiduously. He 
had an office in London, to which the greater 
part of his glass was shipped for sale ; and he 
had just attained the threshold of complete 
commercial success the works having passed 
entirely into his own hands, and his new pro- 
cess being remunerative when be became 
involved in one of the most disastrous lawsuits 
that ever disgraced the annals of the Court of 
Chancery, and that is saying much. " It 
is," says Mr. Attwood himself, " a curious 
tale. One day 1 was sitting in my London 
office it was in the autumn of 1813 when 
a strange man entered and asked if I was 
Mr. Attwood. Upon my replying in the 
affirmative, he handed me a note and a piece 
of parchment, which was a summons to appear 
in the Court of Chancery at the suit of 
' Barber versus Banner.' I said, * I never 
knew or heard of any such people in my life.' 
He said, * Oh ! just put it into the hands of 
your solicitors, and you will see it's all right.' ' 
Mr. Attwood followed his strange monitor's 
advice, and found that he had unwittingly be- 
come involved in a law-suit of long standing, 
and of almost interminable complication. The 
principals to the suit Barber and Banner 
had bought a small glass bottle work at Gates - 
head, which they ultimately converted into a 
manufactory of ground glass. Barber, who 



6 PIONEERS OF THE CLEVELAND moN TIIADE. 

was a solicitor in Newcastle, was a speculative 
and unscrupulous man. He soon ruined his 
partner Banner, and, having been threatened 
with a prosecution for forgery, suddenly dis- 
appeared, Meanwhile, Banner was declared 
bankrupt, and his assignees, thinking, perhaps, 
there was little or nothing to be got, failed to 
realize the estate. The works, however, were 
carried on by other parties until they were 
joined by Mr. Attwood ; and the bankrupt's 
representative, finding meanwhile that there 
was something in the business after all, 
brought a suit to recover the profits for up- 
wards of 20 years, under a decree of the Court 
of Chancery, ordering an account between him- 
self and the two original partners. The case 
stood in this position when Mr. Attwood be- 
came involved in its meshes. It was a question 
whether the case would not hold out until the 
account was rendered, and whether the works 
would not follow the title of the buyers. In 
the flush of prosperity. Mr. Attwood deter- 
mined to fight out the case to the last. His 
first counsel was that Mr. Bell who took up 
a foremost position at the Chancery bar in 
the earlier half of the present century. But 
the case " dragged its weary length along," 
year after year, until Mr. Bell having become 
old, addressed Lord Eldon one day, and said, 
' I am sorry to inform your lordship that I 
do not purpose to practise any longer in your 



CttAllLES AttfTOOD. 7 

lordship's court." " Why," said his lordship, 
" how's this surely a precipitate decision ?" 
" Well, your Lordship, I'm an old man." 
"So am I," said Eldon. "But," said Mr. 
Bell, " I'm an infirm old man/' " And so, 
also, am I," said the Chancellor. "Well," 
said Mr. Bell, driven at last into a corner, 
"the real fact is, that, I've made enough money 
and wish to retire." "Aye," replied his 
Lordship, " but you have the advantage of me 
there." Mr. Bell having retired from the 
management of his case, Mr. Attwood had to 
look out for another leading counsel, lie 
procured the services of Mr. Peps, afterwards 
Lord Chancellor of England, whose patience 
also became exhausted before the suit was ter- 
minated. " We must get a hearing," he said 
one day, addressing Mr. Attwood, " or this 
case will last as long as your grandchildren." 
At last, after twenty-eight parties involved in 
the case had been gathered together from all 
parts of the world after nine years of cease- 
less and costly litigation, and after exhausting 
the time, means, and patience of more than 
one party to the suit it came before the 
Court for final judgment. Vice-Chancellor 
Leach, who has attained some notoriety, from 
having been selected by George the Fourth to 
prosecute Queen Caroline, declared, in dis- 
missing it, that it was a most melancholy 
case and a disgrace to the records of the 



8 PIONEERS OF THE CLEVELAND IRON TRADE. 

court. To Mr. Attwood it meant little short 
of absolute ruin. His patent, which should, 
and under other circumstances would have 
made him one of the richest men in the 
country, was only of fourteen years' duration. 
Three of those years had been spent in bring- 
ing it to perfection. Other nine had been 
frittered away in a vexatious and costly litiga- 
tion, which completely unhinged his prospects, 
and created a gnawing sense of insecurity. 
When the trial terminated, he found that the 
parties from whom he should have recovered 
his costs were mere men of straw. He was 
thus the poorer by thousands of pounds. 
With only two years of his patent unexpired, 
he could not hope to do great things. So far, 
therefore, as he himself was concerned, he 
jogged along until his patent rights had 
lapsed, when Mr. Chance of Birmingham, Mr. 
Hartley of Sunderland, and other firms up and 
down the country took up the principle and 
worked it out with highly profitable results. 
Briefly stated, Mr. Attwood's patent consisted 
in the use of pure soda, pure lime, and pure 
sand, unmixed with the Scotch kelp and 
Spanish barilla that were formerly used 
exclusively in the manufacture of English 
window glass. 

It is impossible to resist the temptation to 
relate another reminiscence of Mr. Attwood's 
connection with the glass trade, which led to 



CHARLES ATTWOOD. 9 

an encounter between himself and Sir Robert 
Peel, who was then Secretary of State for 
Ireland. A statutory enactment having pro- 
vided that a duty of 250 per cent, on its prime 
cost should be imposed on all glass entering 
Ireland, Mr. Attwood resolved to take advan- 
tage of the short intervening space, before the 
Act became law, to get as much stock as 
possible into the sister country free of duty. 
Simultaneously with this, the Dumbarton glass 
makers then the largest in the kingdom 
shipped immense quantities from the Clyde, 
so that by the time the Act came into opera- 
tion there was something like a three years' 
stock, upon which no duty could be charged. 
Mr. Attwood had previously consulted some 
of the most eminent legal men in London, as 
to whether there was any risk in what he had 
done ; and the answer he got that there was 
a standing order against the repeal or altera- 
tion of any fiscal bill passed in the same 
session of Parliament gave him increased 
assurance in the course he adopted. But the 
Irish Ministers did not relish the turn that 
affairs had taken, and one of them Mr. Fitz- 
gerald surreptitiously introduced into the 
Irish Customs Act a clause, which provided 
that the duty on glass should take retrospec- 
tive effect. This provision was tagged on to 
the end of a Bill dealing with quite another 
subject, and it was no doubt expected that it 



10 1>IOXEEHS OF T1JK CLEVELAND 1ROS' TRADE. 

would pass unnoticed and unchallenged. It 
did so in the ] louse of Commons, but Mr. 
Attwoocl, wroth at finding himself so com- 
pletely and unfairly ' ; sold," buckled on his 
armour, and resolved to measure weapons 
with the ministers. Having heard from Ire- 
land that his cargoes, which had beer, arriving 
very fast, were all confiscated by the Com- 
missioners of Customs, and would not be given 
up until the Bill making them amenable to 
this huge impost had received the royal 
assent, he waited upon Sir Robert Peel with 
the view of uttering a remonstrance. " I 
cannot," said Mr. Attwood, " allow 20,000 to 
be taken out of my pocket by a fraud of this 
kind." " Well," replied the secretary, " there 
seerns to me to be no remedy for it. I can- 
not help you." With that he bowed Mr. Att- 
wood to the door, evidently annoyed, or at 
any rate not prepossessed by the high ground 
and unvarnished terms which his visitor had 
chosen to assume. It went against his grain 
to be beaten, and so Mr. Attwood, after pon- 
dering in his heart, the most likely means of 
checkmating the move of the Government, 
took the coach and drove down into County 
Wicldow, where he took the opinion of Lord 
Plunkett, some time Attorney General, and a 
man of profound legal acumen. His lordship 
distinctly affirmed " that a retrospective 
duty could not be imposed in the Queen's 



CMARLES AtTWoOt). 1 1 

courts." Armed with this opinion, Mr. Att- 
wood once more waited upon Peel. He 
found the secretary stiffer and sterner than 
before. He would listen to nothing, and in- 
sisted that the duty should be paid. At last 
Mr. Attwood said ** we are advised that it 
cannot be imposed in the Queen's courts, and 
we mean to try it there." " You can do as 
you like/' said Peel, " We will be prepared to 
meet you." Moving to the door, Mr. Attwood 
added, " Before I go, I may just tell you that 
I hold in my hand the written opinion of 
Lord Plunkett, that the duty is illegal." 
" Wait a minute," said Peel, who became much 
agitated for Lord Plunkett and he were 
enemies and rivals, and he was doubtless 
afraid that it might lead to a vote of censure 
" Perhaps you will allow me to see that 
opinion." " Certainly, sir," said Mr. Attwood, 
who placed the document in the Secretary's 
hands, and watched his fingers nervously try- 
ing to untie the red tape ; " you can have it 
to sleep over if you like." Having glanced 
at the paper, Peel retorted, with more urbanity 
of manner, '* This is a case of great impor- 
tance. I could riot ive you an answer on it 

V 

just now." Mr. Attwood replied that he 
might do so at his leisure, and retired. Be- 
fore nine o'clock next morning, however, he 
received a note, with Mr. Secretary 1'eel's 
compliments, to the effect that "Her Majesty's 



PIONEERS OF THE CLEVELAND IRON TRADE. 

Government have resolved not to enforce the 
duties on window glass imposed under the 
recent Act of Parliament." Next session, 
much to Mr. Attwood's disgust and loss, Peel 
and Fitzgerald brought in a bill to repeal 
altogether the duty on window glass, and after 
lying for many months on the open quays at 
Dublin, his large stock had to be disposed of 
at a great sacrifice. 

In the month of May, 1828, Mr. Attwood 
made a discovery which has a reflex influence 
of some little account on the industrial annals 
of Cleveland. The date is firmly impressed 
in Mr. Attwood's mind, because he was com- 
ing down from London to Northampton for 
the purpose of meeting a favourite blood 
mare of his own the first he had entered 
for a race which was to take part in the 
" Oaks " of that year. The mare was to come 
from Manchester, and Mr. Attwood, travelling 
from London in the mail coach for it was in 
the pre-railway days expected to meet her 
at Northampton. Here he slept during the 
night, finding that his mare had not arrived ; 
and next morning he got up at six o'clock, 
with the object of having a walk through the 
town. Chance led him in the direction 
of the Castle, in the yard of which there was 
a low wall, built of a curious kind of stone. 
After carefully examining this stone, Mr. Att- 
wood became convinced that it was iron ore, 



CHARLES ATT WOOD. 13 

identical in kind with that now found in Cleve- 
land. He had previously met with the same 
description of ore. During all the years he 
lived in the neighbourhood of Newcastle, he 
was on the outlook for minerals, having been 
trained to a knowledge of metallurgy and 
mineralogy ; and the late Mr. John Clayton 
was accustomed to show him specimens of 
stone obtained from the Whitby district, that 
was occasionally used in the furnaces of the 
Tyne Iron Company, at Lemington. Mr. 
Clayton told them with reference to this 
peculiar stone " We get it by little vessels 
that go down the coast about Whitby in the 
summer time, and when the tide recedes, 
these vessels, lying upon the sand, are filled 
with blocks of ironstone that are washed off 
the cliffs on to the beach." The quantity of 
stone thus obtained was very fragmentary and 
precarious ; and having been informed by Mr. 
Clayton and others, that the Whitby stone 
made bad iron per se, he took little further 
interest in it. But he knew the deposition 
of the stone thoroughly. He was aware, that 
in all the other ironstone-bearing districts of 
Great Britain the mineral was found in nodular 
bands, whereas, here in Cleveland, it lay in 
rock masses. He also believed that there was 
an enormous quantity of this oolitic or Cleve- 
land stone ; and when he found it cropping 
up in Northamptonshire he resolved in his 



14 PIONEERS O.F THE CLEVELAND IRON TBADK. 

mind whether it could not be turned to good 
account. Northampton is about half-way be- 
tween Staffordshire and London. There was 
a splendid highway the whole distance com- 
mencing with the Kiver Trent in Staffordshire, 
and then via the Grand Junction Canal to the 
Metropolis. It struck Mr. Attwood that as 
the heavy laden boats or barges navigating 
the canal came back empty, it might suit the 
purpose of the canal company to allow them 
to be charged with this ironstone as back 
freight, in which case it could be delivered in 
Staffordshire for a very small cost. Mean- 
while, however, the important problem 
" where docs this stone come from ?" pre- 
sented itself for solution. lie made inquiries 
about Northampton, and found no one who 
could at all throw light upon his question. All 
that day until sunset he walked to and fro in 
the neighbourhood, and as he came home he 
passed through a ploughed field about a mile 
from the town. As is the custom in the 
country, the hind or ploughman was unyoking 
his horses, leaving the plough in the furrow. 
Following the track of the plough, he dis- 
covered that it had been turning over iron- 
stone along its entire course. He asked the 
"yokel" about it, but could get no satisfactory 
idea as to what it was, or to what extent it 
was known to be disseminated throughout the 
district, He had no difficulty, however, in 



CHARLES ATTWOOD. 15 

recognising it as identical with the stone he 
had seen in the Tyne, brought from Whitby. 
lie concluded, therefore, that it would be 
found, niore or less abundantly, scattered over 
the country between Northampton and Cleve- 
land. With these conclusions in his mind, he 
wrote to his brother-in-law in Staffordshire 
Mr. William Matthews, a well-known iron- 
master " You can get oolitic ironstone here 
at Is. per ton. I think it will be worth your 
while looking after it, for your Staffordshire 
ironstone is very dear." Mr. Matthews wrote 
back " Even if you could guarantee me the 
stone at Is. per ten it is worth nothing, for the 
Canal Company charge 35s. per ton for the 
carriage of iron to London, and it would not 
pay me to allow one-hall' that rate." Thus 
repulsed and disappointed, Mr. Attwood took 
1:0 further notice of the discovery he had made 
in Northampton. The matter had indeed 
almost entirely passed from his memory, 
until one day in the spring of 1830, he was 
riding from Thirsk across the Hambledon 
Moors, to the training stables of some Arabian 
horses which he intended running in the 
" Oaks" of that year. On his way, he observed 
that the country roads were mended with the 
same oolitic ironstone that he had found at 
Northampton. The coincidence struck him at 
once, and confirmed him in the impression that 
the iron ore extended the length of Whitby, 



16 

and thence near to Stockton and Middles- 
brough. Addressing a country man whom he 
met, he asked, " Can you tell me where this 
stone comes from ?" " Down that lane, sir," 
was the reply, pointing in the direction in- 
dicated. Instead, therefore, of going to the 
training grounds, Mr. Attwood determined to 
devote the morning to find out, if possible, 
the formation of this deposit. He turned 
his horse's head down the lane, and after 
following its course for about a mile and a- 
half, he came to a limestone quarry, used for 
agricultural purposes, where there was a con- 
siderable quantity of it collected. The stone 
had evidently been disinterred in building these 
limekilns, and was thrown aside as useless 
rubbish. Again, it occurred to Mr. Attwood, 
whether his discovery could not be turned to 
advantage. The railway system was then in 
its infancy. Between Darlington and Stock- 
ton there was a line worked entirely by 
horses. But between Manchester and Liver- 
pool the system had been tried on the present 
modern scale, and tried successfully. It there- 
fore seemed to Mr. Attwood, that railway 
facilities would soon become extensively 
developed in England, and bring into close 
and easy contact mineral districts, otherwise 
too remote to be worked in conjunction and 
inter-dependence. In view of such a proba- 
bility, he began to attach great importance to 



CHARLES ATTWOOD. 1 7 

the discovery at Thirsk which could so soon 
be brought into practical co-operation with 
the Durham coal-field, although it could not 
be opened out at that time. Another link 
was soon afterwards added to the chain this 
time, also, in an accidental manner. Mr. Att- 
wood had some shooting quarters behind 
Haltwliistle, where he was accustomed to 
spend some time every year. His brother- 
in-law, Mr. Matthews, was as fond of grouse- 
shooting as himself, and generally joined him 
at llaltwhistle in the season. In August of 
this same year, 1830, after they had finished 
their shooting campaign together, and when 
Mr. Matthews was talking about returning to 
Staffordshire, Mr. Attwood said, "Do you re- 
member me writing you three years ago about 
a rock of ironstone I found at Northampton, 
and which I thought might be made of some 
value to you in Staffordshire ?" "I recollect 
perfectly," was the reply. " Then," said Mr. 
Attwood, " I found that same rock close at 
hand here, and rely upon it, it will be brought 
into connection with the coal-field before long, 
and give rise to quite a new iron trade." Mr. 
Attwood then proposed that his brother-in- 
law should accompany him to Thirsk, and see 
the stone for himself. Mr. Matthews at once 
consented. They slept at Thirsk all night, 
and went on together next morning to the 
training ground, stopping by the way to look 
c 



18 PIONEERS OF THE CLEVELAND IRON TRADE. 

in upon the quarry where Mr. Attwood had 
found the ironstone. Mr. Matthews was much 
struck with the discovery, and filled his 
shooting-jacket pockets with specimens of 
the stone, which he intended to take with him 
to Staffordshire for the purpose of analysis. 

We are now approaching the beginning of 
the end of this part of our narrative. Mr. 
Attwood waited for the railway system to 
bring the Durham coal-field and the Cleve- 
land ironstone together, satisfied that when 
that union had been completed there would be 
an immense impetus given to the Northern 
iron and coal trades. While he lived in Lon- 
don he became a subscriber to the first geo- 
logical map that was ever published. It was 
drawn up by William Smith, the geologist 
a relative of Professor Philips, the miner- 
alogist, of Oxford, and the discoverer of the 
regular order of superposition of the British 
strata. Smith had prepared a complete 
geological map of England, but it was too 
bulky a thing for general use, and it was 
therefore determined to carry out a scheme 
of publishing separate geological maps for 
each county. Geology was then less under- 
stood and appreciated than it is at the present 
day, and after twelve county maps had been 
published the scheme had to be abandoned 
for want of adequate support. But, fortunately, 
the map of Yorkshire was one of the twelve 



CHARLES ATTWOOD. 19 

indeed, it was the very last published and 
a wonderful map it is for the accuracy of 
its outlines. Mr. Attwood instructed his 
nephew to make out a copy of Smith's map on 
a small scale, and added, " We will go next 
week and trace this ironstone from Scar- 
borough to the Tees ; and as soon as we come 
to Middlesbrough we shall find its main seam 
either here (putting his finger on Eston Nab), 
or here (pointing to Roseberry Topping). 
The bed is in the lias limestone formation, 
and wherever it is laid bare under the oolitic, 
all the way down to the mouth of the Severn, 
that bed exists." Mr. Attwood's nephew 
prepared the map as desired. The writer 
has been permitted to examine it, as well as 
a copy of the geological survey for York- 
shire, prepared by Smith, which shows a 
section of the coast from Scarborough up to 
the mouth of the Tees. At this time the 
railway had just been opened from Stockton 
to Middlesbrough, and Mr. Attwood had made 
up his mind to acquire a large royalty of 
the Cleveland ironstone, and commence the 
manufacture of iron in that district. 

It was at this juncture that circumstances 
occurred which directed Mr. Attwood's 
thoughts into quite another channel, and pre- 
vented him from taking the position which 
has since, by universal assent, been awarded 
to Mr. John Vaughan. It was Burns who 
wrote 



20 PIONEERS OF THE CLEVELAND IRON TRADE. 

" The best laid schemes o' men and mice 
Gang aft agley ;" 

and so it was with the plans of Mr. Attwood. 
Before he had time to carry out his contem- 
plated examination of the Cleveland hills, he 
was waited upon by a man named Walton, 
who had formerly owned a small freehold 
estate in Weardale, of which he was a native, 
but at that time kept a public-house in or 
near Newgate Street, Newcastle. Walton, 
while working some lead mines in Wear- 
dale, came upon a peculiar mineral of which 
he knew nothing, but knowing Mr. Att- 
wood to be a mineralogist, he brought the 
stone under his notice. Mr. Attwood at 
once pronounced it to be a very rich and 
peculiar quality of iron ore a carbonate of 
iron which was not known to exist anywhere 
in Great Britain except Cornwall, although 
it had been found in abundance among the 
Styrian and Carinthian Alps from the time 
of the Romans. In order to have his impres- 
sions fully verified, Mr. Attwood advised 
Walton to send the mineral to Dr. Fyfe, of 
Edinburgh, the eminent chemist, for the pur- 
pose of analysis. Walton did so, and Dr. Fyfe's 
assay fully bore out the opinions of Mr. Att- 
wood, who, having ascertained that a rail- 
way was then in course of formation which 
would connect the Bishop Auckland coal-field 
with Weardale, determined to turn his views 



CHARLES ATTWOOD, 21 

for the time being in that direction. The 
district had access with the Tyne by the Wear- 
dale, Stanhope, and Tyne Railway the first 
line constructed by Stephenson which was 
worked, not by locomotives, but by horses 
and inclined planes. Having revolved in his 
own mind the all-important question of rail- 
way facilities, Mr. Attwood said to Walton, 
" You know Weardale very well ; do you think 
there is much of this stuff"? " " Yes," he re- 
plied, " I'm of opinion that there's a very large 
quantity of it; but it has hitherto been 
thrown out of the mines as useless." " Then, 
we'll go through the valley and see what 
quantity of it can be got ; it's a stone of some 
value." With Walton as their guide, Mr. 
Attwood and his nephew made a tour of the 
lead mines, and found that large quantities 
of the " rider ore" had been cast out of the 
mines as rubbish, its tendency being injurious 
to the lead with which it is found in combina- 
tion. Mr. Attwood knew that if he could 
obtain a sufficient quantity of this ore, he 
would be able to produce the best iron made 
in Britain ; while he also knew that the Cleve- 
land ore made a very inferior quality of iron. 
He did not like the idea of making bad iron, 
no matter what its commercial results might 
be, so he elected to throw in his lot with the 
Weardale ores, saying to his nephew and him- 
self, " We'll let Cleveland alone in the mean- 



22 PIONEERS OF THE CLEVELAND IRON TRADE. 

time ; it will keep perhaps long enough." 
These circumstances led to the abandonment 
of the proposed survey of the Cleveland hills, 
and involved, as its necessary corollary, the 
loss of prestige Mr. Attwood would undoubt- 
edly have gained had he followed up his dis- 
coveries and intentions. 

The next matter that claimed Mr. Attwood's 
attention was the acquisition of a lease for 
working the ''rider ore" of Weardale. He 
ascertained that the lead mines of Weardale 
had been held for many generations by the 
Blackett family, which subsequently merged 
in that of Beaumont. And it may be noticed, 
en passant, that two centuries previously a Mr. 
Edward Blackett, the owner of the few lead 
mines worked in the district at that remote 
period, had been known to have worked Wear- 
dale iron ore, which was made into iron and 
steel by a small colony of Germans on the 
Derwent. The works were carried on at 
Shotley Bridge, near Consett where their re- 
mains may be traced to this day ; while the 
descendants of these German steelworkers 
may still be identified in the neighbourhood 
by their queer-sounding names. In those days 
the art of making iron and steel with coal or 
coke was quite unknown. Charcoal was the 
only fuel used, and as the supply of wood in 
the district became scarce, the steel works 
were abandoned. Returning from this digres- 



CHARLES ATTWOOD. 23 

sion, we find that a gentleman of the name of 
Pearson, an agent of the Bishop of Durham, 
had taken, on speculation, a lease of the iron 
ore in the manors of Stanhope and Wolsingham, 
at a merely nominal rent, a number of years 
previous to Walton's discovery. Mr. Pearson 
had only one child a daughter, who married 
the late Mr. George Hutton Wilkinson, some 
time recorder of Newcastle, and through her 
the lease reverted to her husband and family. 
But by them the value and character of "the 
iron ore in Weardale appeared only to be 
guessed at. Most of those to whom Mr. Alt- 
wood spoke on the subject were quite incred- 
ulous of the existence of such ore. One old 
man knowingly declared, " Nay ; that's no 
ironstone ; it's only brunt (burnt) stuff." But 
Mr. Attwood persisted that it was ironstone of 
the finest quality ; and, unwisely for himself 
perhaps, made a good deal of noise about it, 
for when he went to see Mr. Wilkinson about 
entering into a lease, he found that Mr. Cuth- 
bert Rippon had been there a few days before 
him, and had just arranged for the working 
of all the ironstone in the two manors of Stan- 
hope and Wolsingham. Under the circum- 
stances, Mr. Attwood was compelled to make 
arrangements with Mr. Rippon for a sub-lease 
of the manor on much less advantageous 
terms than he could have made with Mr. 
Wilkinson, had he kept his own counsel. 



24 PIONEERS OP THE CLEVELAND IRON TRADE. 

Having thus established himself in Wear- 
dale, Mr. Attwood built five blast furnaces at 
Tow Law, and purchased another, which Mr. 
Rippon had erected at Stanhope. His ex- 
pectations as to the quality of iron that could 
be produced from the so-called "rider ore" 
were amply verified. No less an authority 
than Mr. Isaac Lowthian Bell has declared 
that the iron made at Tow Law is of a very 
high class so good, indeed, as closely to re- 
semble in quality the celebrated German 
" Spiegeleisen." For bar iron purposes it 
bears a high name, and has, like its prototype 
in Germany, been found pre-eminently well 
adapted for the manufacture of the finer kinds 
of steel an application confined exclusively 
to the purest descriptions of metal. Mean- 
while, Messrs. Bolckow and Vaughan had 
built three blast furnaces at Witton Park, 
relying upon their ability to procure adequate 
supplies of stone in that district. Herein 
they were grievously disappointed. They 
experienced the utmost difficulty in obtaining 
ironstone sufficient to keep their furnaces 
blowing, and in their dilemma Mr. Vaughan 
called on Mr. Attwood, and asked for a supply 
of his Weardale ores. The latter was un- 
able to spare any of the " rider ore," which 
is not found in great beds like the Cleveland 
stone, but in isolated patches, very irregular 
and precarious. In the neighbourhood of 



CHARLES ATTWOOD. 25 

Consett, however, he had leased a large 
royalty of clayband ironstone, from which he 
furnished Messrs. Bolckow and Vaughan with 
occasional supplies. Things were in this 
state when, one day in the spring of 1850, 
Mr. Vaughan paid a visit to Mr. Attwood at 
Tow Law. After some general conversation 
Mr. Vaughan said, " I've come to sell you 
some ironstone." "Indeed," replied Mr. 
Attwood, who could scarcely conceal his 
astonishment, " I'm sorry to hear that, for I 
expected you had come to buy some from me. 
However," he added, " if you can sell me iron- 
stone cheaper and better than I can work it 
for myself, I'll be your customer. What can 
you deliver it for at Tow Law ?" " Six 
shillings a ton," said Mr. Vaughan. Mr. 
Attwood at once jumped to the conclusion 
that the Cleveland ironstone, which he had 
imagined was yet unknown, had at last been 
found out. Without expressing his thoughts, 
however, he asked, " In what part of the 
country do you find stone that you can deliver 
at 6s per ton?" In an off-hand way, Mr. 
Vaughan replied, " On the railway close by 
Darlington." Mr. Attwood was not to be 
misled by this ambiguous reply. He went to 
a drawer, pulled out the geological maps to 
which allusion has already been made, spread 
them out before his visitor and said : " Now, 
I know the geology of Darlington very well ; 



26 PIONEERS OF THE CLEVELAND IRON TRADE. 

there's no stone to be found thereabouts. At 
one or other of these places (putting his 
fingers on the spots indicating Roseberry 
Topping and Eston Nab) you must find your 
ironstone." " Mr. Vaughan," said Mr. Att- 
wood, when relating the anecdote to the 
writer, "looked at me as if I had been a 
witch." Admitting the truth of what Mr. 
Attwood had affirmed, he added, " We've not 
concluded our arrangements yet ; and we 
dont want it to be known." " All right," was 
the reply, " you need not fear me. I advise 
you to go on, for you've got hold of a good 
thing." 

Although the events already recorded pre- 
vented him from taking up the position to 
which he had looked forward that of being 
the first to demonstrate the practical value of 
the Cleveland ironstone Mr. Attwood was 
not prepared to relinquish altogether his long 
cherished intention of some day obtaining a 
footing in the Cleveland district. He, there- 
fore, about the beginning of 1852, began to 
look out for ironstone royalties near to Eston. 
But Messrs. Bolckow and Vaughan on the 
one side, and the Consett Iron Company on 
the other, had pretty much taken up the first 
range of hills. Dissappointed thereat, Mr. 
Attwood still argued " I cannot afford to lose 
it; I must secure some of this stone before it 
is all eaten up." At last he was able to con- 



CHARLES ATTWOOD. 2? 

elude negotiations for the lease of a royalty 
of some 5,000 acres near to Guisborough. In 
this venture he was joined by his partners in 
the Weardale works the Messrs. Baring, of 
London. But they, as bankers, knew nothing 
of the merits of the Cleveland stone, and as, 
on inquiry, they heard unfavourable accounts 
of it, they dissuaded Mr. Attwood from 
attempting its development. This was done 
much against Mr. Attwood's own inclinations, 
for he had a strong presentiment that Cleve- 
land was the place in which to make money 
rapidly, there being always a ready market for 
cheap goods, and Mr. Vaughan had told him 
that his firm could make iron from Cleveland 
ore for 25s per ton. He had his hands almost 
full in Weardale, however, and on this account 
he allowed his own predilections to be over- 
ruled by the prejudices of his partners. The 
result was that the Guisborough royalty re- 
mained almost untouched for a number of 
years. The trade being in its infancy, the 
market was restricted ; and most of the new 
firms who came into the district to build blast 
furnaces did so by arrangement with the 
Messrs. Pease, of Darlington, who gave them 
railway facilities which Mr. Attwood and his 
partners were not in a position to offer. 

At last, in the year 1870, two blast furnaces 
each 85 feet in height, were erected at Tud- 
hoe, (where the Company had previously, in 



28 PIONEERS OF THE CLEVELAND IRON TRADE. 

1852, established rolling mills and forges) 
for smelting the Cleveland ironstone. The 
" make " of these furnaces averages about 800 
tons per week. The output from the "Wear- 
dale Company's mines in Cleveland is now at 
the rate of 400,000 tons per annum. Since 
they acquired their royalty, the Company 
have disposed of over 2,000 acres stretching 
away in the direction of Thirsk, to which Mr. 
Attwood did not attach much value. But 
they have still about 3,000 acres of the best 
stone under lease and the bed is so thick 
that, as Mr. Attwood has himself put it, " We 
could almost supply a hundred blast furnaces, 
if we had them, for as many years." 

In addition to their Tow Law works, where 
there are five blast furnaces, erected in 1847, 
and each forty-eight feet in height, the Wear- 
dale Company have Bessemer works at Tud- 
hoe, in which a great part of the iron made 
at Tow Law is converted into steel. This 
branch of their operations has a most interest- 
ing history, upon which we may be excused 
for briefly dwelling, seeing that it has not 
hitherto been told. Mr. Attwood was the 
first to take a license from Bessemer, who, at 
the time he brought out his patent, carried on 
an establishment at Sheffield. Having heard 
from the patentee of the new invention, Mr. 
Attwood made a trial of it, and was favour- 
ably impressed with the results, although they 



CHARLES ATTWOOD. 29 

were not quite perfect. He thought it worth 
while, however, to see his partners, and elicit 
their opinion as to taking a license. The 
reply he got was, " Better let it alone ; we 
don't know anything about it." Just at this 
juncture a rather curious incident occurred, 
which, trifling in itself, led, nevertheless to 
most important results. The manager of the 
Weardale Company's rolling mills, at Tud- 
hoe, who had little faith in Bessemer's 
process, was one day travelling on the rail- 
way, when he met Mr. William Bird, a lead- 
ing authority in the iron trade, long resident 
in London. Bird, who was a friend of the 
patentee said, " I want somebody who will 
work steel for Bessemer. Will you under- 
take it at Tudhoe ?" The manager replied 
that they would be glad to do so for a fail- 
price. " Well," retorted Bird, " what we 
specially require is to make ship plates say 
about six hundred tons per week. It will re- 
quire good strong works, and I think yours 
will suit." " All right," said the other, ''we'll 
make any quantity you like for 6 per ton." 
It was ultimately agreed that Bessemer would 
send ingots from his works at Sheffield to 
Tudhoe, and that they were to be manufactured 
into ship plates at the latter works. Mr. 
Attwood's manager predicted it would be an 
utter failure. Mr. Attwood himself held quite 
a different opinion, and stuck to it. At last 



30 PIONEERS OF THE CLEVELAND IRON TRADE. 

a cargo of twenty tons of steel ingots was 
delivered at Tudhoe, and Mr. Bessemer 
appeared in person to watch operations. Mr. 
Attwood was also present, and took much in- 
terest in the experiments, which proved so 
successful that Mr. Bessemer almost in- 
duced Mr. Attwood to purchase a license 
to work the new patent. Before doing so, 
however, Mr. Attwood sent his manager 
over to Sheffield that he might see the 
process carried on in Mr. Bessemer's own 
works. v ' I have altered my views entirely," 
wrote the manager a day or two afterwards, 
" Bessemer has now overcome all his diffi- 
culties, and can make steel of a uniform and 
workable quality. The thing is now worth 
looking after." Anxious, however, still 
further to test the merits of the process, Mr. 
Attwood went over to Sheffield himself, taking 
with him twenty tons of Weardale iron. At Mr. 
Bessemer's works he stayed for a week, closely 
scrutinising the effects of the new process on 
his own iron, and was so satisfied with the 
result that he at once undertook to purchase 
a license. It was about this time that Besse- 
mer was threatened with litigation that might 
have involved the invalidity of his patent. 
Mushet, a relative of the discoverer of the 
Scotch " black band" ironstone, had brought 
out a great many patents, and one of them 
proposed to deal with the manufacture of steel 



CHARLES ATT WOOD. 31 

by a process which in some respects resembled 
that patented by Bessemer. While this 
ugly case was pending, Mr. Attwood met 
Bessemer and told him that his was a pre- 
carious patent, for, he added, " I see you are 
under the lash of Mushet, and I don't like the 
idea of having to pay twice over for my 
license." " Well," said Mr. Bessemer, " I 
can assure you it is quite a mistake to say 
that we are using Mushet's patent ; we are 
getting iron from Sweden that keeps us 
safe."' "That may be," said Mr. Att- 
wood, " but if I go on with this license 
you must guarantee me against all risk 
so far as Mushet is concerned." Bessemer 
gave the required undertaking, but when 
he saw Mr. Attwood proceeding to lay 
down a plant costing over 10,000, on a 
plan furnished by himself the patentee he 
seemed to be somewhat doubtful about the 
wisdom of what he had done. Shortly after- 
wards, however, Mr. Attwood had another 
visit from Bessemer, whose first news was 
" All danger is now past, for Mushet has 
allowed his patent to lapse for want of paying 
the patent fees." "It is impossible," replied 
Mr. Attwood, " that he can have been such a 
fool." "It's nevertheless a fact, though," 
said the emancipated patentee, "for my agent, 
having satisfied himself of its accuracy, 
hurried down to. tell me." Meanwhile, the 



32 PIONEERS OF THE CLEVELAND IRON TRADE. 

Bessemer works at Tudhoe had been finished; 
and it was found that there was something 
radically faulty about them. It was one thing 
to make ingots, but it was quite another thing 
to forge and roll them. Mr. Attwood could 
not personally give much attention to the 
matter, for he was at this time an infirm 
valetudinarian, and unable to undertake the 
daily fatigue of travelling between Wolsing- 
ham, where he resided and Tudhoe a distance 
of fifteen miles. Experience, however, ulti- 
mately enabled the more serious faults of the 
process to be corrected, and it is in success- 
ful operation at Tudhoe to this day. His 
process has realised a princely fortune for 
Mr. Bessemer, while it has entirely revo- 
lutionised the steel manufacture of Great 
Britain, enabling steel bars which formerly 
cost 40 to 50 per ton to be made at 
a selling price of about 11 per ton, after 
paying the royalty fee of 2. 

The last phase of Mr. Attwood's industrial 
career to which we propose to allude is his 
own invention for the manufacture of steel. 
He patented this curious discovery about the 
year 1862. Satisfied of its merits and com- 
mercial value, he proposed to his partners to 
take it up and work it on a large scale. They 
again withheld their consent, remarking com- 
placently, " Well, we daresay you are right ; 
but we don't understand your process, and 





CHARLES ATTWOOD. 33 

we have a natural dislike to anything we 
cannot comprehend." Mr. Attwood replied, 
" Having made this singular invention, I mean 
to perfect it, and if you don't care to go along 
Avith me, I shall do it myself." At that time, 
however, he was in very feeble health. His 
medical advisers told him that if he would 
live for a few years longer he must select a 
warmer climate. Mr. Attwood reluctantly 
consented to visit the south, and he spent the 
most of next summer at Torquay, returning 
to Wolsingham much benefited by the change. 
He then arranged with his nephew to go into 
his new steel manufacture thoroughly. Land 
was acquired for the purpose, within a short 
distance of his house at Wolsingham ; but the 
foundations of the new works had hardly been 
laid when Mr. Attwood's nephew was pros- 
trated by paralysis, and in a year more he 
joined the great majority. It was a severe 
blow to Mr. Attwood, who had no family of 
his own, and to whom his nephew was all but 
a son. He relaxed his interest in his new 
steel process, and although the proposed works 
were built, it was on a smaller scale than 
that originally intended. Part of the first 
lot of steel rails made by Mr. Attwood's pro- 
cess was sent to London, where six different 
railway companies exposed them to the 
severest tests by putting them down in the 
lost trying places. These rails are as good 



34 PIONEERS OF THE CLEVELAND IRON TRADE. 

to-day as they were when first put down. 
Two years ago, Mr. Attwood said to the rail- 
way companies " You have already reported 
favourably on my rails. Why not take a lot 
of say 200 tons, and let us have a fuller 
trial ?" In reply to this invitation, the Great 
Northern Railway Company at once sent an 
order for 250 tons, and added, " We will take 
as much more as you like to make. The way 
in which your rails stand is perfectly wonder- 
ful." In about three years time, Mr. Att- 
wood's patent will expire. The merits of his 
invention will then become more fully known, 
and the patentee is sanguine enough to expect 
that firms who have spent a great deal of 
money in laying down Bessemer plant will 
discard the one system in favour of the other. 
It is no secret that Bessemer plates are 
defective in flexibility, which makes them 
liable to break in hot weather by the action 
of the sun's heat. Mr. Attwood thinks he has 
overcome this difficulty. Some of his more 
recent orders refer to the application of steel 
to masts for large steamers. Whatever may 
be the value of his process, it has been a source 
of little or no emolument to Mr. Attwood 
himself, for he has never followed it out so as 
to make it a great commercial success. It 
will probably be left for others to reap what 
he has sown. 

The trial of Queen Caroline in the year 



CHARLES ATTWOOD. OD 

1820 was the first event that drew Mr. Att- 
wood from the retirement of private life. In 
common with all his countrymen, Mr. Att- 
wood's feelings were strongly excited by the 
result of that trial. He felt that the Queen 
was the victim of an infamous prosecution, 
and that she was treated with less than justice, 
in order to satisfy the caprice of her licentious 
and abandoned husband. Knowing something 
of the value of the Italian evidence on which 
the prosecution chiefly relied to establish 
proof of the Queen's adultery, Mr. Attwood 
opened up communication with Mr. Denman, 
her Solicitor- General. In Mr. Brougham, her 
Attorney-General, he had little faith, believing 
that he trimmed to please both George and 
Caroline, and that his advocacy of the Queen's 
cause was only half-hearted. In his business 
relations Mr. Attwood had experienced the 
mendacity of Italian testimony, and he was 
prepared to demonstrate to the Queen's 
counsel the utter rottenness and want of 
veracity which were characteristic of such evi- 
dence; but Mr. Denman hesitated to take 
advantage of his preferred services, and the 
" non mi ricordo" testimony of Taeodor 
Mejocchi and his companions, was thus allowed 
to appear on the record, when it might at the 
outset have been completely discredited. 
The trial meanwhile proceeded, and the whole 
country was roused to a sense of indignation 



36 PIONEERS OF THE CLEVELAND IRON TRADE. 

at the treatment to which the unhappy Queen 
was exposed. When the Bill of " Pains and 
Penalties" was introduced by Lord Liverpool 
"to deprive her Majesty Queen Caroline 
Amelia Elizabeth of the title, prerogatives, 
rights, and privileges of Queen Consort of 
this realm, and to dissolve the marriage be- 
tween his Majesty and the said Caroline 
Amelia Elizabeth," the nation cried "shame!" 
and excitement bordered on revolution. Both 
Whigs and Tories were eager partizans of her 
Majesty ; but, curiously enough, although the 
question of a divorce had been long enough 
before the country, the cardinal point involved 
in the case had hitherto escaped public atten- 
tion. As her Majesty's Attorney-General 
afterwards pointed out, it was provided by 
the Standing Orders of the House of Lords 
" that the husband who applies for a divorce 
shall personally attend the House, so that he 
may be examined before the divorce is granted, 
in order to show that there is no collusion, 
that he stands rectus in curia, and that he him- 
self, having always stood as a kind and faith- 
ful husband, is entitled to a dissolution of 
marriage by reason of the infidelity of his 
wife." George IV. did not come into court 
with clean hands ; and, therefore, he could 
not, except by a subversion of the principles 
that had always guided the House of Lords, 
and a prostitution of its functions, secure the 



CHARLES ATT WOOD. 37 

separation he desired. Carlton House was 
an asylum for harlots. The King's whole ca- 
reer, both antecedent and subsequent to his 
marriage with Caroline was profligate and im- 
moral in the extreme. Yet there seemed to be 
a majority of the Lords ready to support the 
Bill of "Pains and Penalties," and although the 
feeling in the Queen's favour was gathering 
strength out of doors, it was fully expected that 
the divorce would be granted. At this crisis 
Mr. Attwood threw himself into the agitation. 
He had not made up his mind that the Queen 
was all that she should be, but he had abun- 
dant reason to believe that the King was a 
bad man, and that he was treating his wife 
unfairly. Sitting in his office in London one 
day, revolving the case in his own mind, he 
was led to pen a glowing and powerful 
letter to the Times, in which he pointed out 
that the King had no locus standi by reason of 
his own misdeeds, and predicted the terribly 
disastrous consequences that would ensue if 
the House of Lords exercised their preroga- 
tive in defiance of old-established orders, and 
granted a divorce against the universal 
sympathies of the nation. This letter he en- 
trusted to a messenger, who assisted him in 
his laboratory experiments, to take to the 
office of the " Thunderer," enjoining him to 
wait and take back the manuscript if it was 
rejected. The communication was scanned by 



38 PIONEERS OF THE CLEVELAND IRON TRADE. 

the editor, who at once returned the message, 
" Tell Mr. Attwood that it shall appear to- 
morrow." Next day Mr. Attwood's letter not 
only appeared in leading type in a prominent 
part of the paper, but there was also an 
" editorial " homologating all that the letter 
contained. It was the custom in those days 
for the leaders of public opinion, both in Par- 
liament and in the press, to send out spies 
throughout the city to test the tendencies of 
the popular feeling in reference to any subject 
before the country. One of these emissaries 
in the pay of the Earl of Lonsdale (who then 
occupied a high place in the counsels of the 
Conservative party) visited Mr. Attwood on 
the morning that this letter made its appear- 
ance. He declared that his master and his 
friends thoroughly approved of its tone, and 
that it had set the whole city by the ears. 
Letter and leader together swayed public 
opinion to such an extent that when the Bill 
of "Pains and Penalties" came up for discussion 
their Lordships refused to pass it, thus pre- 
venting the succession to the Crown from 
being transferred into another and an im- 
proper line. 

Lfuring the ten years that elapsed between 
1820 and 1830, Mr. Attwood took little part 
in political life. But circumstances occurred 
in the latter year that again brought him to 
the front. The accession of William IV. led 



CHARLES ATTVVOOD. 39 

to a general election, and Lord Campbell, in 
his " Lives of the Chancellors,'' tells us that 
" before the hustings were erected, suddenly 
there arose all over the kingdom, in the place 
of apathy and indifference, a state of almost 
unexampled excitement." This was caused by 
the great revolution in Paris, which exiled the 
elder branch of the Bourbons, and placed 
Louis Philippe, " the Citizen King," upon the 
throne. Englishmen seemed to awaken from 
torpor to the sudden belief that they were 
slaves. No imported plague ever produced 
such rapid effects or spread so widely. 
There was then a great deal of destitution 
among the agricultural peasantry of the 
southern counties, which, taken in conjunction 
with the " new-fangled" doctrines of " liberty, 
equality, and fraternity" brought over from 
France, made them discontented and recalcit- 
rant. They made demonstrations of an 
aggressive character, and clamoured loudly 
for greater consideration and justice. Mr. 
Attwood used to describe this rising as the 
rebellion of " ash sticks and hazel wands ;" 
but the Government of Earl Grey took a much 
more serious view of the matter, and caused 
many of the ringleaders to be apprehended 
and cast into prison. Pending their trial, 
Cobbett announced through his Political 
Register that it was the intention of the Go- 
vernment to put thirty of these quiet, simple, 



40 PIONEERS OP THE CLEVELAND IRON TRADE. 

and honest peasantry to death. This news 
fired Mr. Attwood's blood. He knew what the 
agricultural peasantry were. He felt that it 
would be a flagrant iniquity if the intention 
of the Government was carried into effect, for 
they were not now dealing with hardened and 
dangerous ruffians, but with decent, law- 
abiding, industrious men, who, in his view, 
had only too much reason for the riot in which 
they took part. He determined to make an 
effort to save the lives of the doomed men. 
He was impelled to this course by the most 
tender and loving memories of others of their 
class. One old man, who had been in his 
father's employment as an agricultural 
labourer for fifty-two years, remarked to 
him at the funeral of his sire, " I shall miss 
him, Charles, more, perhaps, than you. I 
have been with him in all the circumstances 
of life. He was aye a good master to me, and 
now that he is dead I don't feel that I have 
anything to live for." It was with such re- 
miniscences as this, that Mr. Attwood was 
accustomed to associate the character of the 
rural peasantry of the south ; and it is little 
wonder, therefore, that he was full of indigna- 
tion when he heard of the example that Go- 
vernment intended to make of the rioters who 
had been placed upon their trial. On Satur- 
day afternoon, while musing over their fate, 
he determined to draw up a petition for their 



CHARLES ATTWOOD. 41 

more lenient treatment. No time was to be 
lost. He composed the petition hastily, but 
earnestly, hurried into Newcastle, and put it 
into the hands of Mackenzie, the printer. It 
was out in the streets in the course of the even- 
ing, and when it was taken up at ten o'clock 
it had received no less than 3,800 signatures. 
Other petitions to the same effect were sent 
up from other parts of the country, and the Go- 
vernment w T as thus so far induced to alter its 
original decision that only one of the rioters 
was condemned to capital punishment. A 
number of others were transported, but were 
allowed a few years later, mainly through the 
influence of Mr. Attwood's brother, to return 
to their native land. 

To give anything like an exhaustive account 
of the political career of Mr . Attwood would 
be to write a complete history of the agitation 
that culminated in the passing of the Reform 
Bill of 1832. Into that agitation he threw 
himself heart and soul. He was in all the 
counsels of the Birmingham and North of 
England Political Unions. He was one of 
the most effective speakers at many of 
the monster meetings held up and down 
the country for the promotion of the ob- 
jects of the new league. In this cause he was 
associated with some of the most eminent 
men of the time. When the Reformers had 
come within sight of the objects for which 



42 PIONEEfiS OF THE CLEVELAND IRON TRADE. 

they fought, their Union was allowed to lapse. 
But the ministry of the Duke of Wellington 
would not take a warning. They introduced 
some unpopular measures, and made them- 
selves otherwise obnoxious. Wroth at the 
conduct of the Tories, Mr. Attwood and his 
friends said, " We must re-organize the Union 
again," and they did so. A great demonstra- 
tion was to be held in Birmingham to initiate 
this second campaign. The Duke of Welling- 
ton rightly feared a serious disturbance and 
ordered the military to be called out. When 
this announcement was made, a military 
friend of the people sympathisingly remarked 
to Attwood, " We've been ordered to sharpen 
our sabres, but by G we won't use them." 
The crisis came at last. The populace of Bir- 
mingham were about to be charged by the 
soldiery, when Mr. Attwood and his brother 
who will be well remembered by veteran 
Reformers were asked to interpose. " If 
anybody could pacify the mob of Birmingham," 
says Mr. Attwood, " it was my brother 
Thomas." That day, at least, he succeeded 
in preventing bloodshed, although in subse- 
quently passing through the streets he was 
subjected to a gross outrage. At a meeting 
afterwards held in Newcastle, presided over 
by Mr. Attwood, one firebrand came forward 
and asked " if the people were tame and das- 
tardly enough to allow themselves to be 



CHARLES ATTWOOD. 43 

governed by a girl of eighteen ?" This sally 
was received with a good deal of favour by 
the meeting, but it called down a rebuke from 
Mr. Attwood, who said, " I shall go any length 
in the way of reforming clear and proven 
abuses, but I shall not go further, and I shall 
seek to discourage everybody else from going 
further." " You may say what you like," 
said the other speaker, who was an Irishman, 

" but I have now got my union, and me 

if I don't baptise it in blood." Mr. Attwood 
replied, " You may baptise your own union in 
blood if you will, but you will not baptise 
mine." Mr. Attwood had pledged himself to 
reorganise the Union, but finding that reform 
was now bordering on revolution, he shrunk 
from the task. " I see," he said, " that there 
is a growing spirit of Republicanism, and I 
am not a Republican except in the sense 
that George "Washington was one." The 
following night he attended a meeting at 
Gateshead, where the fiery Irishman again 
appeared, bearing a number of placards in- 
tended to foment sedition. Here he again 
declared that he could not go further with the 
objects of the Union that he could work 
no longer with the men who had been his 
compatriots so long, if such shibboleths as 
these were to be adopted. He completely 
won the approval of the audience, and his 
Irish friend had to beat an ignominious re- 



44 PIONEERS OF THE CLEVELAND IRON TRADE. 

treat. But from this time forward, Mr. Att- 
wood was less conspicuously mixed up with 
political agitations than he had previously 
been. 

It is a somewhat remarkable fact that Mr. 
Attwood never sat in Parliament. He was 
frequently entreated to become a candidate 
for Parliamentary honours, but only once did 
he allow himself to be put in nomination. 
This was in the election of 1832, when he 
stood for Newcastle in opposition to Mr. John 
Hodgson Hinde, the Conservative candidate. 
It was at the last moment that Mr. Attwood 
was earnestly requested by his party to allow 
himself to be put forward. He only issued 
his address on the Saturday night, and the 
election was to take place on the Tuesday 
following. At the nomination on Monday, 
Mr. Attwood obtained the show of hands in 
his favour, and the result of the poll gave 
1,200 votes for the popular candidate, and 
1,500 for Mr. Hinde. 

Although he has been for so many years 
out of the arena of political strife, Mr. Att- 
wood has never ceased to take a lively interest 
in political men and measures, and he forms 
very pronounced opinions on both. He is a 
close reasoner, and an original thinker, and in 
the prime of manhood, he was a fluent and 
effective speaker. Even now, when he is all 
but confined to his room, and upwards of 



CHARLES ATTWOOD. 45 

eighty years of age, he can talk for hours on 
the questions of the day. It is a treat of no 
common order to hear " the old man eloquent" 
discourse on some favourite theme his eyes 
glistening with unwonted animation as, in 
imagination, he " fights his battles o'er again." 
There is no halting in his speech no want of 
connection in his thoughts no apparent 
failure of the memory. He has a wonderfully 
correct remembrance of names and dates. It 
is not, however, until he commences to criti- 
cise the public men of his day that he really 
approaches his former self. Of Sir Kobert 
Peel we need hardly say he had the poorest 
possible opinion ; and it is a curious fact that 
until the day of Peel's death, he lived in the 
hope of again measuring weapons with him in 
the House of Commons or elsewhere. Neither 
has he much praise for Gladstone, whose 
speeches, he says, are like lawyers' briefs, and 
want the touch of genius and absence of severe 
mental discipline that are characteristic of the 
true orator. Disraeli, on the other hand, 
stands high in his esteem less for his political 
principles than for his rare endowments. 

Little remains to be added. Almost dead 
to the world for many years past, Mr. Attwood 
has lived at his finely situated residence at 
Wolsingham. The last time he took part in 
any public event was, we believe, on the 
occasion of the South Durham election of 



46 PIONEERS OF THE CLEVELAND IRON TRADE. 

1865. Nor does he receive many visitors, for 
most of his old friends have pre- deceased him, 
and he is without many near relatives. Yet 
he -continues withal to be very cheerful, attend- 
ing regularly to business matters, and doing 
the bulk of his own correspondence. With 
the exception of a little deafness, he is in the 
full use of all his faculties. He may still b 
said to live, move, and think in an atmosphere 
of science. He has a very choice collection 
of geological specimens, in which he takes a 
great interest. But his steel works at Wol- 
singham are his chief scientific solace and re- 
creation. He carries them on mainly as a 
labour of love, for, he says, " I have as much 
money as I really want, and I have no desire 
for more." One who has known him long 
and intimately remarked to the writer, " If 
Charles Attwood had cared more about money 
and less about science he would to-day have 
been one of the richest commoners in Eng- 
land." Take him for all in all, Charles Att- 
wood may be described as a great and a good 
man one who has been a benefactor to his 
race, and whose conduct has uniformly been 
governed by pure, philanthropic, and unselfish 
motives. 



II H, W. F, BOLCKOW, M,P, 



NEXT to practical or experimental knowledge, 
financial skill and administrative ability are 
the most essential conditions to success in a 
great commercial undertaking, no matter 
what its nature may be. For want of these 
primary desiderata many promising concerns, 
that had no end of both theoretical and 
practical experience behind them, have come 
to grief. Instances of this fact might easily 
be multiplied. Not a few newspaper ventures, 
to borrow an illustration from our own sphere, 
have gone to the wall because there was not 
in the management commercial skill com- 
mensurate with the literary genius that ani- 
mated their pages, and should have ensured 
ultimate triumph. And, taking a leap from 
the Fourth to the Third Estate, we all know 
that the British Constitution has on more 
than one occasion almost suffered shipwreck 
because a weak and incapable Chancellor was 
at the helm of the Exchequer. It is this 
necessity for a combination of gifts, seldom 



48 PIONEERS OF THE CLEVELAND IRON TRADE. 

found united in the same individual that has 
given rise to the well known aphorism " Two 
heads are better than one ;" and of more 
colossal and prosperous undertakings than 
even Bolckow and Vaughan, it may be pre- 
dicated with certainty that had one en- 
deavoured to carry out what it required both to 
achieve, consummate failure would have been 
the result. Blending together their varied 
talents and attainments, Messrs. Bolckow and 
Vaughan exhibited a rare conjunction of 
aptitude and fitness for the enterprise on 
which they embarked. The one had capital ; 
the other was without, but supplied what was 
equally valuable and indispensible skilled 
labour and experience. The one was an adept 
in the management of figures ; the other had 
a genius for the government of men. The 
one knew little or nothing about the scientific 
and practical details of their enterprise ; the 
other knew more than most men, and had a 
capacity for turning his knowledge to good 
account. Thus it came about that the one 
supplied the motive power and the other 
actuated it. In all their relations there was 
an interdependence which both felt to be 
necessary to their mutual benefit. It is 
no limitation of the credit due to Mr. 
Vaughan, nor yet a reflection on his capacity 
to say that, without Mr. Bolckow's counsel 
and co-operation, he could never have taken 



H. W. F. BOLCKOW, M.P. 49 

the position he did, so that although different 
opinions may prevail as to the exact degree 
of merit and honour attaching to each, (and 
this is really in itself a matter of little im- 
portance), all will agree in allowing Mr. 
Bolckow a prominent position alongside that 
of his partner, as a pioneer of the North of 
England iron tade. 

Henry William Ferdinand Bolckow, son 
of a country gentleman, is a native of Sulten, 
in Mecklenburg, a Grand Duchy of North 
Germany, where he was born in the year 
1806. It is mostly an agricultural country, 
the chief exports being grain, rape seeds, and 
other produce of the soil, so that it offers few 
facilities or inducements for a commercial 
career. He commenced his career in a mer- 
chant's office at Rostock, and after having been 
there for several years, on the invitation of 
his friend, Mr. C. Allhusen, Mr. Bolckow went 
to Newcastle-on-Tyne, in 1827, and ultimately 
joined him in his business of a general com- 
mission merchant in that town. Although 
this would have satisfied many men, as a 
congenial sphere of labour and a promis- 
ing outlet for capital, Mr. Bolckow, after 
some years, felt inclined to change for a 
business occupation of a more steady 
character, and having made the acquain- 
tance of Mr. Vaughan, whom he knew 
to possess a thoroughly practical knowledge 

M 



50 PIONEERS OF THE CLEVELAND IRON TRADE. 

of iron manufacture, he dissolved partner- 
ship with Mr. Allhusen, and, along with Mr. 
Vaughan, decided to establish iron works. 
On the advice of the late Mr. John Harris, who 
was the engineer of the Stockton and Dar- 
lington Railway, they selected Middlesbrough, 
a place then scarcely known, for their 
venture. As we have already indicated, Mr. 
Bolckow was the capitalist, having at his dis- 
posal a fortune of 40,000 to 50,000, while 
his partner had not as many hundreds ; but as 
the one was indispensable to the other, it was 
agreed that they should go shares in every- 
thing. On Mr. Bolckow's part it was a bold 
some might even call it a rash speculation. 
He was in a safe, if somewhat slow and steady 
line of business at Newcastle ; the industrial 
resources of the Cleveland district had not then 
been discovered, much less tested and proved ; 
and of the business on which he was about to 
embark he knew little or nothing. Nor was 
there anything about Cleveland, as it was 
known at that time, offering any special in- 
ducements for its selection as their future 
sphere of operations. It had shipping facili- 
ties, no doubt, and was within easy access of 
the Durham coal fields ; but the same could 
be said of Sunderland, Shields, Newcastle, 
Hartlepool, and some other ports on the east 
coast, where the firm might, with as much 
apparent advantage, have " pitched their 



H. W. F. BOLCKOW, M.P. 51 

tent." Was it a merely fortuitous chain of 
events that led to the selection of Middles- 
brough, or was the choice inspired by a 
dream of the rich mineral treasures that sur- 
rounded that insignificant little town ? It is 
difficult to believe that chance, and chance 
alone, guided their movements ; and yet we 
are confronted with the perplexing fact, that 
whereas they came to Middlesbrough in 1841, 
the main seam of the Cleveland ironstone was 
not discovered until eight years later, nor was 
its adaptibility for blast furnace purposes ac- 
knowledged until the firm had been nine or ten 
years in existence. Had it been otherwise, the 
firm would undoubtedly have turned its know- 
ledge to practical account before they did. 

In our sketch of Mr. Vaughan's career, we 
trace the progress of this eminent firm up 
to the period of the opening of the Eston 
mines in 1850. That event led almost im- 
mediately to a great and rapid development 
of the iron trade of Cleveland. And it is now 
a well known fact, that it brought about an 
enormous extension of the trade and popula- 
tion, as well as the subsequent prosperity of 
Middlesbrough and the surrounding district, 
benefiting alike railway companies, land and 
coal owners, and all classes of the population. 
The creation of this enormous trade and 
industry is certainly due to Bolckow and 
Vaughan, and the importance of it may be 



52 PIONEERS OF THE CLEVELAND IRON TRADE. 

estimated from the fact, that the quantity of 
Pig Iron produced from Cleveland Stone is 
about two millions of tons per annum at present. 
In 1852 Messrs. Bolckow and Vaughan built 
three blast furnaces at Middlesbrough, and in 
the following year, they built six furnaces at 
Eston, only two miles from their mines, to 
which a branch railway was laid. They had, 
as far back as 1845, erected four blast furnaces 
at Witton Park, and ultimately they acquired 
the Cleveland Ironworks, consisting of three 
furnaces, and built by Elwon and Company in 
1854. By this time their operations were on 
quite a gigantic scale. They continued to 
multiply their resources until the year 1865, 
when the works were transferred to a Limited 
Liability Company, with a capital of two and 
a-half millions sterling, in shares of nominally 
100 each. For years past the market value 
of these shares has fluctuated between 40 
and 50 premium, and has several times 
touched the latter figure. The present price 
of the shares of 35 and including Bonus 
Shares of 30 is about 115. Mr. Bolckow 
is chairman of the company, and the general 
manager is Mr. Edward Williams, another 
self-made man like Mr. Vaughan, having, like 
him, commenced life in an ironworks, and 
possessing much of his shrewdness, energy of 
character, and ample experience. For the last 
four or five years this great Company have 



H. W. F. BOLCKOW, M.P. 53 

consumed annually between 700,000 and 
800,000 tons of ironstone, nearly 300,000 tons 
of coke, 150,000 to 160,000 tons of limestone, 
and 300,000 tons of coal. Upwards of 230,000 
tons of pig iron are produced annually, in addi- 
tion to 80,000 to 100,000 tons of finished iron, 
30,000 tons of castings, and a variety of 
general engineering work. The company 
own about a dozen collieries, from which they 
raise about 1,000,000 tons of coal per annum ; 
they farm several thousand acres of land ; 
they own hematite ironstone mines in Spain, 
Africa, and Portugal ; and they keep a fleet of 
steamers conveying the ore between their 
foreign mines and Middlesbrough. They also 
own steel works at Manchester of considerable 
extent. At their Middlesbrough works the 
company manufacture their own gas, and build 
their own engines and wagons ; while as a 
further example of the magnitude of their 
ramifications, it may be stated that they make 
the fire bricks used in the construction of their 
furnaces. Altogether, their works give em- 
ployment to about 10,000 hands. 

These stupendous results were not attained 
without passing through the vicissitudes that 
attend all industrial enterprises to a greater 
or less extent, and Mr. Bolckow, whose busi- 
ness it was to provide the means wherewith 
to carry on the firm, found more than once 
that the tide of adversity was almost too 



54 PIONEERS OF THE CLEVELAND IRON TRADE. 

strong for them. Yet through his firmness 
and determination to carry on their under- 
takings to a successful issue, they were always 
able to weather the storm without being 
swamped, the " uses of adversity" only stimu- 
lating them to greater displays of energy and 
fortitude. The most trying crisis happened in 
1847-48, when trade was unusually depressed. 
Prices were very low and unremunerative, 
and the amount of wages paid for the twelve 
months was only 20,000, or about one-half 
the amount so spent in each ofthepreceeding 
years. The quantity of work turned out in 
that disastrous year was proportionately small, 
being limited to 4,500 tons. The depression 
was, however, of short duration, and the firm 
had, by Herculean exertions, got fairly through 
this season of adversity, when they were en- 
couraged to additional enterprise by the event 
of 1850 the discovery of iron stone, with 
which Mr. Vaughan's name is indissolubly con- 
nected. During their struggling days the firm 
displayed a degree of intrepidity that is seldom 
paralled even in the often romantic annals of 
manufacturing firms. They were dismayed 
by no restrictions or conditions, however 
stringent. Work fell into their hands that 
few other firms were bold enough to under- 
take, from its being so difficult of accomplish- 
ment ; and they seldom failed to carry out to 
the letter the most rigorous specifications. 



H. W. F. BOLCKOW, M.P. 55 

Respecting one large contract into which they 
entered with the Board of Ordnance in the 
year 1855, it was reported that it had been 
rescinded in consequence of the Cleveland 
iron not being of the peculiar quality necessary 
for the purposes of that department. But 
Bolckow and Vaughan were not the men to 
let such a tempting bait come to a rival firm 
if they could avoid it, and they executed the 
contract to the entire satisfaction of the 
Ordnance Board. Indeed, it was said by the 
Mining Journal of that day, that the iron pro- 
duced by this firm from the oolitic ironstone 
was so ductile and workable that they could 
and did execute castings that few firms would 
be willing to undertake, such as water pipes 
3 ft. diameter and 12 ft. 4i in. long, D retorts, 
18i ft. long, cast for the Great Central Gas 
Company, and the rolling of Barlow's rails, 
which, from their peculiar form and varying 
thickness from centre to edge, were con- 
sidered the most difficult to manipulate of 
any then made. Barlow's rails have been 
made at the Middlesbrough works from 17 
ft. to 20 ft. in length without a flaw. Between 
1850 and 1855 the firm supplied large 
quantities of rails for the East Indies under 
very peculiar, stringent, and difficult specifica- 
tions, and so certain were they of the quality 
of their productions that they guaranteed 
their rails for a certain period of time. 



56 



PIONEERS OF THE CLEVELAND IRON TRADE. 



Among the more extensive contracts of their 
kind undertaken at the Middlesbrough works, 
we may mention that for supplying the whole 
of the pipes to the West Middlesex Water 
Company, 9 ft. 6 in. long, by 3 ft. diameter ; a 
like contract for the Southwark and Vauxhall 
Company, 12 ft. 4^ in. long by 3 ft. diameter; 
and a contract for the Grand Junction Com- 
pany's pipes, 12 ft. 4i in. long, by 33 in. 
diameter. 

It should not be forgotten that the ex- 
istence of salt at Middlesbrough was dis- 
covered by Messrs. Bolckow and Vaughan, 
in their attempt to bore for pure water 
during 1863 and 1864. This discovery may 
ultimately prove of nearly as much importance 
to the Cleveland district, as that of the iron 
stone. In consequence of the disposal of 
the property and business of the firm to the 
present company, the further prosecution of 
this discovery was stopped for some time. 
The Directors decided, however, a year or two 
ago, to sink to the salt rock, which was found 
to be about a hundred feet thick ; and, although 
doubtless a very arduous undertaking, the salt 
being at a depth of more than a thousand 
feet below the surface, it is hoped that it 
will lead to a successful result, and thus 
enable this valuable article to be supplied 
to the numerous chemical manufactories on 
the Tyne and elsewhere in the north. 



H. W. F. BOLCKOW, M.P. 57 

More privileged than his partner, Mr. 
Bolckow has been spared to enjoy, in health, 
comfort, and affluence, the ease and honour 
due to his active and useful life. So far as 
the actual management of the firm is con- 
cerned, his labours came to an end when the 
Limited Liability Company was formed. Since 
then, however, so far from giving himself up 
to a life of indolent retirement, he has ex- 
hibited an increased interest in the affairs of 
the district which is so much one of his own 
creation, and sought to supply its more press- 
ing wants. He was appropriately selected as 
the first Mayor of Middlesbrough, on the incor- 
poration of the borough in 1853 ; and two 
years later, on the 7th April, 1855, he was 
presented by the Corporation with a full- 
length portrait (which has since then hung 
in the Council Chamber), in recognition of 
his merits and services. For many years 
afterwards, he occupied a seat at the Council 
Board, and exerted himself to promote the 
welfare of the growing municipality. He was 
elected the first president of the Middles- 
brough Chamber of Commerce, and up to the 
present time he continues a useful member of 
that body. From the first, he has been one 
of the most indefatigable members of the Tees 
Conservancy Board, which has done a great 
deal in the way of improving the navigation 
of that now important river. Formerly, in- 



58 PIONEERS OF THE CLEVELAND IRON TRADE. 

deed, the Tees, from Middlesbrough upwards, 
was a shallow and tortuous stream, that could 
only be navigated by vessels of a light draught 
of water, and then only under circumstances of 
difficulty and danger. In the North Riding 
Infirmary, and other local charitable institu- 
tions, Mr. Bolckow has taken a deep interest, 
having assisted in founding the most of them. 
Middlesbrough is one of the four new 
boroughs on Tees-side created under schedule 
D of the Representation of the People Act, 
1867. Having done much to procure this re- 
cognition of the importance of the town, Mr. 
Bolckow was appropriately selected to become 
its first parliamentary representative. From 
the moment that Middlesbrough's enfranchise- 
ment was secured, it. was allowed, by common 
consent, and with scarcely a single dissentient 
voice, that he should be asked to accept this 
honour, the highest that his fellow-townsmen 
could confer ; and although his instinctive in- 
clination to shrink from public notice, and 
take his place among the workers rather than 
the leaders of public progress, led him at first 
to decline the honour, he was afterwards so 
convinced of his being the free and spon- 
taneous choice of the people, that he declared 
his readiness to go to the poll. But this was 
unnecessary, for there was not a shadow of 
opposition to his candidature, although in each 
of the other three new boroughs Darlington, 



H. W. F. BOLCKOW, M.P. 59 

Hartlepool, and Stockton fierce and pro- 
tracted contests took place. In order to 
qualify himself for a seat in Parliament, Mr. 
Bolckow had to obtain a special Act, removing 
the disabilities under which he laboured as an 
alien. This Act received the Royal assent on 
the 29th May, 1868, and provided that 
" William Henry Ferdinand Bolckow shall be 
naturalised, and shall have, hold, and enjoy all 
rights, privileges, and capacities whatsoever 
that he would, could, or might have had, held, 
or enjoyed if he had been born within the 
United Kingdom and had been a natural-born 
subject of her Majesty the Queen." Of his 
conduct in Parliament we care not now to 
speak, further than to say that he is regular 
in his attendance in St. Stephen's, and exhibits 
in the highest degree that greatest merit of a 
Parliamentary representative an earnest 
desire, and the necessary capacity, to advance 
the interests of his constituents. He has 
always been true to his professions at the 
time of his election, to support all measures 
which in his opinion would be benefical to the 
country at large, and promote civil and 
religious liberty. With Marc Antony, he 
may say " I am no orator ;" he is not even a 
prototype of Single-speech Hamilton, for we 
are not aware that he has yet tried to make 
even one set speech in the House ; but he has 
none the less acquired an influence, especially 



60 PIONEERS OF THE CLEVELAND IRON TRADE. 

in commercial circles, that makes him a valu- 
able unit in the ranks of the Liberal party. 

So far back as 1854, Mr. Bolckow had made 
up his mind to present Middlesbrough with a 
public park and recreation ground. The 
difficulty of obtaining a suitable site, however, 
prevented him from giving effect to his in- 
tention until, in 1866, he acquired the ground 
now forming the Albeit Park, for the sum of 
18,000, and laid it out at a further cost of 
about 10,000, so that the total value of the 
gift was about 30,000. In August, 1868, 
the Park was formally opened by H.R.H. 
Prince Arthur, who was Mr. Bolckow's guest 
for two days. A general holiday was observed 
on the occasion, and the town wore an air of 
jubilation such as it has never known since. 
He received the following letter from the 
Queen : 

Pension Wallis, Lucerne, August 17, 1868. 

SIR, The circumstances attending the reception of 
H.R.H. Prince Arthur at the opening of the park at Mid- 
dlesbrough have been reported to the Queen, and Her 
Majesty has learnt with great satisfaction how strong a 
f eeling of loyalty towards herself and the Royal Family 
was evinced on the occasion. 

Prince Arthur expressed verbally the gratification he 
derived from the loyal and enthusiastic greeting which was 
accorded to him, but the Queen is unwilling to leave un- 
noticed the conspicuous share taken by you in receiving 
and entertaining His Royal Highness, and has commanded 
me to return to you Her Majesty's thanks for your mag- 
nificent hospitality. I have the honour to be, Sir, your 
obedient, humble servant, 

(Signed) T. M. BIDDULPH. 

H. W. F. Bolckow, Esq. 



H. W. F. BOLCKOW, M.P. 61 

In the cause of education, both elementary 
and technical, Mr. Bolckow has worked with 
a willing heart and an anxious mind. His 
experience of the Continent, and especially of 
his native country, which has long had a 
better system of education than any other 
country in Europe, showed him that the 
English artisan was far from being up to the 
mark. Compared with the German workman, 
he stood at a disadvantage, and even the 
ouvriers of Belgium and France had a training 
that put him in the shade. Mr. Bolckow saw 
this to his sorrow, and felt it to his loss. He 
could not make his workmen amenable to 
reason and a just preception of their true in- 
terests so readily as he could have done had 
they been better educated. Ignorance is the 
most fertile source of prejudice and super- 
stition ; and Mr. Bolckow, although uniformly 
living on terms of amity and concord with his 
men, often found that their obstinacy and 
disregard of common sense were obstructions 
both to his and their progress. He aimed at 
removing this. With the generation to which 
he himself belonged h$ could do little good. 
But he could go to the root of evil, and confer 
upon the children that which had been with- 
held from their fathers. Up till the year 1867, 
Middlesbrough was deplorably short of 
adequate school accommodation, and it was 
calculated that not more than a third of the 



62 PIONEERS OF THE CLEVELAND IRON TRADE. 

children available for that purpose were under 
educational discipline. At a cost of some 
7,000, Mr. Bolckow built schools capable of 
providing for 900 children. This provision 
went a long way towards fully meeting the 
requirements of the town. The discipline 
of the school is of such a character that 
children of all classes, grades, and habits are 
admitted. For these munificent gifts to the 
town, the Corporation of Middlesbrough re- 
solved to present Mr. Bolckow with a public 
address, and this ceremony, which took place 
on the 31st October, 1868, was the occasion 
of a crowded gathering in the Town Hall. 
The address set forth that " Under divine 
Providence, successful in your undertakings 
beyond the lot of most, you remembered that 
wealth cannot be more nobly applied than in 
advancing the condition of those around. 
This town a town to a considerable extent of 
your own creation, indeed owes you much : 
the present generation for your last princely 
gift, and the future for the knowledge which 
the schools now in course of erection will 
afford," In his reply, Mr. Bolckow said: "It 
has long been my earnest wish to contribute 
to the physical and intellectual requirements 
of your rapidly-increasing population, and I 
arn thankful that divine Providence has en- 
abled me thus far to accomplish my long 
cherished intentions." 



H. W. F. BOLCKOW, M.P. 63 

We cannot linger over many other interest- 
ing events in Mr. Bolckow's life ; but we must 
not omit to mention that he is chairman of the 
Middlesbrough Exchange Company, Limited, 
and holds a large stake in the concern. On the 
22nd November, 1866, he laid the foundation- 
stone of the Royal Exchange, one of the 
most important marts of commerce in the 
North of England. On that occasion he stated 
that " it had always been his determination 
for Middlesbrough to become the metropolis 
of the Cleveland Iron Trade, and he had no 
doubt that that result would be brought about 
by the erection of this building." 

In the general election of 1874, Mr. 
Bolckow again announced himself a candidate 
for the representation of Middlesbrough 
declaring his acceptance of the Liberal 
programme as represented by Mr. Gladstone, 
with whom he had generally acted. But he 
was not destined on this, as on the former 
occasion, to have a "walk over." He was 
opposed first of all by Mr. John Kane, the 
Secretary of the Amalgamated Ironworkers 
Society, an advanced politician, holding the 
principles of the Land and Labour Repre- 
sentation League ; and afterwards by Mr. 
W. R. I. Hopkins, whose candidature was 
altogether contingent on that of Mr. Kane, 
as will be found stated elsewhere. Mr. 
Hopkins is regarded as the leader of the " fit 



64 PIONEERS OF THE CLEVELAND IRON TRADE. 

though few " body of Conservatives in Mid- 
dlesbrough, and he was asked to champion 
their interests in the general election of 1868. 
Wisely, however, he then refused to involve the 
borough in the expense and excitement of a 
contested election, when the result was a 
foregone conclusion ; and it was only because 
the Liberal party were apparently divided 
that he adopted a different course in 1874. 
The result of the election proved, by the in- 
fallible test of the Ballot, that Mr. Bolckow's 
is a real popularity, and that the people of 
Middlesbrough have a high appreciation of 
his worth and work. The official state of the 
poll showed: Bolckow, 3,719 ; Kane, 1,541 ; 
Hopkins, 996. During the contest Mr. 
Bolckow addressed numerous public meetings, 
and it was generally observed that he dis- 
played an intimate acquaintance with the lead- 
ing questions of the day, and great felicity 
in discussing them. 

Of Mr. Bolckow's personal qualities we 
might speak with less reservation, were we 
not sure that the subject of these remarks 
would rather have anything unsaid that 
savours of flattery and adulation. But after 
all, the most that can be said of any man, 
however good or gifted, is contained in that 
graceful remark used by Lord John Russell 
in speaking of " Old Pam," his counsellor and 
friend, " those who knew him best esteemed 



H. W. P. BOLCKOW, M.P. 65 

him most ;" and this is true in an eminent 
degree of Mr. Bolckow. To those who enjoy 
his friendship he is free, hospitable, and un- 
reserved ; and to all classes and objects alike 
that make just claims upon his time and purse, 
he is generous without the least show of 
ostentation. For many years he has displayed 
much taste as a virtuoso. In his noble house 
at Marton there is quite a unique display of 
old French, Dutch, and Flemish curiosities, in 
addition to many rare books and pictures, 
collected chiefly by himself in London. In 
variety and excellency, his collection of 
pictures is not surpassed by any private 
collection in the country. Not only are 
great names represented on the walls, but for 
the most part the best samples of the best 
artists have been brought together ; several 
of the pictures have been engraved and have 
become very popular. 

The following are a few of the leading 
pictures, most of which possess an historic 
interest and are of great value : " The sub- 
siding of the Nile," "Rebecca and Eleazar"and 
" Rachael," by Goodall ; " Cattle " and " The 
Ferry," by Rosa Bonheur ; " Ancient Tombs 
in the Rocks at Lycia" and " The Bay of 
Naples," by W. Muller ; " Spanish Ladies " 
and "The Fruitseller," by Jno. Phillip; 
"Grandmother" and "Roast Pig," by T. 
Webster; "Homeless" and "The Silken 
Gown," by Thomas Faed; "Both Puzzled," and 

E 



66 PIONEERS OF THE CLEVELAND IRON TRADE. 

"The China Merchant," by Erskine Nicol; 
three Venetian paintings by E. W. Cooke ; 
" Evening of St. Agnes," by Maclise ; " Snow 
Storm in Cumberland" and " Noon day's rest," 
by T. S. Cooper ; " Braemar" (one of Sir E. 
Landseer's largest and best works) ; " High- 
land Shepherd," by Ansdell; "The Ballad," 
by John Faed ; " Harvest " and " The Hill- 
side Farm," by Linnell, senior ; three paint- 
ings by Clarkson Stanfield ; " Driving Home 
the Flock," by David Cox ; " Meeting of the 
Avon and Severn," by Patrick Naysmith ; 
" Walton Bridges," by Turner ; " St. Peter's, 
Rome," by D. Roberts ; " Merry Making in 
the Olden Time," by Frith ; " The Sick 
Child," by Sir D. Wilkie ; " The Stirrup Cup " 
and " The Sign Painter," by Meissonnier ; 
with equally important samples of Poole, 
Troyon, Frere, Bisschop, Egg, Eastlake, 
Calderon, Millais, Gerome, W. Collins, Herr- 
ing, Sant, etc. ; and a very large and won- 
derfully executed enamel, with portrait of 
Clemence Esaure, by Lepec. 

As an indication of the interest taken in 
Cleveland and its foremost pioneer, it is worthy 
of note that biographical sketches of Mr. 
Bolckow, with an admirably executed portrait 
in each case, have appeared in the British 
Workman, the Practical Magazine, Home 
Words, and other publications ; and in a series 
of articles on important collections, the 
Athenatum included the noble gallery at 
Marton Hall. 



Ill -JOHN VAUGHAN. 

CANNING said of South America, when he 
acknowledged its independence, " I called a 
new world into existence." It was a proud 
boast, but one which John Vaughan compar- 
ing great things with small could have made 
with as much show of reason as the famous 
English statesman There are few who do 
not allow his claim to take a foremost place in 
the ranks of our pioneers. Having only a 
limited and imperfect education, he had yet 
an intelligent eye for opportunities, much 
native tact, and an unbounded capacity for 
work. With these qualities, he was just the 
man 

" To burst his birth's invidious bar, 
Breasting the blows of circumstance, 
To grasp the skirts of happy chance, 
And grapple with his evil star." 

And he did so most effectually. Commencing 
life in what might well be called the humblest 
walks of social life, he worked his way up to 
the highest that a merchant or manufac- 
turer can attain, and died a millionaire. 
And yet he did not strike a vein of gold, nor 
did he obtain possession of the philosopher's 



68 PIONEERS OF THE CLEVELAND IRON TRADE. 

stone. His name is not associated with any in- 
ventions or processes such as those that have 
obtained for Neilson, Bessemer, and others, a 
colossal fortune and a niche in the Temple of 
Fame. He sought not to win his spurs in any 
or either of the usual fields of distinction- 
literature, science, or art. He had great 
even commanding talent, and by turning 
it with marvellous aptitude to account, and 
making the most of it, he has left behind 
him a name that will not readily perish. The 
eternal glory of the man is, that he achieved 
for himself and others, by average resources, 
that which men of better opportunities could 
never have established. Let us be just, while 
we are also generous, to his pleasant memory. 
It was by hard work, tact, and foresight not 
by mere luck or chance that he was able to 
build up his colossal fortune. All the more 
credit, therefore, to himself ; all the more hope 
and encouragement to others. 

John Vaughan was born in the cathedral 
city of Worcester, on St. Thomas's Day, 1799. 
His father was an ironworker, who depended 
upon his daily toil for the support of his 
family. The most we know of him is that he 
was a man of considerable skill in his business, 
and of more than ordinary decision of charac- 
ter. His family were brought up in a respec- 
table manner, and had the advantage of a good 
example. John was early taught that 



JOHN VAUGHAN. 69 

" Man's but a sodger, 
And life's but a fecht." 

As a boy he worked in a scrap mill ; as a 
man he occupied more remunerative and 
arduous positions such as that of a roller. 
But at an early age he practically proved that 
" the child is father to the man." His plodding 
disposition and inquiring habit of mind, led him 
while still in his " teens " to take the highest 
position as a workman, and earn better wages 
than his neighbours. He graduated in one of 
the best schools in the kingdom the great 
Dowlais works in South Wales where he had 
every possible facility for making himself 
familiar with all the phases and ramifications 
of the iron trade. Probably there were few 
men who had at that time such an exhaustive 
knowledge of the practice of iron-making. 
Nor was he long of turning his attain- 
ments to good account. As " a prophet hath 
not honour in his own country," he did not 
succeed in obtaining at Dowlais the promotion 
he aspired after, and he quitted that establish- 
ment, about the year 1825, to undertake mana- 
gerial functions at a small ironworks at 
Carlisle. Here he became acquainted with 
and married his first wife. His next appoint- 
ment was that of manager of the Walker 
Ironworks, near Newcastle-on-Tyne, which 
were established about the year 1832, by 
Messrs. Losh, Wilson and Bell. Originally 



70 PIONEERS OF THE CLEVELAND IRON TRADE. 

the Walker Ironworks consisted of only one 
furnace, and it is a somewhat significant fact 
that this furnace was the first specially built 
for the use of Cleveland ironstone, which was 
obtained from mines near Whitby, belonging 
to a Mrs. Clark. John Vaughan, however, 
could not have been in any way directly con- 
cerned with this circumstance; for three 
years previously he had joined Mr. Bolckow 
in starting the Middlesbrough works. From 
this point there is so much unity in the lives 
of the two partners that they are almost in- 
separable. For a number of years they were 
nearly as much part and parcel of each other 
as the Siamese twins. They had one object 
or objects in common ; they lived, not 
together, but next door to each other ; they 
were continually in each other's company, 
consulting, controlling, planning, advising, for 
the same ends. But it is necessary to make 
a distinction somewhere between two men 
who, however identical in their lives, had 
each his own individuality ; and for the sake 
of continuity, we shall here proceed to carry 
our narrative up to the point of Mr. Vaughan's 
lamented decease. 

It was Mr. Vaughan who fixed upon Mid- 
dlesbrough as the site of the new enterprise 
which he and his partner resolved to under- 
take about the close of the year 1839. Being 
the practical man of the firm, this matter was 



JOHN VAUGHAtf. 71 

left entirely in his hands. We are not aware 
of the precise reasons which actuated his 
choice. Did he dream of the treasures which 
these hills contained ? Or did the near prox- 
imity to coal and shipping facilities offer 
inducements ? Or had he formed a hypothesis 
of his own and this seems from the course 
taken by subsequent events to be the more 
likely surmise as to the nodules of ironstone, 
which the disintegrating effects of the weather, 
left exposed on the bold bluff coast between 
Whitby and Saltburn ? Here at any rate the 
firm launched, perchance with "fear and 
trembling," their little venture, which was 
originally constructed on a very modest scale, 
and included only the manufacture of finished 
iron and its conversion into different kinds of 
machinery. The Middlesbrough of that day 
was a village of some 4,600 or 4,800 inhabi- 
tants. It had two sources of trade the 
shipment of coal, and a small pottery ; but no 
ironworks had as yet been built from one end 
of Cleveland to the other. As one of the 
Middlesbrough owners, from whom the new 
firm acquired their site, Joseph Pease, the 
first Quaker member of Parliament, was one 
of the first to become acquainted with Mr. 
Vaughan, and at the request of the latter he 
gave the firm an introduction to several col- 
liery owners, in South Durham, couched in 
the following terms ; 



t2 PIONEERS OF THE CLEVELAND IRON TRADE. 

2nd day, 12th month, 1841. 

The bearer, Mr. John Vaughan, of the firm of Bolckow 
and Vaughan, being about to visit the owners of coal, 
wishes me to recommend him as likely to become an 
extensive consumer. 

(Signed) JOSEPH PEASE. 

As coal was at that time rather a drug in 
the market, Mr. Vaughan would probably get 
a welcome reception from the coal owners, 
despite the curt, cautious, and not over friendly 
note of introduction written by his patron. 
Like all new firms, Messrs. Bolckow and 
Vaughan, in commencing, had many difficul- 
ties to encounter, and these were not of 
merely temporary duration, but lasted over a 
period of at least eight or ten years, during 
which Mr. Vaughan appeared to be proof 
against fatigue and empowered with ubiquity. 
He threw his whole soul into the success and 
aggrandisement of the firm, and the operation 
of his practical experience soon gained it a 
name for the excellent quality of the work 
produced. We learn from a local history, 
that " Messrs. Bolckow and Vaughan made 
the engines in 1843 of the steamer English 
Rose, the first steamboat built in the port of 
Stockton." Mr. J. W. Ord, three years later, 
writes in his history of Cleveland, that " in 
the ironworks belonging to Bolckow and 
Vaughan, not only are all sorts of cast and 
wrought iron executed, but rolling mills are 



JOHN VAUGHAN. 73 

in operation for the production of bar iron 
and rails of every description." 
' On the 14th day of February, 1846, the 
firm commenced the manufacture of pig iron, 
having erected four blast furnaces at Witton 
Park, near Bishop Auckland, for that purpose. 
There were then no blast furnaces nearer than 
Con sett and Tow Law, and as the railway 
facilities of the place had only been imper- 
fectly developed, the firm had often consider- 
able difficulties in obtaining the supplies of 
pig iron and fuel necessary for their works. 
These had by this time attained a considerable 
bulk the quantity of iron used in 1846 being 
20,000 tons, while the consumption of coal 
was 100,000 tons. Mr. I. L, Bell assigns as 
the reason that induced the selection of Witton 
Park as site for the new works, the fact 
that the firm had an offer of a supply of 
ironstone from the coal-fields near Bishop 
Auckland ; but, as had happened to their 
colleagues on the Tyne years before, in these 
expectations they were disappointed, and 
were therefore compelled, like them, to have 
recourse to the use of the Whitby ironstone. 
It may be interesting to state, that when 
Messrs. Bolckow and Vaughan built the 
Witton Park furnaces, there were only other 
ten works of the same class in the North of 
England. The following table shows their 
particulars : 



74 PIONEERS OF THE CLEVELAND IRON TRADE. 

Name of Works. Date of Erection. No. of Furnaces. 

Lemington 1800 2 

Birtley 1827 3 

Eidsdale 1835 2 

Hareshaw 1836 3 

Wylam 1836 1 

Consett 1840 7 

Walker 1843 1 

Stanhope 1845 1 

Crook Hall 1845 7 

Tow Law 1845-6 5 

Total 32 

And now we come to what is in many 
respects the most interesting epoch in the 
career of Mr. Vaughan his connection with 
the discovery of the Cleveland ironstone. 
Many erroneous versions of this matter have 
been published. It is popularly supposed, 
indeed, that the very existence of ironstone 
in the Cleveland hills was unknown until Mr. 
Vaughan stumbled upon it. The most com- 
monly accepted, although a most erroneous 
explanation of the discovery, is that which 
represents Mr. Vaughan as having quite ac- 
cidentally and unintentionally stumbled upon 
a nodule of ironstone while out shooting. 
There are few fallacies that have not a basis 
in fact, and this one is no exception to the 
rule. But in order that Mr. Vaughan's real 
connection with this discovery may be clearly 
defined, it is necessary to take a retrospective 
glance at the ante-iron era in Middlesbrough. 



JOHN VAUGHAN. 75 

A great antiquity has been assigned to the 
actual discovery of the Cleveland ironstone. 
In his illustrations of the geology of Cleve- 
land, published in 1829, Professor Phillips 
says that " ironstone abounds on this coast," 
and he speaks of ironworks that were estab- 
lished by the Monks near Rievaulx Abbey, 
in Bilsdale, and in the valley of Hackness. 
Again, in his "History and Antiquities of 
Cleveland," published in 1846, Mr. J. W. 
Ord says that " Bransdale, Rosedale, and 
probably some of the other dales, contain 
quantities of ironstone, although at present in 
disuse." He adds, " The vast heaps of iron 
slag, and numerous remains of ancient works, 
prove that much iron must formerly have 
been produced there." On the strength of 
these and other collateral criteria, it has been 
argued that the Romans on the one hand, and 
the Monks on the other, were aware of the 
existence of ironstone in the Cleveland hills, 
and worked it at a very early period. From 
this view, however, Mr. John Marley, of Dar- 
lington, a mining engineer of eminence, em- 
phatically dissents, thinking it very question- 
able " whether the Romans or the Monks 
ever smelted any part of the main bed of 
ironstone, which has in recent years proved 
such a source of wealth to the North, because 
in the various remains of slag and refuse left 
by them in Bilsdale, Bransdale, Rosedale, 



76 PIONEERS OF THE CLEVELAND IRON TRADE. 

Furnace House in Fryupdale, Rievaulx Abbey, 
and other places, no traces of the main seam 
of ironstone have been found, although * dog- 
ger band ' (or thin clay bands of ironstone) 
and * nodules ' have been so found along with 
the charcoal and slag." 

Coming down to more recent times, how- 
ever, we are confronted by the most unequivo- 
cal testimony that the knowledge of the 
mineral wealth of Cleveland is much older 
than is commonly supposed. In 1811, the 
late William W. Jackson, of Normanby Hall, 
had samples of ironstone from his property, 
near Upsal, sent to the Lernington Ironworks 
on the Tyne, for the purpose of being tested. 
The result was not encouraging. " Tell your 
master," was the reply, " that it is good for 
nothing." From this time forward, numerous 
attempts were made to win the Cleveland 
ironstone to practical account, but failure 
seems to have attended nearly every effort in 
this direction. Its value was not understood. 
One writer says, in 1828, " It has been as- 
certained to yield 15 per cent, of iron." This 
is not above one-half the average percentage 
obtained at the present time. Again we find 
that on the 18th day of May, 1836, a cargo of 
fifty-five tons of ironstone was sent from Gros- 
mont to Whitby, and from thence shipped to 
the Birtley Ironworks, near Newcastle, by the 
Whitby Stone Company, which was formed 



JOHN VAUGHAN. 77 

for the purpose of developing traffic, including 
freestone, whinstone, and ironstone, for the 
Whitby and Pickering Railway. The experi- 
ment was attended with doubtful results, 
but it did not deter the company from send- 
ing a second quantity to the Tyne Iron Com- 
pany, who, after putting it to the test, returned 
the cheering intimation that " they were 
ashamed to see such refuse on the quay !" 
The next experiment of which we have any 
record was made by the Devon Iron Company, 
now defunct, who had blast furnaces at 
Alloa, near Stirling. It was through Mr. D. 
Neasham,of the late firm of Neasham and Com- 
pany, of the Portrack Lane Ironworks, Stock- 
ton, that a cargo of ironstone obtained near 
Coatham was sent to the Devon Company. 
That gentleman received a letter in reply to 
the effect that there was no iron in the stone ; 
that it was not even worth trying ; and that 
he should give himself no further trouble 
about it. When Mr. J. W. Ord published his 
work on Cleveland in 1846, he declared the 
ironstone to be " at present of little value 
except as ballast, and scarcely of sufficient 
importance to encourage speculation." 

It is unnecessary to follow the progress of 
the various efforts to make the Cleve- 
land ironstone a marketable commodity, for 
they all began and ended with doubt, difficulty, 
and discouragement. We have said enough 



78 PIONEERS OF THE CLEVELAND IRON TRADE. 

to show that as a commercial product the iron- 
stone was discredited and condemned. Until 
Messrs. Bolckow and Vaughan came upon the 
field, its application to the purposes of iron 
manufacture was regarded as all but imprac- 
ticable so much so, indeed, that when the 
latter proposed to enter into leases for its 
developement on the estate of Mr. E. W. 
Jackson, at Eston, that gentleman said he 
would not " assist to ruin Messrs. Bolckow and 
Vaughan and spoil the estate." But the time 
came and the man ; in what manner we shall 
see. 

It was in 1846, as already stated, that 
Messrs. Bolckow and Vaughan established 
their works at Witton Park. The locale was 
admirably chosen in respect of commanding 
easy and near access to the coal and carboni- 
ferous lime-stone measures, as well as to the 
" vein " or " rider " stone from Teesdale and 
Weardale. But their supplies of ironstone 
at the best were irregular and precarious, and 
they were continually on the alert for more 
reliable and trustworthy sources. In pur- 
suance of this aim, they procured some 
thousands of tons off the coast between Redcar 
and Skinningrove in the spring of 1848, and 
having shipped it to Middlesbrough they con- 
veyed it thence per railway to Witton Park. 
This is believed to have been the first prac- 
tical application of the discovery of the main 



JOHN VAUGHAN. 79 

seam in the north of the Cleveland measures. 
On the 7th August, 1848, Messrs. Bolckow 
and Vaughan made arrangements with Mr. A. 
L. Maynard, one of the lessors of the iron- 
stone at Skinningrove, for a supply of iron- 
stone from that district. It is said that be- 
fore Mr. Vaughan had issued instructions as 
to how this ironstone was to be treated, the 
furnace manager emptied the first few 
wagons of stone into the refuse heap, as 
"freestone stuff," although we have heard the 
statement contradicted. In 1849 the Skin- 
ningrove mines came into the hands of 
Messrs. Bolckow and Vaughan, and were 
worked by them until October of the following 
year, when they were transferred to Messrs. 
Losh, Wilson, and Bell, of the Walker Iron- 
works. All the energies of Mr. Vaughan 
were strained at the time to obtain a cheap, 
ample, and convenient supply of ironstone. 
Although the furnace manager reported un- 
favourably on the first cargo sent from 
Skinningrove, Mr. Vaughan soon saw for 
himself that it was greatly superior in yield 
to the Whitby ironstone, which the firm had 
previously used to a large extent. Under 
his auspices, therefore, trial drifts were made 
in the Upleatham Hills, at Eston, and at 
Normanby, with a view to the further de- 
velopment of the mineral ; but the " top 
seam," which is the most irregular, both in 



80 PIONEERS OF THE CLEVELAND IRON TRADE. 

thickness and in quality, was the only one 
then discovered. Although thus disappointed, 
Mr. Vaughan was neither disheartened nor 
dismayed. He continued his examination of 
the Cleveland Hills until, on the 8th day of 
June, 1850, he stumbled upon the main seam 
of ironstone. He made this discovery in 
company with Mr. John Marley, mining 
engineer of Darlington, whose account of the 
incident it may be well to quote here. Mr. 
Marley says : " Mr. Vaughan and myself, 
having gone to examine the hills for the most 
suitable place for boring, we decided to ascend 
to the east, adjoining Sir J. H. Lowther's 
grounds, and so walk along to Lady Hewley's 
grounds on the west. In ascending the hill 
in Mr. C. Dry den's grounds, we picked up 
two or three small pieces of ironstone. We, 
therefore, continued our ascent until we came 
to a quarry hole, from whence this ironstone 
had been taken for roads, and next, on enter- 
ing Sir J. H. Lowther's grounds to the west, 
a solid rock of ironstone was lying bare, up- 
wards of sixteen feet thick. I need scarcely 
say that, having once found this bed, we had 
no difficulty in following the outcrop in going 
westward, without any boring, as the rabbit 
and fox holes therein were plentiful as we 
went. We also examined the place in 
Lackenby Banks, squared down in 1811 or 
1812 by the late Mr. Thomas Jackson, of 



JOHN VAUGHAN. 81 

Lackenby. The period from the 8th June, 
1850, till the middle of August following was 
occupied in completing arrangements for 
opening out this ironstone, and the first trial 
quarry was begun on the 13th of August, 
1850. A temporary tramway was soon laid 
down, and by the 2nd of September, 1850, the 
first lot of seven tons was brought down in 
small tubs to the highway side, from thence 
carted to Cargo Fleet, and thence again by 
rail to Witton Park Ironworks, being about 
three weeks after actually seeing the iron- 
stone, and by this method 4,041 tons were 
sent away by the 28th December following." 
Such is Mr. Marley's plain and simple 
narrative of a discovery that has led to such 
splendid results. The extent and value of the 
Cleveland ironstone having been approxi- 
mately ascertained, Mr. Vaughan made haste 
to conclude leases for the working of large 
royalties at Eston, and as the lessors regarded 
it as only a doubtful thing at the best, the 
firm were enabled to do this on the most 
advantageous terms. It is said that Mr. 
Vaughan, in making his lease, kept all 
knowledge of his discovery from the owners 
of the land, or, at any rate, hinted at the 
ironstone as being problematical in its extent 
and suitability. At all events, their royalty 
payment was not more than fourpence per 
ton, whereas of late years it has averaged 



82 PIONEERS OP THE CLEVELAND IRON TRADE. 

sixpence, and is, in some cases, as much as 
ninepence per ton of 20 cwt. 

Of the subsequent operations of Messrs. 
Bolckow and Vaughan, as a firm, we have left 
ourselves so little room to speak here that 
we must refer them to our sketch of Mr. 
Bolckow, and this may be done with all the 
more appropriateness, seeing that in later years 
the latter exercised more control over the 
concern than his partner's failing health could 
allow him to do. We cannot, however, do 
justice to Mr. Vaughan without speaking of 
his excellent personal qualities, of his amia- 
bility in domestic life, of his generosity, his 
equable and benevolent disposition, and his 
keen and active sympathy with the interests 
and instincts of his workmen. No man was 
more familiar than he with 

" The short but simple annals of the poor," 
and no one was more ready to extend a 
helping hand to a case of real distress, or to 
recognise and reward merit in those under 
him. One who knew him well has said that 
" a foul word, or an angry hasty word, never 
escaped his lips ; not that he did not become 
excited and vexed when aught went wrong in 
the works never being satisfied until he 
himself had put it right, matterless the per- 
sonal labour or time employed and all the 
men not only felt his earnestness and power, 
but tacitly acknowledged their mistakes and 



JOHN VAUGHAN. 83 

made amends for the future. Such a master 
created good and faithful servants. Among 
the lower class, he was singularly looked up 
to, yet not servily. Without the slightest 
presumption on his wealth, or the least 
affectation of superiority, he was sincerely 
respected by all grades, and acquitted him- 
self well in each." When he died, Mr. 
Vaughan bequeathed to his only son, Mr. 
Thomas Vaughan, personal property represent- 
ing about half a million sterling, to his widow 
he left 3,000 a-year for life, and to her 
off- spring by her two former marriages no 
less an amount than 130,000 ; besides 
the estate and mansion of Gunnergate, with 
its extensive pleasure grounds and gardens, 
Cleveland Lodge, and other property. He died 
in his sixty-ninth year, on Wednesday, Sep- 
tember 16, 1868. Having fought a good fight, 
he finished his course in the presence of his 
son, Mr. Thomas Vaughan, and other sorrow- 
ing members of his family. 

" God's finger touched him, and he slept !" 
Tranquilly and happily he passed away, after 
a long life bordering on the " allotted span," 
crowded with toil and vicissitude, and crowned 
with a measure of success which falls to the 
lot of few men. 



IV ISAAC WILSON 



MB. ISAAC WILSON is justly entitled to take a 
front place in the ranks of the pioneers of 
the Cleveland iron trade. When he came to 
Middlesbrough in 1841, it was not the " waste 
and howling wilderness " that Joseph Pease 
and those who were concerned with him in 
the purchase of the Middlesbrough Estate 
had found it twenty years before. But it was 
in all respects an uninviting, crude, and 
needy town uninviting, because it was situ- 
ated almost in the centre of a huge marsh, 
and was considered anything but healthy ; 
crude, because it was in a half- formed, angu- 
lar, and transition state ; and needy, because, 
like all newly created communities, its muni- 
cipal, religious, and educational requirements 
yet remained to be provided for to a great 
extent. Mr. Wilson has assisted, more than 
most of those whose fortunes have been 
identified with the place, to tone down all 
rhomboids, odd points, and angles, to foster 
its industrial capacities, and to lay the foun- 



ISAAC WILSON. 85 

dations of its present and prospective success. 
Born at Kendal, in February, 1822, Mr. 
Wilson is the scion of an old and highly re- 
spectable Westmoreland family. He can trace 
his descent in a direct line back to the time 
of Anthony Wilson, of Little Langdale, in 
the parish of Grasmere, who died in 1639. 
His father Isaac Wilson son of John and 
Sarah Wilson, of Kendal was born in 1784, 
and died at Kendal in 1844. His mother was 
the daughter of John Jowitt, of Leeds, whose 
family has been well known and highly re- 
spected in that town for many generations. 
Mr. Wilson's father followed the trade of a 
woollen manufacturer in the picturesque 
little town of Kendal, but as the Lake district 
is more famed for its scenic beauties and in- 
vigorating breezes than for its industrial 
prestige, we are not surprised to find that the 
manufacturing operations carried on at that 
time were on a somewhat restricted scale. 
Accordingly, it behoved the subject of this 
sketch to look out, when he had attained ma- 
ture years, for a larger and more promising 
field of operations. 

Circumstances brought Mr. Wilson into 
intimate contact with the Messrs. Pease, of 
Darlington to whom he was related about 
the year 1841. The late Mr. Joseph Pease, 
with that eagerness to help forward deserving 
young men that always characterised him, 



86 PIONEERS OF THE CLEVELAND IRON TRADE. 

took an interest in his young relative, and 
proposed to him to settle down at Middles- 
brough. Coming events were then " casting 
their shadows before" so clearly, that Mr. 
Pease looked forward to a great future for 
Middlesbrough. He pointed out to Mr. Wilson 
that there was an excellent opening for the 
erection of works at that town, as it was so 
near the Durham coal-field and the principal 
harbours on the north-east coast, in addition 
to possessing railway facilities that were con- 
sidered at that time of day exceptionally good. 
Mr. Wilson came to Middlesbrough on these 
representations, and, through Mr. Pease, he 
became intimate with Mr. Richard Otley, who 
will be remembered as the first secretary of 
the Stockton and Darlington Railway an 
office which he held for many years. It so 
happened that Mr. Otley had then engaged in 
the business of an earthenware manufacturer, 
along with the late Mr. Davison. Mr. Wil- 
son was asked to join the venture. He gave 
his ready consent, and for several years his 
attention was almost exclusively bestowed 
on this business. It is worthy of note, that 
the Pottery was then the only industrial es- 
tablishment in the town, except the works of 
Bolckow and Vaughan, and another small 
engineering works. To the west of the pot- 
tery, which is situated between the Ferry 
Landing and the Docks, within two hundred 



ISAAC WILSON. 87 

yards of the river, there was nothing but a 
few coal-heavers' dwellings, and on every 
other side the country was either marshy or 
agricultural land. Even at this comparatively 
recent date, the pilgrim fathers of Middles- 
brough were accustomed to shoot snipe and 
other aquatic fowl, within a hundred yards of 
the site of the Pottery, while the district 
known as the Marshes, where there is now 
quite a congeries of works of different kinds, 
and where smoke and flame are belched forth 
from a thousand chimneys, was so "truly 
rural," that the early settlers used it for re- 
creative purposes. It is not necessary to be 
an old man to remember the time when the 
whole stretch of ground between Gosford 
Street and Newport exhibited no trace of in- 
dustrial life. Pviow, it is hardly possible to 
find anything like the same amount of activity, 
within a similarly circumscribed area, even 
in the largest centres of British industry. 
To adapt the marsh land on the west side of 
the borough for the construction of works, it 
was covered with slag obtained from the blast 
furnaces, that had meanwhile been started in 
the district, thus giving a solid and sure foun- 
dation, and converting this waste product into 
a highly useful commodity. 

But we are anticipating somewhat the 
proper sequence of our narrative. Mr. Wilson 
had not long been connected with the Pottery, 



88 PIONEERS OF THE CLEVELAND IRON TRADE. 

when he and his partners erected ironworks 
of limited extent on a piece of ground 
immediately adjoining their earthenware 
works. The development of this venture 
was never followed out, and in 1844, Mr. 
Wilson, who had meanwhile formed an in- 
timacy with Mr. Edgar Gilkes, joined with 
him in the partnership which resulted in the 
establishment of the Tees Engine Works. 
Under the style of Gilkes, Wilson, and Com- 
pany these works were carried on until 1865, 
when they were merged in the concern that 
has since borne the name of Hopkins, Gilkes 
and Company. Mr. Wilson has been chairman 
since the commencement. The operations 
of the company have all along embraced the 
manufacture of crude iron, and the production 
of plates, rails, bar and angle iron, and railway 
chairs of every specification. But besides 
being one of the largest, it has also been one 
of the most prosperous concerns in Cleveland 
for a number of years. 

In the year 1853, blast furnaces were built 
at Cargo Fleet, below Middlesbrough, by the 
firm of Gilkes, Wilson, Leatham and Company. 
Of this large concern the largest of its kind 
in the Middlesbrough district, at that time 
with the exception of Bolckow, Vaughan, 
and Company. In this concern (which was 
the second set of furnaces erected in the 
district), Mr. Wilson was a partner. It was 



ISAAC WILSON. 89 

his first introduction to the manufacture of 
crude iron. In 1858, Mr. Leatham, who was 
a brother of the present member for Hud- 
dersfield, and a son-in-law of Mr. Joseph 
Pease, of Darlington, was removed by death, 
and his place in the firm was supplied by 
Mr. J. B. Pease (since deceased), the son-in- 
law of Mr. Wilson. The style of the firm was 
now altered to that of Grilkes, Wilson, Pease, 
and Company, and the works are still carried 
on under that designation. 

Immediately adjacent to the Tees-side 
ironworks, there are the Linthorpe works, 
with six large blast furnaces, carried on by 
the firm of Lloyd and Company. In this 
undertaking Mr. Wilson is largely interested, 
and was one of its original promoters. Mr. 
Lloyd, whose name gives its style to the firm, 
came originally to the Cleveland district to 
fill a responsible position in the National 
Provincial Bank at Stockton, and through 
Mr. Thomas Snowdon, whose daughter he 
espoused, he became connected with the iron 
trade. 

The bent of Mr. Wilson's mind is so con- 
stituted that he cannot stand listlessly by 
while public business no matter how thank- 
less, difficult, and unremunerative remains 
to be attended to. From first to last, we 
should say, that a full third of bis time has 
been given up to public business, from which 



90 PIONEERS OF THE CLEVELAND IRON TRADE. 

he could not hope to obtain either honour or 
reward. He was one of the first commission- 
ers that had the honour of being elected 
Mayor of the borough of Middlesbrough, and 
since the town was incorporated in 1853, he 
has sat continuously at the Council Board. 
His counsel is always listened to with deference 
and respect, and he never shirked his due 
share of the more onerous and unpleasant 
minutiae of committee work. 

It is to the interests of the Tees navigation 
that Mr. Wilson has contributed his most 
zealous and valuable services. What Sir 
Joseph Cowen has been to the Tyne, Mr. 
Wilson has been to the Tees. He was one of 
the original members of the Conservancy 
Commission when it was constituted by the 
Act of 1852, and has for many years held the 
office of chairman. Through evil and through 
good report he has struggled to promote the 
ends for which the commission was formed. It 
was a difficult, and not unfrequently a dismal, 
task, for the obstacles to be surmounted were 
almost appalling, and the resources at the 
disposal of the Commissioners were very 
limited. 

The position of affairs in the early history 
of the commission required the utmost tact 
and discrimination, and it is worthy of note, 
that Mr. Wilson was able to maintain the 
good opinion of all parties at a time when 



ISAAC WILSON. 91 

party feeling occasionally ran very high. 
But he showed in this, as in all other matters 
to which he put his hands, that he possessed 
those qualifications in an eminent degree, and 
his judicious conduct at the helm enabled the 
somewhat unmixible elements of which the 
Commission was composed to operate for the 
timely and judicious development of the trade 
of the district. Still continuing to preside 
over the Conservancy of the river, Mr. Wilson 
has lived to reap some satisfaction for his 
pains, for the Tees is now in a fair way 
of realising the end of all his hopes and 
efforts. 

We have already indicated the interest that 
Mr. Joseph Pease manifested in his young 
Kendal protege. That interest was never 
allowed to flag, until Mr. Pease had the satis- 
faction of seeing Mr. Wilson serving on the 
Board of Directors of the Stockton and Dar- 
lington Railway. His administrative capacity 
was so conspicuously exhibited, while he 
occupied this position, that when the sectional 
management was merged in that of the 
Central Board, Mr. Wilson was unanimously 
appointed a director of the North-Eastern 
Railway. His long experience, and close 
attention to financial and engineering details, 
have made him quite an authority on the 
difficult and comprehensive art of railway 



92 PIONEERS OF THE CLEVELAND IRON TRADE. 

management, and probably there are none of 
his co-directors whose opinions carry greater 
weight. 

Mr. Wilson has always taken an active part 
in political affairs always on the Liberal 
side. His popularity in his adopted town 
was so well established that when Middles- 
brough became a Parliamentary borough in 
1867, he was at once mentioned as one who 
had great claims to be elected the first 
member. A large and influential deputation, 
composed from nearly every class in the 
constituency, waited upon him for this pur- 
pose, and presented a requisition signed by 
considerably over 2,000 electors. But he 
hesitated, probably as much as Donna Inez did 
in an even mure delicate situation ; and when 
it was announced that Mr. Bolckow had agreed 
to go to the poll, Mr. Wilson at once chival- 
rously yielded up the preference to what he 
no doubt regarded as the now sitting member's 
superior claims. The old Greek stoic said, 
" If I were not Diogens, I would be Alex- 
ander." If the electors of Middlesbrough 
had not had the choice of Mr. Bolckow, they 
would undoubtedly have accepted Mr. Wilson 
as their representative. At the General 
Election of 1874, he acted as chairman of Mr. 
Bolckow's committee, and won golden opinions 
for the firmness, dignity, and moderation with 



ISAAC WILSON. 93 

which he conducted a contest in which strong 
feeling was roused and great principles were 
at stake. 

In the year 1847, Mr. Wilson married Anna 
Dorothy, daughter of Robert Benson, Esq., 
of Parkside, Kendal, by whom he has had 
one son and five daughters. 



V. -JOSEPH DODDS, M.P. 



THOSE who know of Mr. Joseph Dodds in his 
professional capacity alone may be inclined to 
wonder at finding his name at the head of 
this article. But it is not always the men 
who are put most prominently forward, that 
are chiefly entitled to prominence. The most 
indefatigable workers often keep their identity 
in the background. In commerce, as in 
politics, and other relations of life, there are 
often wheels within wheels an imperium in 
imperio. Thus it is in the case of Mr. Joseph 
Dodds. Professionally a solicitor, in the 
enjoyment of a practice probably second in 
value and importance to none in the North 
of England, he is, at the same time, a large 
ironmaster, and a recognised representative of 
the industrial interests in the House of 
Commons. On these grounds he is fairly 
entitled to take his place among the Pioneers 
of the Cleveland Iron Trade. But when we 
have said this, we have not said all. The 
prosperity of a community depends not so 



JOSEPH DODDS, M.P. 95 

much upon the initiation of great projects as 
upon their successful consummation ; and it is 
almost a trite reflection that a condition of 
mere animalism, in which all the grosser 
attributes of humanity are rampant, is not the 
state most conducive to permanent and 
properly-directed success ; nor is it possible 
for a new community, like that of Middles- 
brough or Stockton, to overtake all their re- 
quirements in anything like the ratio in which 
they arise unless governed by men of zeal, 
faith, enterprise, and foresight. Such a man 
is Joseph Dodds. He found Cleveland that 
is the wide and important district embraced in 
that name in an infantile condition. It re- 
quired care, nutriment, and constant attention. 
Although undoubtedly an infant Hercules, it 
might have broken down or run to seed under 
other treatment. As it is, it has had all the 
advantages that both natural and artificial 
gifts could bestow. No sooner did an urgent 
want arise than it was promptly met, and 
generally to the fullest extent. Joseph Dodds 
was in all the counsels of the men who had 
this onerous work on hand. Advising, plann- 
ing, and suggesting, he is the head and front 
of many improvements and enterprises that 
where fathered on others. Probably, there is 
no great scheme affecting the material pro- 
gress of the district, that has not had the 
benefit of his assistance and co-operation in 



96 PIONEERS OF THE CLEVELAND IRON TRADE. 

one form or another. While fighting, like 
Hal o' the Wynd " for his ain hand," he has 
also striven earnestly, laboriously, and consci- 
entiously to promote the general weal of those 
by whom he was surrounded. His untiring 
exertions have met their reward in the attain- 
ment of a position of affluence, influence, 
honour and respect, 

Born on the 10th October, 1819, Mr. Joseph 
Dodds is now in the fifty-fifth year of his 
age. His father, a farmer near Winston, a 
village on the banks of the Tees not far from 
Barnard Castle, is still living, and a hale 
active man, although over 90 years of age. 
After receiving his early training at a 
dame's school in his native village, he was 
sent to the parish school of Winston, and from 
thence he was transferred to the Gainford 
Academy, then under the charge of the late 
Rev. W. Bowman, M.A. Under this able pre- 
ceptor he made rapid and distinguished pro- 
gress, carrying off many academic honours, 
and excelling particularly in the classics. 
Leaving Gainford Academy on attaining his 
seventeenth year, he commenced his business 
career in the office of the late Mr. Thomas 
Bowes, of Darlington, from whence he re- 
moved to Barnard Castle, to take a situation 
under the late Mr. Weldon of that town. 
About 1841, he removed to Stockton, at the 
request of his relative, the late Mr. Matthew 



JOSEPH DODDS, M.P. 97 

Bowser, land agent, Thornaby Grange, who 
had thrown out inducements as to his kins- 
man's ultimate succession to the business. 
Simultaneously with his employment by Mr. 
Bowser, young Dodds assisted in the office of 
Messrs. Bayley and Newby, solicitors, Stock- 
ton ; and in 1846, he was articled to Mr. 
Bayley, on the understanding that he would 
ultimately be admitted into partnership with 
that gentleman. But the death of Mr. Bayley 
put a period to this prospect ; and Mr. Dodds, 
after qualifying for the position of an attor- 
ney and solicitor, commenced practice on his 
own account, having acquired the connection 
that belonged to his late master. 

It will thus be seen that it was not until 
1851 that Mr. Dodds had actually established 
himself in his profession ; and his connection 
being limited, his prospects did not point in 
the direction of rapid or great prosperity. 
But his was a character, formed by nature, to 
overcome opposition and impress its sign 
manual on the community in which he lived. 
The first official position he held in his 
adopted town was that of a committeeman, 
and afterwards honorary secretary of the 
Stockton Mechanics' Institution, of which, for 
many years past he has been, and still is, 
vice-president. In 1852 he was elected a 
member of the Town Council. He was then 
only 33 years of age a time of life when few 



98 PIONEERS OF THE CLEVELAND IRON TRADE. 

men can command the weight and influence 
necessary to secure their election to civic 
honours. In 1857 he was elected Mayor of 
the borough, in preference to the late Mr. 
William Turnbull, shipbuilder, who was also 
put in nomination. On the expiry of his year 
of office as Mayor, he was again elected a 
member of the Council, and he has since con- 
tinued, with only one short interval, to retain 
his seat at the Council board, being still an 
alderman of the borough. 

On the motion of his friend and client, Mr. 
H. W. F. Bolckow, M.R, Mr. Dodds was 
unanimously elected chief clerk to the Tees 
Conservancy Commissioners, in succession to 
the late Mr. J. Radcliffe Wilson, town 
clerk of Stockton. This was in 1858. The 
first business undertaken by Mr. Dodds, as 
chief clerk to the Tees Conservancy Commis- 
sioners, was to solicit through Parliament the 
Tees Conservancy Act, 1858. This Act is, 
in one respect, unique. It confers upon the 
Commissioners powers which, as yet have 
not been conferred upon any other pub- 
lic body exercising similar functions, to re- 
claim, with the sanction of the Board of Trade, 
portions of the foreshore of the Tees, the pro- 
ceeds arising from the sale of which are 
divided between the Queen as owner of the 
foreshore, the frontager, and the Tees Con- 
servancy Commissioners in the proportion of 



JOSEPH DODDS, M.P. 99 

one -fourth to each of the former, and two- 
fourths to the Commissioners. 

Under these powers, originally, we believe, 
suggested by William Fallows, Esq., of Mid- 
dlesbrough, and obtained mainly through his 
indefatigable exertions, upwards of 1,000 acres 
of valuable land have already been reclaimed 
from the bed of the river, the sale of which 
has, or will realise to the Commissioners, 
upwards of 75,000. Further large tracts 
of land are now, or shortly will be, in 
course of reclamation, with the combined 
result of improving the navigation, and 
materially augmenting the resources of the 
Commissioners. The services of Mr. Dodds 
in obtaining from Parliament these novel and 
valuable powers, received the special recogni- 
tion of the Commissioners. The Tees Con- 
servancy Commission was not then in the 
prosperous position it has since attained. 
Originally formed in 1852, this body found 
themselves hampered, on their foundation, 
with a debt of something like 80,000, that 
had been incurred by their predecessors, the 
old Tees Navigation Company. This was 
such a dead weight about their necks, that 
they were unable to undertake any important 
schemes for the improvement of the river 
until three years afterwards. Even then the 
revenue of the Commission was little more 
than 4,000 per annum, so that it seemed in- 



100 PIONEERS OF THE CLEVELAND IRON TRADE. 

sufficient to justify the outlay of a large ex- 
penditure. But without paralysing their pro- 
gress by further pecuniary embarrassments, 
they instituted a graduated system of im- 
provements, which has now made the Tees one 
of the most important highways in the North, 
second only to the Tyne. The annual revenue 
of the Commissioners is now upwards of 
23,000, being an increase within twenty 
years of about 600 per cent. The value of 
the trade of the Tees ports has increased in 
a corresponding, if not greater ratio. In 
1864, the value of the goods exported from 
Stockton was only 5,136 ; last year it was 
14,989. The exports of Middlesbrough in 
1864 were only estimated at 390,650 ; last 
year they reached the enormous sum of 
2,647,883 ! Within the same period the 
trade of the Hartlepools has also considerably 
increased, although to a comparatively incon- 
siderable extent the value of the exports for 
1864 being 2,161,600 as compared with 
2,271,492. The only port on the north- 
east coast that can at all compare with Mid- 
dlesbrough as regards the development of 
the export trade, is Newcastle ; the value of 
the exports of the latter town having in- 
creased from 978,472 in 1864 to 3,055,357 
in 1872 ! It is to the improvement of the 
Tyne navigation in the one case, and to that 
of the Tees in the other, that the enormous 



JOSEPH DODDS, M.P. 101 

increase of the shipping trade of both these 
ports is chiefly due. Having so fur vindicated 
the importance of this phase of Mr. Dodds' 
career, we may be permitted to dwell upon it 
at still greater length. 

When the Tees Conservancy Act of 1852 
was obtained, no means had been taken to 
improve the river below Cargo Fleet. The 
sand banks were continually altering their 
position, and the stream was always divided 
into two and sometimes into three channels. 
The depth in the best water was often less 
than two feet, and it was generally very crooked 
and irregular. Great difficulty was ex- 
perienced by even the smallest craft in navi- 
gating the channel, and the casualties to 
shipping were frequent. Under the old Tees 
Navigation Act, jetties had been constructed 
for the purpose of driving the channel over to 
the north ; but these works were only con- 
structed bit by bit, in order to get rid of tem- 
porary difficulties as they arose, and their 
effect was to damage the south channel with- 
out improving the north. The tonnage of the 
port of Middlesbrough was gradually getting 
worse instead of better. The diversion of the 
Port Clarence traffic to West Hartlepool on 
the opening of the docks at the latter place 
gave it a severe blow. Another cause of its 
decline was the limitation of the exports of 
coal, which, as blast furnaces were erected in 



102 PIONEERS OF THE CLEVELAND IRON TRADE. 

the district, was used in the neighbourhood of 
Middlesbrough for smelting purposes. For 
the year ending October, 1855, the tonnage 
of the port did not exceed 290,658 tons. 
This was lower than the annual tonnage of 
the port for the previous twenty years. 

It was under these depressing circumstances 
that the Tees Conservancy Commissioners 
commenced work. They first directed them- 
selves to shutting up the north and middle 
channels, thus guiding the whole of the tidal 
water through the south channel. Through 
the Cargo Fleet shoal, which had been a great 
obstruction to the navigation of the river, a 
channel was cut 200 feet in breadth, and with 
a depth of seven feet at low water. About 
fifteen miles of training walls were erected. 
Dredging operations were commenced and 
carried on uninterruptedly. Matters were so 
far mended that the only important remain- 
ing barrier to the safe and easy navigation of 
the river was the state of the bar. But here- 
in lay a terrible source of danger. For two 
miles westward of the bar, the sea broke 
during storms on either side of the channel, 
and from the overlapping of the gare, stran- 
gers were unable to detect any smooth water 
through which to navigate their vessels in 
safety. To obviate this peril, the Commis- 
sioners commenced the erection of a break- 
water, which is still in progress, and in the 



JOSEPH DODDS, M.P. 103 

construction of which over 3,000,000 tons of 
slag will be used ! The effect of this and 
other improvements, will be to shut up the 
lateral channels in which the flowing and 
ebbing tides waste their strength, to enclose 
the shifting sand banks within permanent 
walls, to confine the scouring power to the 
proper channel, to shelter effectually the 
lower reaches of the river, and to enlarge the 
area of the anchoring pools. The depth of 
water at the bar, which in 1858 was only four 
feet and now seldom exceeds nine, will be at 
least 14 feet at low water, and the entrance to 
the channel will be marked by beacons be- 
tween which vessels may be run with confi- 
dence and safety. 

Up to the present time, the Commissioners 
have expended something like 250,000 in 
their improvements ; but they have still 
gigantic schemes in hand or in contemplation, 
to carry out which they required borrowing 
powers for another 100,000. Of this sum 
30,000 will be appropriated to the construc- 
tion of a graving dock, hitherto a great want 
on the Tees. The rest will go to the comple- 
tion of the breakwater, to blasting and remov- 
ing the Eighth Buoy Scarp, which has narrowed 
the navigable channel to the extent of 100 to 
200 feet, and to the completion of dredging 
operations necessary to secure a depth of 14 
feet below Stockton Stone Bridge. When all 



104 PIONEERS OF THE CLEVELAND IRON TRADE. 

these projects shall have passed from the 
region of speculation into that of fulfilment 
and fact, the Tees will have become second to 
no other river in the kingdom for all the 
purposes and requirements of navigation ; and 
it may be expected to take the pre-eminent 
position, as a highway of commerce, to which 
its merits and achievements entitle it. 

Mr. Dodds has been one of the principal 
advisers and promoters, of all these and other 
improvements of a collateral kind, that have 
taken place in the navigation of the Tees, 
since he became Chief Clerk to the Commis- 
sion. His interest in the work was not con- 
fined to his official duties pure and simple. 
Outside their limits, he took an active part in 
" making crooked paths straight and rough 
places plain." No one was more prominently 
identified with the rival schemes brought for- 
ward between 1862 and 1864 for bridging the 
Tees, and thus connecting the two sides of 
the river. It will be remembered that Mr. 
Ralph Ward Jackson, the founder of West 
Hartlepool, proposed to carry the Durham 
and Cleveland Union Railway across the 
river immediately below Cargo Fleet, by 
means of a chain ferry, while the Stockton 
and Darlington Railway Company projected 
a Tees Bridge at Stockton, below the present 
railway bridge. A monster public meeting 
was held at Stockton, presided over by Mr. 



JOSEPH DODDS, M.P. 105 

Dodds, at which it was resolved to oppose 
both schemes. An inquiry afterwards took 
place into the two schemes, and Mr. Dodds 
was one of the most important and influential 
witnesses. The Tees Commissioners and the 
Stockton Town Council opposed both projects, 
on the ground that they would jeopardise the 
shipping interests of the port, and they had 
ultimately to be abandoned, to the great dis- 
appointment of their rival promoters. 

The renewed attempt made by the North- 
Eastern Railway Company, in 1871, to obtain 
powers to construct a swing bridge across 
the River Tees, between Stockton and Mid- 
dlesbrough, was again resisted by the Tees 
Conservancy Commissioners and the Town 
Council, and other public bodies of Stockton, 
South Stockton, and Yarm, and the evidence 
of Mr. Dodds before the Parliamentary Com- 
mittee of the House of Commons, aided ma- 
terially in securing the rejection of the 
scheme. 

Mr. Dodds was one of the chief promoters, 
if not the original projector, of the proposed 
new docks at Lackenby, the cost of which was 
estimated at over 300,000. This is a want 
which must some day be adequately supplied ; 
and, taken in combination with the enlarge- 
ment and improvement of the old Docks at 
Middlesbrough on which the North-Eastern 
Railway Company have expended a sum of 



106 PIONEERS OP THE CLEVELAND IRON TRADE. 

over 100,000 and the improvement of the 
navigation of the channel, such extensive 
dock schemes would give to Stockton and 
Middlesbrough the most complete shipping 
facilities ; and their ulterior, if not their im- 
mediate effect, would be to make the Iron- 
opolis of the North one of the largest shipping 
ports in the Kingdom. 

Mr. Dodds is also a director and one of the 
principal promoters of the proposed Cleve- 
land Extension Mineral Eailway, which has 
been designed to open out a virgin tract of 
ironstone between Skelton and Glaisdale, at 
present entirely excluded from the market. 
A bill with the same object was rejected by 
the House of Commons in 1872, but it pas- 
sed through Parliament in the following ses- 
sion, and has become law, and the construc- 
tion of the line will be proceeded with 
immediately. 

In coming to speak of Mr. Dodds as an 
ironmaster, it is difficult to furnish anything 
like a complete inventory of the undertakings 
in which he is concerned ; but of this there 
cannot be a doubt, that there are few in the 
Cleveland district who now hold a greater 
stake in the trade. His connection originated, 
we believe, with the formation of the firm of 
Stevenson, Jaques, and Company, about the 
year 1864. This company own the Acklam 
ironworks, which are situated about ten 



JOSEPH DODDS, M.P. 107 

minutes' walk from the Middlesbrough Royal 
Exchange. They were started with three 
furnaces, each 70 feet in height, 22 feet 
diameter of boshes, and with a cubical capacity 
of 17,000. In 1868, another furnace of the 
same dimensions was added, so that the works 
now consist of four furnaces, equal to the 
production of nearly 1,500 tons of pig iron 
per week. For several years subsequent to 
this date, Mr. Dodds does not appear to have 
sought to extend his connection with the trade 
to any material extent ; but the recent ple- 
thora of prosperity with which ironmanufac- 
turers were visited, and the consequent rapid 
formation of companies established on the limi- 
ted liability principle, led to his embarking still 
more largely in industrial ventures. One of the 
concerns in which Mr. Dodds is interested to 
a large extent, and of which he is vice-chair- 
man, is the Darlington ironworks, carried on 
until 1872 by Mr. William Barningham, 
situated at Albert Hill, and Springfield, near 
Darlington. These works are, with only two 
exceptions, the largest in the world, and are 
capable of producing 100,000 tons of iron rails 
annually. These exceptions are the Dowlais 
works in Wales, and another establishment in 
Staffordshire. The North Yorkshire iron- 
works, South Stockton, were commenced by 
the firm of Messrs. Richardson, Johnson, and 
Company, about 1864. They were carried on 



108 PIONEERS OF THE CLEVELAND IRON TRADE. 

by their proprietors until 1868, when they were 
acquired for the purpose of making steel on 
the Siemens -Martin system. After a very 
large sum of money had been expended in 
adapting them to this end, the system turned 
out a complete failure, and the works were 
stopped. Shortly afterwards they were taken 
up and re-constructed by a limited liability 
company, of which also Mr. Dodds is chair- 
man ; and they have since gone on most 
prosperously. ' The Tees Bridge Ironworks is 
another establishment in which Mr. Dodds 
has a very large stake. We believe, indeed, 
that he was the founder of the company by 
which these works were built ; and he is now 
chairman of the directors. The Tees Bridge 
works are quite new. There are to be 
four blast furnaces in all, each 65 feet high. 
The site of the works is a piece of ground on 
the estate of Bowesfield, closely adjoining 
the bridge that crosses the Tees at Stockton. 
The Bowesfield ironworks at Stockton, is 
another concern in which Mr. Dodds is one of 
the largest shareholders, and the Stockton 
Forge Ironworks, Stockton, are, we believe, 
entirely his own property, and have been 
largely extended and improved since they 
passed into his hands. 

In addition to the Boosbeck ironstone 
mines belonging to his firm, at which the 
ironstone has been won, and is now being 



JOSEPH DODDS, M.P. 109 

worked, Mr. Dodds and one or two other 
gentlemen have secured and are about to 
commence the development of a large and 
valuable tract of ironstone at Girrick and 
Moorsholme, on the route of the proposed 
Cleveland extension line. Mr. Dodds along 
with Mr. Hugh Chaytor has leased an exten- 
sive tract of land around Roseberry, for the 
purpose of ironstone mining. 

Recognising in common with many of the 
leading ironmasters of the Cleveland district, 
the necessity for further developing the 
wealth of the Durham coal-fields, Mr. Dodds 
in conjunction with four or five other gentle- 
men, of whom Captain Swan is, we believe, 
chairman, has become the lessee of the Bear- 
park coal royalty, situate upon the Lan Chester 
Valley Branch of the North-Eastern Railway, 
within two miles of the City of Durham. 
This most valuable tract of coal extends to 
upwards of 2,000 acres, and promises to rank 
with the best coal royalties of the district ; and 
to augment very largely the supply of coal. 
Several coke ovens and workmen's houses have 
been erected, and the number is intended to 
be largely increased. We believe that Mr. 
Dodds is also one of the partners in the 
Mainsforth Coal Company, whose pits are 
located near to Ferryhill, and of the Hutton 
Henry Coal Company, who lately purchased a 
portion of the estates of Mr. Milbank, M.P., and 



110 PIONEERS OF THE CLEVELAND IRON TRADE. 

also acquired the adjacent royalties of Marshall 
Fowler, Esq., the Rev. G. T. Fox, and others. 

1 here are many institutions bearing more 
or less directly on the iron trade in which Mr. 
Dodds is interested. He is a member of the 
Stockton and Middlesbrough Chambers of 
Commerce, of the Middlesbrough Exchange 
Company, of the North of England Iron- 
masters' Association, and of the Freighters' 
Association, formed some months ago, to take 
combined action in reference to any question 
affecting the rates of mineral traffic in the 
Cleveland district. He was one of the earliest 
members and original promoters of the Iron 
and Steel Institute of Great Britain, along 
with several other north country ironmasters 
and members of Parliament. 

The new turnpike road between Stockton 
and Middlesbrough, which reduced the dis- 
tance between the two towns by three miles, 
owes its paternity to Mr. Dodds, who, in con- 
junction with his friend, the late Mr. John 
bhields Peacock, the esteemed and lamented 
Town Clerk of Middlesbrough, obtained the 
act, raised the needful funds, and finally 
opened the road daring his mayoralty in 
1858. Before the expiration of the Act, it is 
confidently anticipated that the remaining 
debt upon it will be discharged, and a free 
road presented to the district. 

It is more than usually interesting to recall 



JOSEPH DODDS, M.P. Ill 

the circumstances under which Mr. Dodds was 
first elected member for Stockton. His was the 
very first name mentioned for the seat when 
the general election of V>8 was foreshadowed 
by the passing of the Reform Bill. A 
numerously-signed requisition was ultimately 
presented, requesting him to stand as a can- 
didate ; and he had the most encouraging 
promises of support from the most prominent 
members of the Liberal party in South Dur- 
ham. His situation was a delicate and a 
difficult one. It was well understood that 
Lord Ernest Vane Tempest was to be a can- 
didate in the Conservative interest, and Mr. 
Dodds had long been a friend and adviser of 
the Vane family. He was almost hand-in- 
glove with the late Marchioness of London- 
derry, and with her son the present Marquis 
of Londonderry, visiting frequently at Wyn- 
yard Park, and occasionally consulted in 
arrangements of a business character in which 
his lordship was interested. His candidature 
threatened to involve a severance of this 
connection. But he was not deterred by the 
prospect of losing an influential friend and 
client. He boldly resolved to face all con- 
sequences and fight the battle of his fellow 
townsmen. The contest was a memorable 
one. Lasting for four months, or thereby, it 
was distinguished for its severity and its 
acrimony, but in the end the Liberal candidate 



112 PIONEERS OP THE CLEVELAND IRON TRADE. 

was returned by an overwhelming majority. 
Despite the bolstering, the coaching, and the 
blandishments of the Tory solicitors for Mr. 
Dodds is one of the few Liberal solicitors in 
Stockton the nominee of the noble house of 
Wynyard was sent to the wall. The victory 
was dearly purchased and deservedly won. 
For months Mr. Dodds knew no rest. His 
naturally excitable and sanguine temperament 
was strung to the highest pitch of tension. 
There were many vulnerable points to be 
guarded, many a possible coup d'etat to be 
checkmated. Those who were present will 
not readily forget how he fought in the Re- 
vision Courts, and before the Boundary Com- 
missioners. The latter gentlemen were called 
on to determine whether the Parliamentary 
boundaries should be co-extensive with those 
of the Municipal borough, or should include 
South Stockton, which the Conservatives 
wished to leave out in the cold. In a speech 
of more than four hours' duration, Mr. Dodds 
pleaded for the inclusion of South Stockton, 
and his plea was ultimately successful. After 
the election the hon. member was entertained 
to a grand banquet, succeeded by a crowded 
and enthusiastic public meeting in the theatre; 
and the whole expenses of his election, 
amounting to something like 1,500, were 
subscribed for and defrayed by the constitu- 
ency with a promptitude and heartiness that 



JOSEPH DODDS, M.P. 113 

has, probably, no parallel in the electioneering 
annals of this country, save that of the return 
of Mr. John Stuart Mill for Westminster. 

At the general election in February, 1874, 
Mr. Dodds was again asked at an influential 
meeting of Liberals to represent the Borough, 
and for a time it was expected, on all sides, 
that he would be returned without opposition. 
Ultimately a section of the Conservatives 
contrary to the advice of their local leaders 
brought forward Mr. Francis Lyon Barrington, 
and after a brief contest, in which the Liberals 
did not deem it necessary to put forth their 
full strength, Mr. Dodds was triumphantly 
elected by a majority of 3,223, against his 
opponent who only obtained 1,425 votes. 
This decisive result was everywhere received 
with expressions of satisfaction, and it is 
believed that so long as Mr. Dodds cares to 
represent Stockton in Parliament, he will do 
so unchallenged. 

Little remains to be added. The personal 
character of Mr. Dodds supplies the key to 
his success and popularity. Few T men illus- 
trate to greater perfection the suaviter in modo 
with the fortiter in re. There is no reserve, 
affected dignity, or hauteur about his com- 
position. ' How d'ye do, Dodds/' is a saluta- 
tion with which he is greeted on 'Change by 
those who know him least, as well as by those 
who know him best. His bland, benignant 
H 



1 14 PIONEERS OF THE CLEVELAND IRON TRADE. 

manner invites freedom, and yet repels license. 
His blandness is thoroughly unstudied ; there 
is nothing of the ars celare artem about it ; 
it is quite a part, and perhaps the most con- 
spicuous part of himself. Probably, the 
greatest pleasure he enjoys is that of entering 
a ball-room or promenading on 'Change, or 
acting either as guest or host at a large party, 
in either of which, or in any other like circum- 
stance, he dispenses nods, and becks, and 
wreathed smiles with a profusion, that would 
to many men be quite an ordeal. He is a 
fluent and effective, but not a brilliant speaker. 
His elocution does not take the popular ear 
by the use of rhetorical tricks. What he 
has to say, he says plainly, forcibly, and well ; 
but the higher art of oratory that which 
has won their fame for Gladstone and Bright 
he has had no time to cultivate. 

But after all, the most transparent fea- 
ture of his character is energy. He never 
knew the luxury of dolce far niente. Mr. 
Gladstone, at a great public banquet, once 
spoke of an idle man as the most miser- 
able being on earth. One can easily fancy 
that under such circumstances Mr. Dodds 
would be such a man. For many years 
he has been accustomed to rise at six 
o'clock in the morning, and by seven he 
is hard at work, looking over and reply- 
ing to his voluminous correspondence. His 



JOSEPH DODDS, M.P. 115 

travelling and he travels many thousands 
of miles every year was always, and still 
is frequently done during the night. To 
facilitate his business arrangements, and 
lose no time that could be otherwise em- 
ployed, he succeeded some years ago in having 
a through train put on between Stockton, 
Middlesbrough, and London. This train has 
since been known as "Dodds' Express." 
During the session he habitually runs down 
to Stockton, either on Friday night or Satur- 
day morning, goes through the local business 
of the week during Saturday, and returns to 
town again on Sunday night or Monday 
morning ; or, if there is no important debate 
or division coming on, he attends Middles- 
brough iron market on Tuesday, and runs up 
to London by the afternoon train of that day. 
Allusion has already been made to the in- 
timate relationship that existed between Mr. 
Dodds and the chief ironmasters of Cleve- 
land. He was the constant adviser of Messrs. 
Bolckow and Vaughan, and he is a trustee 
under the will of the latter. But his business 
is not limited to his own immediate neigh- 
bourhood. Its far-reaching ramifications ex- 
tend over the whole of the North Riding and 
throughout the whole county of Durham, as 
well as portions of Northumberland. Until 
lately, the firm was carried on by Dodds and 
Trotter, but the partnership having termi- 



116 PIONEERS OF THE CLEVELAND IRON TRADE. 

nated, Mr. Trotter withdrew from the business, 
which is now carried on by Mr. Dodds. 

Shortly before last General Election a 
movement was set on foot, by a number of 
political and personal friends, to have the 
portrait of Mr. Dodds painted, and the 
requisite funds having been promptly sub- 
scribed, the work was entrusted to Mr. Jerry 
Barritt, the painter of the " Queen's Drawing 
Room, " and other celebrated pictures. 

In 1847, Mr. Dodds married Ann, daughter 
of Mr. William Smith, of Stockton, by whom 
he has a family of six three sons and three 
daughters. The eldest son Matthew Bowser 
Dodds having taken the degree of B.A. at 
Trinity College, Cambridge, is now in the 
business, along with his father, and will 
ultimately take his place. The second son, 
Joseph Richardson Dodds, is studying for the 
church at Cambridge, and took the degree 
of B.A. in June, 1874. The third son, 
Frederick Lumley, having gained a scholar- 
ship in Durham Grammar School, which he 
held for five years, became an under graduate 
of Trinity College, Cambridge, and is passing 
through his studies with marked distinction. 



VI. -EDGAR GILKES, 



THERE is probably no one occupying so promi- 
nent a position in the North of England, 
whose life, to do it anything like adequate 
justice, would be more difficult to write than 
that of Mr. Edgar Gilkes. The writer 
approaches the task with a fear and diffidence 
that he has not experienced in relation to any 
of the sketches that have gone before. It is 
not that there is any scarcity of materials to 
work with, for few lives have been more 
crowded with circumstance. But not many 
of the events that will come under the notice 
of the reader are of a kind that will live in 
story or in song. They are rather the hard, 
stern, and somewhat commonplace facts of a 
laborious and useful life, passed in a quiet and 
unobtrusive manner, and so circumscribed as 
to area, that the reader who seeks for sensa- 
tion or sentiment will turn to them in vain. 
In the economy of human existence it is 
often found, that while some men who have 
done little to deserve honour or distinction, 



118 PIONEERS OP THE CLEVELAND IRON TRADE. 

bulk largely in the public eye, others of more 
modesty and greater attainments are content 
to " blush unseen." Those who have " borne 
the burden and heat of the day " not un fre- 
quently have their chief recompense in the 
inward satisfaction " that passeth show " 
a sense of approval far more pleasurable than 
the empty applause of the giddy and vulgar 
throng. Much less of real, earnest, abiding 
work is obtained from the man who lives in 
the glare of popular admiration, and makes all 
the aims of life subordinate thereto, than from 
the silent, steady, plodding worker who " lives 
laborious days," who is accustomed to burn 
the midnight oil, and for whom the lines 
appear to have been penned : 

" Men my brothers, men the workers, ever reaping some- 
thing new, 

That which they have done but earnest of the things that 
they shall do." 

These remarks are not offered by way of 
justifying the position which we are com- 
pelled to assign Mr. Gilkes among the 
pioneers of the Cleveland iron trade. In 
speaking of him in this capacity, we are in 
this difficulty, that we cannot lay our hands 
upon any one great movement or event dis- 
covery or revolution with which his name 
has been specially identified. And yet, it 
would be even more difficult to evolve from 
the ashes of the " dead past " i single pro- 



EDGAR GiLKES. 119 

ject matured in Cleveland that has not in one 
form or another borne the impress of his 
sign -manual. He has been a veritable Admi- 
ral Crichton, unwittingly perhaps, but none 
the less truly. Few men perhaps no man- 
have actuated more powerfully the deeper and 
more essential springs of the society in which 
he has borne a part for the last thirty years. 
Traced to its source, we dare say that every 
public movement initiated in Middlesbrough 
during that time, will be found more or less to 
have owed its inspiration to Mr. Gilkes. If a 
meeting is held to utter a protest against some 
imperial iniquity, Mr. Gilkes will have been 
consulted by the promoters as to how it should 
be got up. If any social or local question 
requires to be ventilated through the same 
medium, the chances are ten to one that he 
has drawn up the resolutions. If an examina- 
tion of a public school takes place, there again 
he will be found, hearing if not answering ques- 
tions. The municipal affairs of the borough 
have been his special charge and mission 
since the population grew out of swaddling 
clothes. On commercial and industrial mat- 
ters he is equally an authority and no less 
serviceable. In short, no man is more indis- 
pensable to that inner and hidden life which is 
after all the back-bone of prosperity in any 
community the life that points a constant 
finger to the everlasting text that " man shall 



120 PIONEERS OF THE CLEVELAND IRON TRADE. 

not live by bread alone " the life that 
abnegates the gross, selfish, and materialistic 
elements that are too prone to germinate 
among a people eager to be rich, and privi- 
leged with exceptional opportunities for the 
attainment of that end. 

Trained as an engineer in Berkshire, 
Mr. Gilkes, in 1839, came to Shildon, as one 
of the engineers of the Stockton and Darling- 
ton Railway. At that time the wide district 
known as South Durham and Cleveland was 
in a comparatively embryo state, both as to 
trade and population. The works at Shildon 
were also of very limited extent, for the whole 
rolling stock of the Darlington Railway Com- 
pany did not exceed twelve locomotives not 
one of which had a tender like the tenders of 
to-day, but a water-barrel and a coal wagon, 
one at each end of the engine two or three 
hundred wagons, and about eighty carriages. 
These figures have since been multiplied more 
than a hundred-fold. In 1843, there was a 
branch establishment started at Middles- 
brough, called the Tees Engine Works, for 
the repair of the rolling stock of the Stockton 
and Darlington Railway, and Mr. Gilkes came 
down from Shildon to undertake their man- 
agement. A year or two later, Mr. Isaac 
Wilson and Mr. Gilkes entered into a partner- 
ship for carrying on the works under the firm 
of Gilkes, Wilson and Company, and from that 



DGAR OILKES. 121 

time until the present the works have been 
among the most extensive and well-known in 
the North of England. Indeed, it may be 
said of these works, that they pioneered 
the engineering trade of the Tees. When 
they were originated there were only some 
half a dozen similar establishments between 
the Tees and the Tyne. These were the 
Gateshead Ironworks established in 1747 ; 
the Chester-le-Street Works, founded in 1793 ; 
the Walker Ironworks, established in 1809 ; 
the Forth Bank Engine Works, founded by 
Mr. Robert Hawthorn in 1817 : the HartJe- 
pool Ironworks, established in 1838 ; and the 
works of Messrs. R. Stephenson and Company, 
established at Newcastle in 1823. 

For some years after they were founded, 
the Tees Engine Works assisted the works of 
Messrs. R. Stephenson and Company, and 
others, in making the locomotive engines 
used in the North of England. At the 
meeting of the British Association in 
Newcastle in 1863, it was reported that dur- 
ing the previous thirty-four years these firms 
had unitedly produced upwards of 2,400 loco- 
motives. Probably no one contributed more 
than the subject of these remarks to develope 
the locomotive engine. He became early 
acquainted with both its merits and its imper- 
fections ; and at the works over which he pre- 
sided all kinds of locomotives have been built, 



122 PIONEERS OF THE CLEVELAND IRON TRADE. 

from the crude model furnished by Stephen- 
son's Rocket, to the splendidly equiped and 
powerful engine of the present day. 

But in the construction of viaducts and 
bridges, no less than in the building of locomo- 
tives, the firm of Gilkes, Wilson, and Company 
have taken a high position. At one time and 
another they have erected the Albert and 
Victoria Bridges in Windsor Park, bridges 
over the Thames above London, and the 
singular viaducts over the rivers Deepdale 
and Beelah, in Lancashire and Westmoreland. 
These bridges were constructed for the South 
Durham and Lancashire Union Railway. The 
Beelah Viaduct is constructed on a plan some- 
what similar to that of the celebrated Crum- 
lin Viaduct. It consists of 15 piers, com- 
posed of hollow columns. The span of the 
lattice girders forming the roadway is 60 feet. 
The total length of the viaduct is 1,000 feet, 
and the greatest depth from the rail to the 
ground is 1 95 feet. The quantity of materials 
used in its construction consists of 77 f> tons of 
cast iron, 303 tons of wrought iron, 12,343 cube 
feet of memel timber for roadway. Another 
engineering triumph of this firm is the cele- 
brated viaduct at Saltburn, which is carried 
over the valley immediately in front of the 
Zetland Hotel, at the height of over 200 feet 
from the ground. In the construction of this 
bridge the firm were limited as to price, and 



they exerted themselves to combine elegance 
and strength with cheapness. They suc- 
ceeded so well, that after the bridge was 
finished it was declared by Sir William Arm- 
strong, to be the cheapest construction 
having regard to its height and position- 
in the world. But the firm of Gilkes, 
Wilson, and Company have also produced 
a large quantity of general engineering 
work, including mill, colliery, and marine 
engines, for nearly all parts of the kingdom. 

In 1852, Mr. Gilkes commenced the erec- 
tion of blast furnaces below the dock channel, 
on what was then a piece of waste ground, 
liable to the incursions of acquatic fowl. 
These were the first blast furnaces built in 
Cleveland after those of the Middlesbrough 
ironworks, so that Mr. Gilkes is entitled to 
take a position next to that occupied by the 
late Mr. John Vaugban as a pioneer of the 
Cleveland iron trade. The furnaces first 
built by Mr. Gilkes had a cubical capacity of 
only 5,500 feet, whereas the last furnaces built 
at the same works represent 33,000 feet as 
their cubical contents. At the Tees Ironworks 
an interesting drawing may be seen exhibiting 
the graduated growth in height and cubical 
capacity of the different furnaces erected by 
Mr. Gilkes no less than five of the original 
furnaces having been demolished and rebuilt 
to a greater height within the space of twenty 
years. 



124 PIONEERS OF THE CLEVELAND IRON TRAt)K. 

It is almost unnecessary to add that Mr. 
Gilkes projected the Tees Ironworks with the 
view of cultivating the advantage offered by 
the discovery of the Cleveland ironstone. 
But at that time there were only the mines 
of Messrs. Bolckow and Vaughan opened out 
at Eston. All beyond towards Thirsk on the 
one hand, and Whitby on the other, was an 
impenetrable terra incognita. Mr. Joseph 
Pease had acquired a royalty near to Guis- 
borough, but it was practically valueless 
without adequate railway facilities. It was 
at this juncture that the project for the forma- 
tion of a railway to Guisborough was formed. 
The local magnates pooh-poohed the idea. 
Even those who were likely to be the most 
directly benefited by having their estates 
opened up, turned a cold shoulder to the 
scheme. Mr. Pease foresaw, however, that 
the district was likely to become a great 
feeder to the iron trade, and that a large and 
valuable mineral traffic would thus be de- 
veloped, so he came forward and offered to 
guarantee a dividend of 5 per cent, for a 
certain number of years if the line was pro- 
ceeded with. Such an undertaking from such 
a source was the means of the ultimate con- 
struction of the line, and it is worthy of 
remark that it has fully justified the sanguine 
anticipations of its founder. The completion 
of the Guisborough Railway enabled Messrs. 



EDGAR GILKES. 125 

Gilkes, Wilson, and Company to obtain iron- 
stone from the mines that had been opened 
up by the Messrs. Pease. Like other con- 
script fathers of the new industry, they had 
at first many difficulties to surmount, arising 
from the ignorance which then prevailed as 
to the conditions under which the oolitic stone 
of Cleveland should be smelted, shortcomings 
peculiar to a new and unknown district, and 
the competition they encountered from Wales, 
Staffordshire, and Scotland. But " line upon 
line, precept upon precept here a little and 
there a little,'' they overcame all the lions 
that beset their path, and assisted to place 
Cleveland on the high industrial eminence it 
now occupies. 

Before taking leave of the industrial phases 
of Mr. Gilkes's career, it is only due to his 
high attainments as an engineer to state that 
he holds a most honourable place in his pro- 
fession. Among his intimate personal friends, 
he reckons many of the most prominent 
engineers of the day, and although it has not 
been given to him to take rank with Watt 
and Stephenson, Bessemer and Arkwright, 
as the founder of a new invention or industry 
saving thousands and millions of pounds, or 
employing armies of artizans, he has in his 
quiet way contributed a large quota to the 
perfection of engineering science. 

For more than twenty years Mr. Gilkes has 



126 PIONEERS OF THE CLEVELAND IRON TRADE. 

been prominently identified with the muni- 
cipal affairs of Middlesbrough. He sat in 
the Commission that controlled the embryo 
borough before it was incorporated ; and when 
the charter of incorporation was granted, he 
was one of the first elected to serve at the 
new Council Board. With only a very limited 
interregnum, he has continued ever since to 
be a member of the Corporation, having pas- 
sed the Mayors chair and worn the alderman's 
gown. As a member of the Council he has 
devoted a great deal of his time to municipal 
affairs, and he is still one of the most enter- 
prising and active civic legislators of Middles- 
brough. But the measure of Mr. Gilkes's 
devotion to the public service is only faintly 
represented by his work as a member of the 
Corporation. As we have already indicated, 
he is connected more or less intimately with 
nearly every society, association, and institu- 
tion in the town. He is likewise a borough 
and county magistrate ; a member of the 
Chamber of Commerce, a director of the Royal 
Exchange, and a governor of the North Riding 
Infirmary. 

Although he has a considerable talent for 
literature, Mr. Gilkes has not done anything 
in this way to bring his name into prominent 
notice. But we do not think it is disclos- 
ing any profound secret, when we say 
that he has from time to time produced verses 



EDGAR GILKES. 127 

which would have done no discredit to a poet 
of much greater pretensions, and although 
fugitive and unrecognised, these verses have 
in one form or another obtained a place in 
several high-class periodicals. Of scientific 
literature his pen has been rather barren, 
although he has taken a somewhat con- 
spicious place in the discussions of the 
local Institution of Engineers, and the Iron 
and Steel Institute, with both of which he is 
connected, and has occasionally contributed to 
the scientific and professional magazines, 
papers which indicate at once the extent of 
his information, and the power and precision 
with which he could express it. We have 
thus briefly recorded the simple facts of a 
quiet life which will be best understood in 
after years, when the hidden facts, seen only 
by the few and by the eye that sees all things, 
are revealed in the light of that day which is 
eternal. 



VII. JOSEPH PEASE, 



SPEAKING at a meeting held to promote the 
candidature of his brother Henry, when the 
latter first stood as a candidate for the re- 
presentation of South Durham, Joseph Pease 
said, " I have not a single drop of coward's 
blood in my veins." No one who knew the 
speaker could say otherwise. It is largely 
due to him and to the family of which he was 
for many years the recognised and honoured 
head, that South Durham and Cleveland have 
attained the position they now occupy. In 
the ordinary acceptation of the term, Joseph 
Pease was never an ironmaster ; but it was 
he, and those who acted with him, that paved 
the way for the establishment and successful 
prosecution of the iron trade on the banks of 
the Tees. Full of sanguine and well-grounded 
hopes, he was at the same time animated 
by a spirit of determination and energy 
that persevered unto the end with whatever he 
took in hand. It was truly said of him that 
he could see a hundred years ahead. Not 



JOSEPH PEASE. 129 

only did he project " enterprises of great pith 
and moment,'' but he invariably carried them 
to a successful termination. From his earliest 
years to the close of his busy career, he was 
intimately associated with nearly every move- 
ment tending to the development of the 
industrial resources of Cleveland. Next after 
Messrs. Bolckow and Vaughan, the town of 
Middlesbrough owes more to Joseph Pease 
than to any other man. If to Bolckow and 
Vaughan Middlesbrough owes its prosperity 
and status, to Joseph Pease it certainly owes 
its existence. For him, therefore, we can 
claim an indisputable right to a place among 
the pioneers of the Cleveland iron trade. 

Born at Darlington, on the 22nd day of 
June, 1799, Joseph Pease was the second son 
of that Edward Pease whose name will live 
in the industrial annals of his country as the 
" founder of the first passenger railway in Eng- 
land." Mr. Pease received his early education 
at Tatham's school in Leeds, and subsequently 
Mr. Josiah Forster, of Southgate, near Lon- 
don, became his preceptor. Under this 
gentleman Mr. Pease got something more 
than a sound education. Mr. Forster was a 
member of the Society of Friends a persua- 
sion to which his pupil also belonged and 
with much of the zeal that is characteristic 
of that austere communion, he engaged in the 
promotion of religious and political reforms. 



130 PIONEERS OF THE CLEVELAND IRON TRADE. 

His mantle fell not only on his pupil, but on 
more than one member of his own family, in- 
cluding his nephew, the Right Hon. W. E. 
Forster, with whom Mr. Pease in after life 
maintained a close and deep-rooted friendship. 
The business career of Mr. Pease was in- 
augurated at an early age. While still in his 
" teens " he entered the office of his father, 
who at that time carried on, jointly with his 
brother, one of the largest woollen manufac- 
turers in the North of England. Young Pease 
wastrained to a practical knowledge of every de- 
partment of the trade, and became an expert 
at sorting, combing, dressing, dyeing, the man- 
agement of figures, or the routine of general 
office work. Edward Pease was a strict dis- 
ciplinarian, and exacted from all in his em- 
ployment, and especially from his son, the 
best work they were capable of turning out. 
Admonished continually that "whatever is 
worth doing is worth doing well," young 
Joseph acquired a methodical habit and an 
aptitude for business which, "if judgment 
were laid to the line and righteousness to the 
plummet," were certain in the long run to 
bring him to the top of the ladder. But 
while thus diligent in business, and bent on 
making a name for himself in the commercial 
world, he never acted the equivocal part of 
the dog in the manger. It could never be 
said of Joseph Pease that, having reached the 



JOSEPH PEASE. 131 

top of the ladder, he drew it up after him, to 
prevent others from attaining the same goal ; 
for, on the contrary, he was always ready both 
to spend and to be spent for the advancement 
and welfare of others. This, however, by the 
way. Before pausing to sum up his character, 
we are called upon to follow the fortunes of 
the Stockton and Darlington Railway, with 
the formation and whole history of which 
Mr. Joseph Pease has been prominently 
mixed up, and to the judicious management 
and opportune extensions of which the unique 
prosperity of the district through which it 
runs is mainly attributable. 

The Stockton and Darlington Railway was 
only opened for traffic on the 27th day of 
September, 1825, but so far back as 1810 a 
committee was appointed to inquire into the 
practicability of forming a canal or railway 
for the better conveyance of goods and mer- 
chandise between Stockton and Darlington. 
Both Edward and Joseph Pease the father 
and uncle of the subject of these remarks 
were members of that committee, whose 
labours eventuated in the formation of a line 
commencing at Witton Park Colliery, and 
terminating at Stockton, its total length being 
about 27 miles. Between these two termini 
there were large and well-developed coal 
fields ; but so far as the iron trade was con- 
cerned, it was as yet in the matrix of the 



132 PIONEERS OF THE CLEVELAND IRON TRADE. 

future. Up to this point Joseph Pease had 
not interfered, except as a subordinate, in the 
schemes promoted by his father and uncle. 
But it was reserved for him to complete the 
work which they had begun. In 1829 a com- 
pany of gentlemen became the proprietors of 
what has ever since been known as the Middles- 
brough Estate. Young Joseph Pease with 
whose fortunes from this time forward we 
have alone to deal was the leading promoter 
of that company, which also included Messrs. 
T. Richardson, H. Birkbeck, S. Martin, Edward 
Pease, jun., and F. Gibson. The purchase 
only extended to 500 acres of ground, and at 
the time it was made there was not more than 
one or two farm-houses on the newly-acquired 
property. The land was used for agricultural 
purposes only, so that it was purchased at 
its then agricultural value, and although we 
cannot state the exact sum, it must have been 
comparatively trifling. But Joseph Pease and 
his partners had no idea of turning farmers. 
The far-seeing and constructive genius of Mr. 
Pease taught him to believe that Middles- 
brough possessed rare facilities for the ship- 
ment of coal from the South Durham coal 
field, and he resolved to adapt the estate to 
this end. There were at that time only three 
ports on the North-East Coast from which 
coal was shipped on anything like a large 
scale. These were Newcastle, Sunder land, 



JOSEPH PEASE. 133 

and Blyth. The great South Durham coal 
field was without an adequate outlet. The 
first shipment of coal at Stockton took place 
in 1822. In that year, 1.224 tons were ex- 
ported. In 1828 this quantity had increased 
to 66,051 tons. There were, however, in- 
superable obstacles in the way of the develop- 
ment of the trade. The river Tees up to Stock- 
ton was only navigable at that time for the 
smallest craft, which made the passage with the 
utmost difficulty, and amid constant liability to 
misadventure. It was Mr. Pease's idea that a 
shipping port further down the river would 
be much more suitable for the purpose, and 
thus attract a much larger share of the trade. 
He was not disappointed. Returns on which 
every reliance can be placed show that the 
opening up of the Stockton and Darlington 
Railway exercised an important influence on 
the trade of the former port, the shipment of 
coals alone having increased from 1833 to 

1840 at the rate of 157'57 per cent, as com- 
pared with those of 1828. But from 1640 
Middlesbrough took the position which Joseph 
Pease had predicted, and the trade of Stock- 
ton in the shipment of coals began to 
decline as that of its rival advanced. We 
find in the shipments of coal from Stockton 
a decrease of 000*9 per cent, for the years 

1841 to 1844 as compared with the three 
years immediately preceding, while from 1845 



134 PIONEERS OP THE CLEVELAND IRON TRADE. 

to 1850 the decrease was still greater, being 
at the rate of 40'0 per cent. But while Mid- 
dlesbrough has done much to injure the 
shipping prestige of Stockton, it is only fair 
to explain that it has been largely aided in 
this ungracious work by Hartlepool, which, 
although only commencing the shipment of 
coal in 1845, had increased the quantity of its 
shipments 76'6 per cent, between 1845 and 
1850. 

The Middlesbrough Estate having been ac- 
quired by Mr. Pease and his partners, the 
question naturally arose, how is it to be 
opened out ? It came into their possession a 
real terra incognita, inaccessible on fvery hand 
except by the river, and even there the ab- 
sence of docks or staithes prevented the 
possibility of utilising the place for shipping 
purposes. To many men, in like circum- 
stances, the acquisition of such an isolated 
and forsaken territory would have been as 
bad as the present of a white elephant. But 
Joseph Pease had a settled and definite aim 
in view, and with the rationality and wisdom 
that distinguished most of his undertakings, 
he made all things subordinate to the realisa- 
tion of that end. Until it could be penetrated 
by railway communication the Middlesbrough 
estate was worse than useless for his purpose. 
Hence he threw himself into the movement 
for the construction of the Middlesbrough 



JOSEPH PEASE. 135 

branch railway. After encountering a great 
deal of opposition from the " vested interests " 
of Yarm and Stockton, the Act was obtained 
in May, 1828, for the extension to Middles- 
brough of the Stockton and Darlington 
Railway. In the conflict of opinion and 
evidence that arose on this measure, Mr. 
Pease rendered yeoman service to the cause 
of progress. Although himself a coalowner 
not then on a large scale his principal op- 
ponents were, curiously enough, neigh- 
bouring coalowners, who expected that the 
opening of the proposed extension would 
interfere with their monopoly, and otherwise 
injure their trade. Mr. Pease lived to disabuse 
their minds of this pernicious idea, and his 
opponents were not long before they ac- 
knowledged their error. 

The opening of the Middlesbrough branch 
railway, which took place in December, 1830, 
is a red letter day in the history of the 
metropolis of Cleveland, marking an era 
upon which all its subsequent progress has 
more or less depended. The event was 
marked by a ceremonial in which Joseph 
Pease, as became his position, took a con- 
spicuous part. From this time forward the 
progress of the town was uninterrupted. 
The coal trade of the port grew larger every 
year, and employed a constantly-increasing 
number of hands. From the time that rude 



136 PIONEERS OF THE CLEVELAND IRON TRADE. 

huts were first run up for the accommodation 
of the navvies who constructed the line, and 
the mechanics who built the shipping staithes, 
the external accretion of the population went 
on slowly at first, but none the less steadily, 
until, when the first ironworks were estab- 
lished by Messrs. Bolckow and Vaughan in 
18iO, Middlesbrough had a population of 
nearly 5,000 souls. 

The Middlesbrough dock, which had not a 
little to do with attracting the iron trade to 
that part of Tees-side, was constructed by 
Mr. Pease and Mr. Henry Birkbeck, of Nor- 
wich, along with one or two other capitalists. 
It was afterwards sold to the Stockton and 
Darlington Railway Company, on the award 
of Sir W. Cubbitt, and Mr. Brian Donkin, 
C.E. The formation of Middlesbrough as 
the site of a system of docks and the ter- 
minus of a branch railway, was much opposed 
by the late Lord Londonderry, and the late 
Earl of Durham ; and it is probably not too 
much to say, that the Middlesbrough Branch 
Railway would never have been carried 
through the House of Lords, had it not been 
for the important service rendered by Mr. 
R. H. Gurney, of Norwich, who being well- 
known as a hunting man in Leicestershire 
and his own country, induced a considerable 
number of Norfolk noblemen and others to 
come down and support the railway to the 



JOSEPH PEASE. 137 

new town. Several of the principal streets in 
Middlesbrough, including Dacre-street and 
Suffield-street, were subsequently named after 
the noblemen who supported the Railway 
Bill in the House of Lords. While speaking 
of Mr. Pease's services to Middlesbrough, in 
connection with the Railway and Dock, it is 
only fair to add that it was owing to his great 
exertions that the powers of the old Tees 
Navigation Commissioners were taken from 
them, and the control of the river vested in 
the new Tees Conservancy Board. 

Surely no apology is necessary for dwelling 
so long on the pre-railway history of Mid- 
dlesbrough and Mr. Pease's early connection 
with that port. The circumstances above 
recorded led up to the establishment of the 
iron trade in the Cleveland district, although 
their effect and tendency in that direction was 
rather of a reflex than a direct character. 
Joseph Pease and his partners forged one end 
of the chain the leading ironmasters of 
Cleveland were responsible for the other. 
Both were accessory to the development of 
the district ; but the one set only commenced 
what the other has completed if, indeed, it 
is possible to speak of the Cleveland iron 
trade as in any sense complete. Mr. Pease 
and his co-workers made it their duty, as it 
was their interest, to stimulate the growth of 
the new infant Hercules by every means in 



138 PIONEERS OP THE CLEVELAND IRON TRADE. 

their power. They sought to recommend its 
advantages for industrial purposes ; they in- 
creased those advantages in number and value. 
Above all, they were mainly instrumental in 
making it a centre of the iron trade. It was 
on the advice of the late Mr. John Harris, the 
then engineer of the Stockton and Darling- 
ton Railway, and Mr. Pease's right hand man, 
that Messrs. Bolckow and Vaughan were in- 
duced to establish their works at Middles- 
brough. Mr. Pease offered every encourage- 
ment to the new firm, providing them with 
land on easy terms, and letters of introduction 
which proved of the utmost value in the way 
of giving their venture a fair start. Through- 
out the whole of their career, Messrs. Bolckow 
and Vaughan were on intimate terms with Mr. 
Pease, and there was between them a reci- 
procity of feeling and of interest that made 
the one rely to a large extent upon the other. 
We have heard it said, too, that there were pecu- 
niary transactions carried on that reflected 
equal credit on both proving, as it did, the 
limitless confidence of the one, and the honour 
and integrity of the other. It seems strange 
that Mr. Pease was never himself induced to 
go into the iron trade as a manufacturer. 
The most he ever did in this way was to 
acquire some ironstone royalties of which we 
shall have to speak presently. He was by 
inheritance a partner in the engine building 



JOSEPH PEASE. 

firm of R. Stephenson and Company, of 
Newcastle. The works were originally founded 
by the late George Stephenson, Robert 
Stephenson, Edward Pease, and Thomas Rich- 
ardson, the moiety held by the latter two 
gentlemen descending to Joseph Pease, and 
that held by the former two to the present 
G. R. Stephenson, Esq. 

Mr. Joseph Pease was one of the first to 
understand the probable ultimate effects of 
the opening up of the Cleveland ironstone, of 
which Messrs. Bolckow and Vaughan were the 
initial workers. They were followed in 1851, 
by the Derwent Iron Company, who opened 
out the Upleatham Mines on the Earl of 
Zetland's property ; and in 1853, Messrs. 
Joseph Pease and his son, the present mem- 
ber for South Durham, commenced to open 
out the Button Lowcross or Codhill mines, 
near Guisborough. To develop this district, 
an independent company obtained an Act of 
Parliament for the construction of the Mid- 
dlesbrough and Guisborough Railway, with 
branches to Codhill and Roseberry Topping. 
But such was the fear of railway enterprise 
in 1851, so soon after the panic, that the line 
was leased to Mr. Joseph Pease and Mr. J. W. 
Pease, in order, under their guarantee of a 
settled dividend, to raise the sum of 70,000. 
With such vigour were the mines of the 
Messrs. Pease pushed forward, that in 1856 



140 PIONEERS OP THE CLEVELAND IRON TRADE. 

they vended 217,253 tons of ironstone. Since 
then, they have acquired the Upleatham and 
Skinningrove Mines, and Messrs. J. W. Pease 
and Partners are now the largest workers of 
ironstone royalties in Cleveland. 

It may be interesting, in this connection, 
to give a few figures illustrative of the de- 
velopment of the district in which Mr. Joseph 
Pease was the first to plant his foot, not as a 
discoverer, but as a pioneer. In 1828, the 
year that witnessed the commencement of the 
Middlesbrough Branch, there were sent over 
the Stockton and Darlington Railway 65,046 
tons for export, and 64,739 tons of coal and 
coke for landsale. In 1838 the total quantity 
of coal and coke sent over the line was 
654,787 ; in 1848, 1,044,202 ; and in 1851, 
1,458,996 tons. It was in the latter year 
that ironstone commenced to find a place in 
the railway company's accounts. The total 
quantity of ironstone sent over the section in 
1851 was only 279,607 ; in 1862 this quantity 
had increased to 975,810 ; and in 1872, it was 
estimated at something like 4,000,000 tons. 
In 1851, there were 120,604 tons of limestone 
sent over the line ; in 1862, there were 
427,091 tons ; and in 1872 there were close 
on 1,000,000 tons. The traffic in coal and 
coke has increased in a corresponding ratio ; 
and in 1872, the total quantity of mineral 
traffic sent over the section was, in round 



JOSEPH PEASE. 141 

numbers, close on eight and a half million 
tons. It is almost unnecessary to add that the 
great bulk of this enormous traffic is absorbed 
by the iron trade of Tees-side. 

The business so long carried on by the 
firm of Messrs. Joseph Pease and Partners is 
now one of the largest of its kind in the 
North of England. In 1830 Mr. Pease first 
became a colliery proprietor. In that year, 
be became connected with St. Helen's Col- 
liery, near Bishop Auckland, along with his 
brother-in-law, Mr. Henry Birkbeck, of 
Norwich ; the late Mr. Eichard Hambury 
Gurney, of Norwich ; the late Mr. Simon 
Murtin, of Gurney's Bank, Norwich ; and the 
late Mr. T. Richardson. About the same time 
he acquired the Adelaide Colliery, near Shildon, 
and subsequently he became a partner in the 
South Durham Colliery, which, on the expiry 
of the lease, was transferred to another com- 
pany in 1846. His next speculation was the 
Roddymoor Collieries, near Crook, which have 
been greatly extended under his management, 
until they now comprise nine different pits 
the Emma, the Lucy, the Job's Hill, the Bow- 
den Close, the Stanley, the Wooley, the 
Brandon, the Sunnyside, and the Esh. In 
the Dearness Valley, Mr. Pease became the 
lessee of a royalty on the property of Lord 
Boyne, which led to the opening up of that 
previously inaccessible region by the North- 



142 PIONEERS OF THE CLEVELAND IRON TRADE. 

Eastern Railway Company ; and he also ac- 
quired another royalty at Hedley Hope, in 
the neighbourhood of Towlaw, which he carried 
on successfully for many years. For some 
time past, the firm of which Mr. Pease was 
the " head and front " has been producing 
about 600,000 to 700,000 tons of coke per an- 
num. They are also largely concerned in the 
manufacture of fire-clay bricks, and other pro- 
ductions used in connection with the iron trade. 
So far as railway management is concerned, 
Mr. Pease was for the greater part of his life, 
and down almost to the day of his death, I he 
most influential member of the Stockton and 
Darlington Railway. Opinions may differ as 
to certain conditions imposed by the direc- 
torate of that line with reference to its 
government such for example as the pro- 
hibition of the sale of spirituous liquors in 
the refreshment rooms, and the excessively 
stringent precautions against smoking. But 
even those who are most prone to indulge a 
sneer at the " Quaker Railway Monopoly," 
and to affect contempt for the austerity of 
their conduct, cannot but admit that their 
management of the line, with which their names 
are indissolubly connected, has been eminently 
successful, pecuniarily and otherwise. For 
many years it has, with perhaps only two 
exceptions, stood at the top of the railway 
system of the United Kingdom as a valuable 



JOSEPH PEASE. 143 

property, in which respect it is improving 
every year. But that is not all. The Stock- 
ton and Darlington Railway Board could until 
1872, when an unfortunate accident happened 
at Preston Junction, make a claim which 
could not be made on behalf of any other 
railway in England similarly circumstanced 
namely, that hardly a life had ever been lost 
by an accident for which they could be held 
responsible. In the whole annals of our 
mercantile marine, there is only one line that 
can make a like boast. We speak of the Cunard 
line, which has sent ships from Liverpool 
to New York and vice versa, at first twice, and 
latterly three times-a-week, for a period of 40 
years, and yet during the whole of that time 
they have not lost a single life not even a 
solitary letter. In both cases, this wonderful 
immunity from misadventure has been due 
mainly to the skill, care, and foresight of the 
management which in the one case was pre- 
sided over by Sir Samuel Cunard ; and the 
other by Mr. Joseph Pease. 

It is not within the purpose of this sketch to 
follow Mr. Pease throughout his political career, 
which was both long and successful. He was 
the first Quaker sent to the House of Com- 
mons. Returned to the Reform Parliament 
in 1832, as the senior member for South 
Durham, he was, in 1835 and 1837 respec- 
tively, elected to the same honour without 



144 PIONEERS OF THE CLEVELAND IRON TRADE. 

opposition. He made his maiden speech on 
behalf of Mr. Joseph Hume's proposal for the 
abolition of lighthouses. From first to last 
he was an uncompromising opponent of job- 
bery, of corruption, of any and every un- 
necessary form of expenditure. Conformably 
with the peculiar tenets of the persuasion to 
which he belonged, he has always advocated 
the maintenance of a peace establishment, 
and set his face against war. Religious 
equality is another measure now almost com- 
pletely realised for which he stoutly con- 
tended. Many a tough battle, both off and 
on the floor of St. Stephen's, was fought by 
the Quaker member on behalf of this, at that 
time, unpopular shibboleth. Whenever any 
question relating to the slave trade was 
brought on the carpet, Mr. Pease strenuously 
exerted himself to procure the abolition of 
that inhuman traffic. In 1841, finding his 
too scrupulous attendance on Parliamentary 
duties incompatible with the proper discharge 
of his numerous private obligations, he re- 
solved to relinquish his seat for South 
Durham, and although pressed to reconsider 
his decision, he declared it to be unalterable. 
All testimony agrees in according to Mr. 
Pease the credit of being a regular attender 
of the House, a fluent and forcible speaker, an 
independent and noble-minded man. He 
was indefatigable in his attention to committee 



JOSEPH PEASE. 145 

work, and his large commercial knowledge 
made him equally valuable whether as a wit- 
ness or as a committee-man. On nearly every 
committee appointed to deal with questions of 
an industrial or scientific character he found 
a place during his career in the House of 
Commons. Of one important committee, 
appointed to inquire into the subject of col- 
liery ventilation, he was elected chairman. 
That committee was appointed little more than 
a year after Mr. Pease entered Parliament, 
but after much research and enquiry they re- 
ported their inability to lay before the House 
any particular plan by w T hich accidents in 
mines might be avoided with certainty, and 
in consequence, they offered no decisive re- 
commendations. 

Mr. Pease sat upon a Committee on Church 
Leases, which reported to the House of Com- 
mons on the 6th of May, 1836. He seems to 
have taken a very active part in the cross- 
examination of the witnesses, and to have 
possessed very considerable knowledge of the 
state of things in the county, especially 
regarding the Dean and Chapter Estates. 
With respect to the ecclesiastical properties, 
that Committee reported its conclusions under 
four heads, viz. : No. 1. The abolition of 
the injurious system of leases or fines. No. 
2. The substitution of these for a fee simple 
tenure. No. 3. The passing of an Enfran- 
K 



146 PIONEERS OF THE CLEVELAND IRON TRADE. 

chisement Act. No. 4. The customary con- 
fidence of renewal by the lessees, to be con- 
sidered according to local circumstances by 
the authorities established under the Act, on 
the principles of enfranchisement laid down 
by them. These are the very points which, 
nearly 40 years after, the Lessees of the Dean 
and Chapter Estate of Durham are still de- 
manding. 

On Thursday morning, February 8, 1872, 
Mr. Pease passed over to the great majority. 
For several years previously, he had taken no 
active part either in public life or the 
private business of the firm. In his seventy- 
third year, he met the shadow feared by man, 
with confidence and resignation ; and Darling- 
ton, where he had lived for so many years, 
was poorer by the loss of a wise counsellor 
and beneficent friend. Joseph Pease was 
not without his detractors. No man who as- 
sumes the prominence which he earned can 
hope to be. But whatever his failings might 
be, " they leaned to virtue's side." His was 
a large-hearted and whole-souled philanthropy 
that was not to be influenced by any con- 
siderations of " ancient use and wont." He 
was an iconoclast ; but, after all, he built 
up more than he destroyed, and he never 
destroyed aught that promoted beneficent or 
utilitarian ends. There was no temporising 
in his nature. He never approved of half 



JOSEPH PEASE. 147 

measures. Vulgarly speaking, he went in 
for " the whole hog or none." He did this 
with such unflinching determination and suc- 
cess that his motives were often impugned, 
and his character otherwise assailed : 

" All human virtue, to its latest breath, 
Finds envy never conquered but by death." 

If success is to be accepted as in any sense 
the test of merit, then was Joseph Pease one 
of the most meritorious men of his time. He 
was a speculator, doubtless, but he speculated 
wisely and well. There was no gambling in 
his speculations. They were not dependent 
upon mere chance, or a fortuitous chain of 
events, although there was a certain risk at- 
tending them which he never shrunk from 
undertaking. Need we dwell upon the 
splendour of his conceptions, and their still 
more splendid execution ? The enterprises 
he led, their results, and their rationale, the 
eminently practical character and tendency of 
his genius, the impetus which he gave to the 
railway system these and many other 
achievements of his useful life will find a 
permanent place in the history of his native 
town and county. As for his bounty, if not 
like that of Juliet, " as boundless as the sea," 
it was measured only by his means and op- 
portunities. He was not an indiscriminate 
giver, but yet there was no really good object 
that appealed to him in vain. Of the religious 



148 PIONEERS OF THE CLEVELAND IRON TRADE. 

persuasion to which he belonged, he was long 
one of the most prominent leaders; while 
among the Liberal party in South Durham, 
his counsels were listened to with the utmost 
deference, and their action was often guided 
by his advice. Take him for all in all, it may 
be said of Joseph Pease : 

" He was but words are wanting to say what 
Say what a Christian should be he was that." 



VIIL W. B. I. HOPKINS. 



ARDENT admirers of American institutions, 
sometimes put it forward as one of the greatest 
beauties of Transatlantic social life, that a man 
is not required to have a grandfather. In the 
old country a different state of matters is 
allowed to prevail. " Norman blood " is often 
a better passport to good society, than the 
" simple faith " which the Laureate has eu- 
logised, and if it is known that the debutante 
in fashionable life is of plebeian origin, the 
damning fact operates as a bar sinister, which 
can only be atoned for by exceptional talents 
or conspicuous genius. After all is said and 
done, it is impossible to gainsay the fact, that 
the British public " dearly loves a lord." 
The growth of Democracy, notwithstanding, 
we have a warm corner deep down in our 
heart of hearts for old institutions, and hail 
with constitutional pride the scions of the 
great families who " came in with the Con- 
queror/' or whose lineage can even be traced 
so far back as the period of the Kenassance. 



150 PIONEERS OF THE CLEVELAND IRON TRADE. 

There can be no doubt that the unexampled 
growth of many of our modern centres of in- 
dustry owes little to the fostering care of our 
" old nobility," whom Lord John Manners 
would preserve at the expense of " laws and 
learning, wealth and commerce." It is not 
unusual for the aristocratic mind to sneer at 
our captains of industry as parvenu and vulgar, 
while trade is contemned as demoralising and 
infra dig. Until very recently, therefore, the 
pioneers of our industrial progress were drawn 
almost exclusively from ''the people," and 
patrician pride long held aloof from contam- 
ination with the industrial arts. But a 
change has at last " come o'er the spirit of 
their dreams ;" and the highest and oldest 
families in England may now be found asso- 
ciated with the so-called plebeian element, in 
the development of our industrial wealth 
as witness the relation of the Earls of Durham 
and Dudley with the iron and coal trades of 
Durham and Staffordshire. Jn this field of 
enterprise and competition the barriers of 
rank and caste are gradually being broken 
down; and the peer elbows the peasant in 
running the race for wealth a race that is 
now more than ever open to all comers. 

So far as the North of England iron trade 
is concerned, it owes not a little to those who 
could boast of having noble blood in their 
veins. The Marquis of Londonderry, the 



W. R. I. HOPKINS. . 151 

Earl of Durham, and the Earl of Zetland, 
have all more or less assisted its promotion. 
But much more closely associated with its 
development we find the name of Mr. William 
Randolph Innes Hopkins, who is related to 
one of the oldest and most aristocratic 
families in Scotland, his father being a near 
relative of the late Duke of Roxburghe, and 
his mother being a member of one of the 
oldest Border families. His father spent the 
early part of his life " ayont the Tweed," and 
it was near Kelso, one of the finest and most 
historically and physically romantic of the 
Border towns, where the son was born. 
Transferring his residence to Darlington, the 
father built and for many years lived in the 
mansion of Woodside, afterwards occupied by 
the late Mr. John Harris, the well-known 
engineer of the Stockton and Darlington 
Railway. Mr. Hopkins, senior, took an active 
interest in the industrial progress of the 
North, and was early appointed a director of 
the North -Eastern Railway then known as 
the Great North of England Railway an 
office which he continued to fill for many 
years, and to which his son, the subject of 
this sketch, was subsequently elected. While 
residing at his lather's house in Darlington, 
young Hopkins became apprenticed to Mr. 
John Middleton, architect, with the inten- 
tion of ultimately succeeding to a partner- 



152 PIONEERS OF THE CLEVELAND IRON TRADE. 

ship in his business. Lines and curves 
were, however, not to the taste of the young 
architect, and although he subsequently joined 
the staff of the distinguished Sir Digby Wyatt, 
in the preparation of the plans for the first 
Exhibition of 1851, he was not loth to abandon 
a profession in which eminence and emolu- 
ment appeared so remote and difficult of 
attainment. The fact is, that the mind of 
young Hopkins had a bent towards the more 
comprehensive and widely-ramified art of 
engineering, rather than the more exact 
formulae of architecture ; and in pursuance of 
this tendency, he came to Middlesbrough in 
the year 1850, in order to superintend works 
established there for the manufacture of a 
commodity known as Warlick's patent fuel, 
which was then in much request. In this 
venture, the elder Mr. Hopkins was pecuni- 
arily interested ; and it was in connection 
with these works that the son first made the 
acquaintance of Mr. Gilkes, who afterwards 
became, and continues still, his partner in the 
Tees-side Ironworks, and other works " of 
that ilk." Circumstances arising out of the 
severe competition between patent fuel and 
the natural mineral compelled the ultimate 
abandonment of the venture which originally 
attracted Mr. Hopkins to Middlesbrough. 
He w T as the less reluctant to give up the fuel 
works, seeing that the Cleveland iron trade 



W. R. I. HOPKINS. 153 

was then beginning to assume form, and to 
present the most tempting inducements to 
capitalists. Forming a partnership with Mr. 
Snowdon, an engineer who might be called a 
natural product of the north, inasmuch as he 
had formerly been an engine-driver on the 
Stockton and Darlington Railway, Mr. Hopkins 
made arrangements for going into the iron 
trade. Both partners had ample means at their 
disposal for that purpose. Both, too, had a 
rare combination of experience to carry them 
through, for Mr. Hopkins was an adept at 
figures, and was not unfamiliar with the prin- 
ciples of engineering, and metallurgical 
science, while his partner was a skilled engi- 
neer, indigenous to the soil, and knowing 
more than most men of the resources, facili- 
ties, and requirements of the district. 

The Tees-side Ironworks were built by 
Messrs. Snowdon and Hopkins, in 1853. 
Eight years later the senior partner retired 
from the concern, which was carried on for 
some time afterwards under the style of 
Hopkins and Company, Mr. James Innes 
Hopkins and Mr. li. Lloyd, having meanwhile 
joined the firm. Another change afterwards 
took place, which resulted in the firm of 
Hopkins and Company being, in the year 
1865, amalgamated with the firm of Gilkes, 
Wilson, and Company, of the Tees Engine 
Works, thus forming the gigantic concern 



154 PIONEERS OF THE CLEVELAND IRON TRADE. 

of Hopkins, Gilkes, and Company, Limited, 
with a capital of 675,000, the management 
of whose affairs remained in the hands of the 
principals Mr. Hopkins. Mr. Gilkes, and Mr. 
Wilson. 

The Tees-side Ironworks have been the 
birthplace of many new and important inven- 
tions and improvements connected with the 
metallurgy of iron. As originally construc- 
ted, they comprised only rolling mills for the 
manufacture of bar and angle iron. Latterly 
they embraced also rail mills, and in 1857 
two blast furnaces were built. The latter 
erections were 55 feet in height and 16 feet 
boshes, while each produced about 200 tons 
of pig iron weekly. In 1867, two additional 
blast furnaces, each 75 feet in height, were 
added. In the finished ironworks, there are 
100 puddling furnaces, two forges, three roll- 
ing mills, arid two blooming mills, placed in 
two different establishments in proximity to 
the blast furnaces. The weekly produce of 
the four blast furnaces is about 1,300 tons ; 
while that of the mills being about 1,000 
tons. About 2,000 hands are employed in 
the various establishments, and the amount 
paid in wages and salaries is over 3,000 per 
week. Among the mechanical improvements 
that have been originated at these works, 
engineers attach, perhaps, most importance to 
calcining kilns, designed by Mr. John Gjers, 



W. B. I. HOPKINS. 155 

who was for several years engineer to the firm. 
These kilns are circular in shape and have 
wrought-iron shells, but unlike ordinary kilns 
of this class, the shells are made of the same 
shape as the interior of the kilns, so that 
there is merely a uniform thickness of fifteen 
inches of fire-brick lining at all parts. The 
shell and lining of each kiln rests upon an 
annular cast-iron entablature, which is in its 
turn supported by eight hollow cast-iron pil- 
lars cast on the base plate. By this arrange- 
ment a space is left all round the bottom for 
drawing the charge. The cubical contents of 
each kiln is about 5,500 feet, and the best 
testimony to the superiority of Mr. Gjers' 
invention, to the old square and cumbrous form 
of kiln formerly in use, is the fact that it has 
been very largely adopted in the Cleveland 
district. While employed at the Tees- side 
Ironworks, Mr. Gjers also devised a new form 
of hydraulic hoist, which has to a large ex- 
tent superseded several other kinds of hoists 
used in the district ; while the new system of 
water boshes, which the same gentleman was 
the first to use at the Tees-side Ironworks, 
not only enabled advantage to be taken of the 
cooling influence of the water, but renders it 
possible, from watching the temperature of 
the water, to tell exactly how the furnace is 
working, the segments forming separate 
water tanks. 



156 PIONEERS OF THE CLEVELAND IRON TRADE. 

It was at the Tees-side Ironworks where the 
first Danks's rotary puddling machine was 
erected in this country, and it is worthy of 
remark that in the subject of mechanical 
puddling Mr. Hopkins has always taken a 
lively interest. The experimental Danks's 
furnace was laid down at these works in the 
early part of 1872, and its first yield was 
watched by a large number of gentlemen 
connected with the iron trade in all parts of 
the kingdom. In reporting to the Iron and 
Steel Institute on the results obtained from 
this machine, Mr. Hopkins declared that his 
firm were not only satisfied with the economy 
of fuel and the absence of waste in every 
way, but they were also perfectly convinced 
of the superiority of the quality of iron pro- 
duced. Indeed, Mr. Hopkins demonstrated 
so effectually the virtues of the mechanical 
puddler over the ordinary furnace, that it has 
since been largely adopted in the Cleveland 
district, and promises, unless something bet- 
ter meanwhile appears, to become the furnace 
of the future. 

Besides his large interest in the Tees-side 
Ironworks, Mr. Hopkins is the principal 
partner in the Linthorpe Ironworks adjoining. 
He is largely interested in colliery and mining 
operations in South Durham and Cleveland ; 
and he has inherited from his father, a talent 
for railway enterprise and administration. 



W. R. I. HOPKINS. 157 

Although his multifarious engagements have 
prevented him from taking any very active 
part in the deliberations of learned and tech- 
nical societies, he is a prominent member of 
the Iron and Steel Institute serving on the 
council of that association and he is con- 
nected by membership with the Cleveland 
Institution of Engineers, and the North of 
England Mining and Mechanical Institute. 
He was the first secretary of the North of 
England Ironmanufacturers' Association, in 
the establishment of which he took a leading 
part. In this important office he was suc- 
ceeded, some five years ago, by Mr. John 
Jones, F.G.S., by whom it is still held. 

Among other offices which he has filled for 
a longer or shorter period, Mr. Hopkins is a 
Commissioner of the Tees Conservancy, a 
borough and county magistrate, a deputy- 
lieutenant for the North Hiding, a member of 
the Middlesbrough Town Council, and a mem- 
ber of the Middlesbrough Chamber of Com- 
merce. He was elected Mayor of Middles- 
brough for two years in succession. First 
appointed to the civic chair in 1867, it was a 
question with the Corporation which of their 
number could most fitly represent them 
during the following year, when it was ex- 
pected that the new Albert Park, presented 
to the town by Mr. Bolckow, would be opened 
by royalty. The choice of the Council 



158 PIONEERS OF THE CLEVELAND IRON TRADE. 

unanimously fell on Mr. Hopkins, who was 
accordingly re-elected for another year. Al- 
though the expectation that the Queen would 
open the park in person was doomed to dis- 
appointment, the town was honoured by a 
visit from Prince Arthur, whom his royal 
mother deputed to represent her on the oc- 
casion. The ceremony was attended by great 
" pomp and circumstance." Middlesbrough 
celebrated the event by holding high car- 
nival. No fewer than six committees were 
appointed by the Corporation to carry out 
the arrangements, and on every one of 
them Mr. Hopkins served with zeal and un- 
remitting attention. It was largely due to 
his tact and prudence that the event proved 
so eminently successful, and the very least 
that can be said about his conduct is, that he 
justified the choice of his colleagues in ap- 
pointing him as their representative. Several 
other municipal events of importance oc- 
curred during the currency of Mr. Hopkins's 
mayoralty. Passing over those of minor 
interest, we are bound to refer to the general 
election of 1868, in which the newly enfran- 
chised electors of Middlesbrough which was 
created a Parliamentary borough under 
schedule B of the "Representation of the 
People Act, 1867," were called upon to 
choose their first representative. So far as 
the Liberal party were concerned, there was 



W. B. I. HOPKINS. 150 

very little difference of opinion as to who the 
man of their choice should be. But while 
it was felt that Mr. Bolckow had the first 
claim to the consideration of the party to 
whom he belonged, there was also among the 
local Conservatives a widely diffused opinion 
that Mr. Hopkins should be put forward in 
their interest. At that time Mr. Hopkins was 
in the height of his popularity ; he was a 
staunch and steadfast member of the Con- 
servative party in the North Riding ; he was 
a fluent and effective speaker ; and had the 
Conservatives not felt themselves in the cold 
shade of minority, it was quite probable that 
he would have been put forward as their 
representative. But in a constituency pos- 
sessing such thoroughly Liberal instincts as 
Middlesbrough, a struggle between a Liberal 
and a Conservative could only have resulted 
in the ignominious defeat of the latter. On 
this account therefore, the party remained 
inactive, although for a long time previous 
to the election there were those who expected 
that Mr. Hopkins would contest the borough. 
As it was, he accorded a tacit support to Mr. 
Bolckow, with whom he had long been asso- 
ciated in enteprises projected for the well- 
being of the town and district, and to whom 
he was attached by many social and com- 
mercial ties. In the General Election of 
1874, Mr. Bolckow was opposed by Mr. John 



160 PIONEERS OF THE CLEVELAND IRON TRADE. 

Kane, of Darlington, and seeing that the seat 
was in danger of being wrested from Mr. 
Bolckow at any rate, Mr. Hopkins became a 
candidate in the Conservative interest. As 
might have been expected, he suffered defeat. 
During the many years he sat in the Town 
Council of his adopted town, Mr. Hopkins was 
a zealous promoter of municipal reforms. He 
rendered yeoman service to the movement 
which resulted in the enfranchisement of 
Middlesbrough ; he took an intelligent interest 
in the most trivial minutiae of administration 
that fell to his lot, whether as a, committee- 
man, or as a councillor and alderman ; and 
he exerted to the utmost his not inconsider- 
able influence in order that Middlesbrough 
should not only maintain, but improve, the 
position she had attained as the metropolis of 
Cleveland. The Royal Exchange was pro- 
jected while he was secretary of the Iron- 
masters' Association, and he had a principal 
hand in the carrying out of that important 
work. The North Riding Infirmary also 
claimed him as one of its founders. For re- 
ligion and education he has done much- 
striving to uphold the influence of the Church 
of England, in a community where it was 
almost in danger of being utterly swamped, 
between heathenism and infidelity on the one 
hand, and the " dissidence of dissent " on the 
other. He and his fellow-labourers in this 



W. R. I. HOPKINS. 101 

sphere have been so far successful, that in spite 
of the overmastering and prescriptive in- 
fluence of Quakerism, and the less powerful, 
although perhaps more aggressive tendencies 
of Wesleyans and other dissenters, the Church 
of England has at the present moment as 
much real influence, and is doing as useful 
and extensive work in Middlesbrough, as 
any other denomination. 

The highly cultivated taste for the higher 
branches of architecture which Mr. Hopkins 
acquired in his early years has never deserted 
him. Some years ago he added another 
charm to the many previously possessed 
by the hill district of Cleveland, in the erec- 
tion of an almost princely Gothic residence, 
styled Grey Towers, with a beautiful out-look 
towards Roseberry Topping, and the fine 
highland range extending thence to the 
Hambleton Hills. Built from designs fur- 
nished by Mr. John Ross, of Darlington, one 
of the most eminent architects in the North, 
Grey Towers and its demesnes have been ex- 
tended year by year, gardens, plantations, 
greenhouses, and extensive stabling having 
been added, until now the estate and buildings 
will compare favourably with any other in 
the North of England. 

Although few men have done more in a 
quiet and unostentatious way for the advance- 
ment of Cleveland, there are few whose 



162 PIONEERS OF THE CLEVELAND IRON TRADE. 

lives, after passing through the same vicissi- 
tudes are so barren of materials for biography. 
To say that he has distinguished himself as a 
member of the Town Council is to say only 
that which may be claimed for many less able 
and less noteable men. To say that he has 
been on uniformly good terms with his work- 
men, showing an anxious desire for their 
welfare, and endeavouring to arrange all 
difficulties, not by the brutal arbitrament of 
strikes and locks-out, but by the " easy, art- 
less, unencumbered plan " of arbitration and 
conciliation, is to award him a meed of praise 
due to other men who have been less remark- 
able in other ways. Nor is it much, perhaps, 
to say of him, per se, that he has been a 
liberal giver to good works, an enterprising 
capitalist, a zealous magistrate, a discerning 
and tasteful virtuoso, a keen sportsman, a 
devoted lover and patron of art, that he has 
taken an active part in local and imperial 
politics, that he is regarded as a pillar of the 
Church of England among those of his own 
communion ; that his gentlemanly and digni- 
fied bearing have provided for him a passport 
into society, in which many others, with 
probably more means, are unfit to mingle, 
that his sound and temperate judgment on all 
questions affecting the relations of capital 
and labour, and especially his extended ex- 
perience at the North of England Arbitration 



W. R. I. HOPKINS. 163 

Board, give great weight to his opinions. It 
is not any one of these little traits, but the 
conjunction of the whole that make up the 
man, and stamp him as one of the most 
noteable and indispensable of Cleveland's 
aristocracy. 

Mr. Hopkins has been twice married. His 
first wife was a sister of Mr. Bolckow, M.P. 
His second wife is a daughter of the late Mr. 
Hustler, of Acklam Hall, lord of the manor of 
Middlesbrough. He has a numerous family. 

It ought to have been stated that Mr. 
Hopkins has ceased to be a member of the 
Tees Conservancy Board ; that he was honor- 
ary secretary of the Ironmasters' Association 
(Mr. William Gill being acting secretary) ; 
and, that although, serious mechanical difficul- 
ties have arisen with Danks's Puddling Fur- 
nace, the principle has been firmly estab- 
lished, and the difficulties will be overcome. 



IX ISAAC LOWTHIAN BELT, 



THE name of Mr. Isaac Lowthian Bell is 
familiar as a " household word " throughout 
the whole North of England. As a man of 
science he is known more or less wherever 
the manufacture of iron is carried on. It 
is to metallurgical chemistry that his at- 
tention has been chiefly directed ; but 
so far from confining his researches and 
attainments to this department alone, he has 
made incursions into other domains of prac- 
tical and applied chemistry. No man has 
done more to stimulate the growth of the iron 
trade of the North of England. Baron Liebig 
has defined civilisation as economy of power, 
and viewed in this light civilisation is under 
deep obligations to Mr. Bell for the invaluable 
aid he has rendered in expounding the natural 
laws that are called into operation in the 
smelting process. The immense power now 
wielded by the ironmasters of the North of 
England is greatly due to their study and 
application of the most economical conditions 



ISAAC LOWTH1AN BELL. 



165 



under which the manufacture of iron can be 
carried on. But for their achievements in 
this direction, they could not have made head- 
way so readily against rival manufacturers in 
Wales, Scotland, and South Staffordshire, who 
enjoyed a well-established reputation. But 
Mr. Bell and his colleagues felt that they 
must do something to compensate for the 
advantages possessed by the older iron- 
producing districts, and as we shall have 
occasion to show, were fully equal to the 
emergency, 

Mr. Isaac Lowthian Bell is a son of the late 
Mr. Thomas Bell, of the well-known firm of 
Messrs. Losh, Wilson, and Bell, who owned 
the Walker Ironworks, near Newcastle. His 
mother was a daughter of Mr. Isaac Lowthian, 
of Newbiggen, near Carlisle. He had the 
benefit of a good education, concluded at the 
Edinburgh University, and at the University 
of Sorbonne, in Paris. From an early age 
he exhibited an aptitude for the study of 
science. Having completed his studies, and 
travelled a good deal on the Continent, in 
order to acquire the necessary experience, he 
was introduced to the works at Walker, in 
which his father was a partner. He con- 
tinued there until the year 1850, when here- 
tired in favour of his brother, Mr. Thomas Bell. 
In the course of the same year, he joined his 
father-in-law, Mr. Pattinson, and Mr. R. B. 



166 PIONEERS OP THE CLEVELAND IRON TRADE. 

Bowman, in the establishment of Chemical 
Works, at Washington. This venture was 
eminently successful. Subsequently it was 
joined by Mr. W. Swan, and on the death of 
Mr. Pattinson by Mr. R. S. Newall. The 
works at Washington, designed by Mr. Bell, 
are among the most extensive of their kind 
in the North of England, and have a wide 
reputation. During 1872 his connection 
with this undertaking terminated by his re- 
tirement from the firm. Besides the chemical 
establishment at Washington, Mr. Bell com- 
menced, with his brothers, the manufacture 
of aluminium at the same place this being, 
if we are rightly informed, the first attempt 
to establish works of that kind in England. 

But what we have more particularly to deal 
with here is the establishment, in 1852, of the 
Clarence Ironworks, by Mr. I. L. Bell and his 
two brothers, Thomas and John. This was 
within two years of the discovery by Mr. 
Vaughan, of the main seam of the Cleveland 
ironstone. Port Clarence is situated on the 
north bank of the river Tees, and the site 
fixed upon for the new works was immediately 
opposite the Middlesbrough works of Messrs. 
Bolckow and Vaughan. There were then 
no works of the kind erected on that side of 
the river, and Port Clarence was literally a 
" waste howling wilderness." The ground on 
which the Clarence works are built waf 



ISAAC LOWTHIAN BELL. 167 

then flooded with water, which stretched away 
as far as Billingham on the one hand, and 
Seaton Carew on the other. Thirty years ago, 
the old channel of the Tees flowed over the exact 
spot on which the Clarence furnaces are now 
built. To one of less penetration than Mr. 
Bell, the site selected would have seemed any- 
thing but congenial for such an enterprise. 
But the new firm were alive to advantages 
that did not altogether appear on the surface. 
They concluded negotiations with the West 
Hartlepool Railway Company, to whom the 
estate belonged, for the purchase of about thirty 
acres of ground, upon which they commenced 
to erect four blast furnaces of the size and 
shape then common in Cleveland. From this 
beginning they have gradually enlarged the 
works until the site now extends to 200 acres of 
land (a great deal of which is submerged, 
although it may easily be reclaimed), and there 
are eight furnaces regularly in blast. With 
such an extensive site, the firm will be able 
to command an unlimited "tip" for their slag, 
and extend the capacity of the works at pleasure. 
At the present time, Messrs.. Bell Brothers 
are building three new furnaces. The 
furnace lifts are worked by Sir William 
Armstrong's hydraulic accumulator, and the 
general plan of the works is carried out on 
the most modern and economical principles. 
As soon as they observed that higher furnaces, 



168 PIONEERS OF THE CLEVELAND IRON TRADE. 

with a greater cubical capacity, were a source 
of economy, Messrs. Bell Brothers lost no 
time in reconstructing their old furnaces, 
which were only 50 feet in height ; and they 
were among the first in Cleveland to adopt 
the Welsh plan of utilising the waste furnace 
gases, by which another great economy is 
effected. With a considerable frontage to the 
Tees, and a connection joining the Clarence 
branch of the North-Eastern Railway, Messrs. 
Bell Brothers possess ample facilities of transit. 
They raise all their own ironstone and coal, 
having mines at Saltburn, Normanby, and 
Skelton, and collieries in South Durham. A 
chemical laboratory is maintained in con- 
nection with their Clarence Works, and 
the results thereby obtained are regarded in 
the trade as of standard and unimpeachable 
exactitude. 

Mr. I. L. Bell owns, conjointly with his 
two brothers, the iron -works at Washing- 
ton. At these and the Clarence Works the 
firms produce about 3,000 tons of pig iron 
weekly. They raise from 500,000 to 600,000 
tons of coal per annum, the greater portion of 
which is converted into coke. Their output of 
ironstone is so extensive that they not only 
supply about 10,000 tons a- week to their own 
furnaces, but they are under contract to 
supply large quantities to other works on 
Tees-side. Besides this, their Quarries near 



ISAAC LOWTH1AN BELL. 169 

Stanhope will produce about 100,000 tons of 
limestone, applicable as a flux at the iron works. 
Last year, Mr. Bell informed the Coal Com- 
mission that his firm paid 100,000 a year in 
railway dues. Upwards of 5,000 workmen 
are in the employment of the firm at their 
different works and mines. 

But there is another, and perhaps a more 
important sense than any yet indicated, in 
which Mr. Bell is entitled to claim a promi- 
nent place among the " Pioneers of the 
Cleveland Iron Trade." Mr. Joseph Bewick 
says, in his geological treatise on the Cleve- 
land district, that " to Bell Brothers, more 
than to any other firm, is due the merit of 
having fully and effectually developed 
at this period (1843) the ironstone fields of 
Cleveland. It was no doubt owing to the 
examinations and surveys which a younger 
member of that firm (Mr. John Bell) caused 
to be made in different localities of the 
district, that the extent and position of the 
ironstone beds became better known to the 
public." Of late years the subject of this 
sketch has come to be regarded as one of the 
greatest living authorities on the statistical 
and scientific aspects of the Cleveland 
ironstone and the North of England iron 
trade as a whole. With the Northumber- 
land and Durham coal fields he is 
scarcely less familiar, and in dealing with 



170 PIONEERS OF THE CLEVELAND IRON TRADE. 

these and cognate matters he has earned for 
himself no small fame as a historiographer. 
Leoni Levi himself could not discourse with 
more facility on the possible extent and dura- 
tion of our coal supplies. When the British 
Association visited Newcastle in 1863, Mr. 
Bell read a deeply interesting paper " On the 
Manufacture of Iron in connection with the 
Northumberland and Durham Coal Field," in 
which he conveyed a great deal of valuable 
information. According to Bewick, he said 
the area of the main bed of Cleveland iron- 
stone was 420 miles, and estimating the yield 
of ironstone as 20,000 tons per acre, it resulted 
that close on 5,000,000,000 tons are contained 
in the main seam. Mr. Bell added that he 
had calculated the quantity of coal in the 
Northern coal field at 6,000,000,000 tons, so 
that there was just about enough fuel in the one 
district, reserving it for that purpose ex- 
clusively, to smelt the ironstone contained in 
the main seam of the other. When the 
Yorkshire Union of Mechanics' Institutes 
visited Darlington in the spring of 1872, they 
spent a day in Cleveland under the cicerone- 
ship of Mr. Bell, who read a paper, which 
he might have entitled "The Romance 
of Trade," on the rise and progress of 
Cleveland in relation to her iron manu- 
factures ; and before the Tyneside Naturalists' 
Field Club, when they visited Saltburn in 



ISAAC LOWTH1AN BELL. 171 

1866, he read another paper dealing with the 
geological features of the Cleveland district. 
Although not strictly germane to our subject, 
we may add here that when, in 1870, the 
Social Science Congress visited Newcastle, 
Mr. Bell took an active and intelligent part 
in the proceedings, and read a lengthy paper, 
bristling with facts and figures, on the sanitary 
condition of the town. 

Owing to his varied scientific knowledge, 
Mr. Bell has been selected to give evidence 
on several important Parliamentary Com- 
mittees, including that appointed to inquire 
into the probable extent and duration of the 
coal-fields of the United Kingdom. The 
report of this Commission is now before us, 
and Mr. Bell's evidence shows most con- 
clusively the vast amount of practical know- 
ledge that he has accumulated, not only as to 
the phenomena of mineralogy and metallurgy 
: n Great Britain, but also in foreign countries. 
Mr. Bell was again required to give evidence 
before the Parliamentary Committee appointed 
in 1873, to inquire into the causes of the 
scarcity and dearness of coal. 

In July, 1854, Mr. Bell was elected a 
member of the North of England Institute of 
Mining and Mechanical Engineers. He was 
a member of the Council of the Institute from 
1865 to 1866, when he was elected one of the 
vice-presidents. He is a vice-president of 



172 PIONEERS OF THE CLEVELAND IRON TRADE. 

the Society of Mechanical Engineers, and 
last year was an associate member of the 
Council of Civil Engineers. He is also a 
fellow of the Chemical Society of London. 
To most of these societies he has contributed 
papers on matters connected with the manu- 
facture of iron. When a Commission was 
appointed by Parliament to inquire into the 
constitution and management of Durham 
University, the institute presented a memorial 
to the Home Secretary, praying that a 
practical Mining College might be incor- 
porated with the University, and Mr. Bell, 
Mr. G. Elliot, and Mr. Woodhouse, were 
appointed to give evidence in support of the 
memorial. He was one of the most important 
witnesses at the inquest held in connection 
with the disastrous explosion at Hetton 
Colliery in 1860, when twenty-one miners, 
nine horses, and fifty-six ponies were killed ; 
and in 1867 he was a witness for the institute 
before the Parliamentary Committee appointed 
to inquire into the subject of technical 
education, his evidence, from his familiarity 
with the state of science on the Continent, 
being esteemed of importance. Some years 
ago, Mr. Bell brought under the notice of the 
Mining Institute an aluminium safety lamp. 
He pointed out that the specific heat of 
aluminum was very high, so that it might be 
long exposed to the action of fire before be- 



ISAAC LOWTHIAN BELL. 173 

coming red-hot, while it did not abstract the 
rays of light so readily as iron, which had a 
tendency to become black much sooner. Mr. 
Bell was during the course of last year elected 
an honorary member of a learned Society in 
the United States, his being only the second 
instance in which this distinction had been 
accorded. Upon that occasion, Mr. Abram 
Hewitt, the United States Commissioner to 
the Exhibition of 1862, remarked that Mr. 
Bell had by his researches made the iron 
makers of two continents his debtors. 

Mr Bell is one of the founders of the Iron 
and Steel Institute of Great Britain, and has 
all along taken a prominent part in its de- 
liberations. No other technical society, 
whether at home or abroad, has so rapidly 
taken a position of marked and confirmed 
practical usefulness. The proposal to form 
such an institute was first made at a meeting 
of the North of England Iron Trade, held in 
Newcastle, in September, 1868, and Mr. Bell 
was elected one of the first vice-presidents, 
and a member of the council. At the end of 
the year 1869 the Institute had 292 mem- 
bers; at the end of 1870 the number had 
increased to 348 ; and in August 1872, there 
were over 500 names on the roll of member- 
ship. These figures are surely a sufficient 
attestation of its utility. Mr. Bell's paper 
" On the develepment of heat, and its appro- 



174 PIONEERS OF THE CLEVELAND IRON TRADE. 

priation in blast furnaces of different dimen- 
sions," is considered the most valuable 
contribution yet made through the medium 
of the Iron and Steel Institute to the science 
and practice of iron metallurgy. Since it 
was submitted to the Middlesbrough meeting 
of the Institute in 1869, this paper has been 
widely discussed by scientific and practical 
men at home and abroad, and the author has 
from time to time added new matter, until it 
has now swollen into a volume embracing be- 
tween 400 and 500 pages, and bearing the 
title of the " Chemical Phenomena of Iron 
Smelting." As a proof of the high scientific 
value placed upon this work, we may mention 
that many portions have been translated into 
German by Professor Tunner, who is, perhaps, 
the most distinguished scientific metallurgist 
on the Continent of Europe. The same dis- 
tinction has been conferred upon Mr. Bell's 
work by Professor Gruner, of the School of 
Mines in Paris, who has communicated its 
contents to the French iron trade, and by M. 
Akerman, of Stockholm, who has performed 
the same office for the benefit of the manufac- 
turers of iron in Sweden. The first president 
of the Iron and Steel Institute was the Duke 
of Devonshire, the second Mr. H. Bessemer, 
and for the two years commencing 1873, Mr. 
Bell has enjoyed the highest honour the iron 
trade of the British empire can confer. 



ISAAC LOWTHIAN BELL. 175 

As president of the Iron and Steel Insti- 
tute, Mr. Bell presided over the deliberations 
of that body on their visit to Belgium in the 
autumn of 1873. The reception accorded to 
the Institute by their Belgian ,rivals and 
friends was of the most hearty and en- 
thusiastic description. The event, indeed, 
was regarded as one of international impor- 
tance, and every opportunity, both public and 
private, was taken by our Belgian neighbours 
to honour England in the persons of those 
who formed her foremost scientific society. 
Mr. Bell delivered in the French language, a 
presidental address of singular ability, directed 
mainly to an exposition of the relative in- 
dustrial conditions and prospects of the two 
greatest iron producing countries in Europe. 
As president of the Institute, Mr. Bell had to 
discharge the duty of presenting to the King 
of the Belgians, at a reception held by His 
Majesty at the Royal Palace in Brussels, all 
the members who had taken a part in the 
Belgium meeting, and the occasion will long 
be remembered as one of the most interesting 
and pleasant in the experience of those who 
were previleged to be present. 

We will only deal with one more of Mr. 
Bell's relations to the iron trade. He was, we 
need scarcely say, one of the chief promoters 
of what is now known as the North of England 
Ironmasters' Association, and he has always 



170 PIONEERS OF THE CLEVELAND IRON TRADE. 

been in the front of the deliberations and 
movements of that body. Before a meeting 
of this Association, held in 1867, he read a 
paper on the " Foreign Relations of the Iron 
Trade," in the course of which he showed that 
the attainments of foreign iron manufacturers 
in physical science were frequently much 
greater than our own, and deprecated the 
tendency of English artizans to obstruct the 
introduction of new inventions and processes. 
He has displayed an eager anxiety in the test- 
ing and elucidation of new discoveries, and no 
amount of labour or cost was grudged that 
seemed likely, in his view, to lead to mechanical 
improvements. He has investigated for him- 
self every new appliance or process that 
claimed to possess advantages over those 
already in use, and he has thus rendered yeo- 
man service to the interest of science, by dis- 
criminating between the chaff and the wheat. 
For a period nearly approaching twenty- 
four years, Mr. Bell has been a member of the 
Newcastle Town Council, and one of the most 
prominent citizens of the town. Upon this 
phase of his career it is not our business to 
dwell at any length, but we cannot refrain 
from adding, that he has twice filled the chief 
magistrate's chair, that he served the statutory 
period as Sheriff of the town, that he is a 
director of the North-Eastern Railway, and 
that he was the first president of the New- 



ISAAC LOWTHIAN BELL. 177 

castle Chemical Society. In the general 
election of 1868, Mr. Bell came forward as a 
candidate for the Northern Division of the 
county of Durham, in opposition to Mr. George 
Elliot, but the personal influence of the latter 
was too much for him, and he sustained a 
defeat. In the general election of 1874, Mr. 
Bell again stood for North Durham, in con- 
junction with Mr. C. M. Palmer, of Jarrow. 
Mr. Elliott again contested the Division in the 
Conservative interest. After a hard struggle, 
Mr. Bell was returned at the head of the poll. 
Shortly after the General Election, Mr. Elliott 
received a baronetcy from Mr, Disraeli. 
A short time only had elapsed, however, when 
the Liberal members were unseated on 
petition, because of general intimidation at 
Hetton-le-Hole, Seaham, and other places no 
blame being, however, attributed to the two 
members and the result of afresh election in 
June following was the placing of Mr. Bell at 
the bottom of the poll, although he was only 
a short distance behind his Conservative 
opponent Sir George Elliott. 



M 



X, WILLIAM BARN1NGHAM, 

THE founder of the great Darlington Iron- 
works Mr. William Barningham is in many 
respects a remarkable man. He was born at 
Arkengarthdale, near Richmond, Yorkshire, 
on the 6th January, 1826, and is the youngest 
of a family of eleven sons and two daughters. 
Although the subject of these memoirs would 
probably "smile at the claims of long descent" 
quite as much as "the grand old gardener and 
his wife;" and albeit, he may think with 
Spurgeon, that ancient blood has little to re- 
commend it, seeing that, go as far back as 
you may, you corne at last to the father of 
the human race, " who was turned out of a 
garden for stealing fruit," yet, it is interest- 
ing to record the fact, that the Barninghams 
can trace their progenitors through a good 
many generations. The family of this name 
were the original proprietors of the village of 
Barningham, on the Milbank property, south 
of the Greta, and they have in this capacity, 
found a place in Whittaker's History. Like 
other old families, the Barninghams owned a 



WILLIAM BARNINGHAM. 179 

crest, obtained from the Herald's Office in 
North Yorkshire, and bearing the motto 
" Wonderful are the works of God." This 
crest has been adopted by the Darlington 
Iron Company, of which William Barningham 
was the projector. In searching amid the 
mists of hoar antiquity many curious remini- 
scences of the family may be found. Whit- 
taker relates how one Robert SutclifFe, who 
held payment of some land from Easby Abbey, 
offered to make restitution for some injury 
done to Holy Mother Church, on the condition 
that five holy abbots proceeded to the burial 
place of his father and grandfather to pro- 
nounce absolution. This condition was com- 
plied with, and one of the abbots who assisted 
in its fulfilment bore the name of Richard de 
Barningham. But antiquity apart, we know 
that the progenitors of Mr. William Barning- 
ham, were in humble circumstances, as their 
" forbears " had been before them, and young 
William was ushered into the world without 
the proverbial silver spoon. 

In the pretty little village of Arkengarth- 
dale, William Barningham, like his brothers 
and sisters before him, got the limited educa- 
tion that could be afforded him at a free 
school a school that was built and endowed 
by one of the family of the well known Grilpin 
Brown, of Sadberry Hall. When only nine 
years of age, a circumstance occurred which 



180 PIONEERS OF THE CLEVELAND IRON TRADE. 

marked an era in the boy's life. His eldest 
brother the father of Mr. Thomas Barning- 
ham, managing director of the Darlington 
Iron Works had come down to the Dale to 
spend a few days with his parents ; and one 
morning he sent his youngest brother to the 
village of Reeth, to inquire for some letters 
which he expected from Manchester. At that 
time there was no daily delivery of letters in 
the Dale. Unless they were sent for to the 
village of Reeth, letters intended for the 
residents of the Dale where only delivered 
once a week by coal carts, or by people who 
went about the country purchasing farm pro- 
duce. When, therefore, young William Barn- 
ingham was employed to call at Reeth for his 
brother's letters, he got instructions from a 
number of the Dale folks to execute the same 
commission for them ; and these commissions 
became so numerous, that in course of time 
the boy came to be recognized as a sort of 
post runner. The postage of a letter from 
London cost at that time fourteen pence, and 
this amount had to be handed over by the 
party receiving the letter before it was given 
up. For the letters which he undertook to 
deliver, young Barningham was accustomed 
to charge fifteen pence, the only remuneration 
allowed him for his trouble, being a penny per 
letter. That this was hard-earned money 
may be judged from the fact that the lad had 



WILLIAM BABN1NGHAM. 181 

often to walk as much as twenty to thirty 
miles a day, and at the end of the week his 
earnings did not exceed some 3s 6d or 4s. 
But small as the amount was, it helped to eke 
out the otherwise scanty earnings of the 
family, and was probably a good deal more 
than he could then have made in any 
other way. In point of fact, the weekly 
earnings of the boy came to be so much that 
the postmaster refused to give him the letters 
any longer, after he had been carrying them 
for about a twelvemonth. This, to the young 
messenger, was a crushing and unexpected 
blow. Other boys of the same age would 
probably have succumbed to the difficulty, 
but to his mind it did not appear to be in- 
superable. He sought the advice of a friend 
named Anderson, the son of Gilpin Brown's 
land agent ; and after taking counsel together, 
they determined to have a petition sent round 
for signature among the Dale folks to whom 
the services rendered by young Barningham 
were a real boon and this petition was so 
successful, that the postmaster agreed to re- 
instate the plucky lad in his employment. 
Facts like these, though apparently trifles 
light as the thread of the gossamer, are yet 
subtle and unmistakeable indications of the 
spirit that was afterwards able to rise superior 
to much greater difficulties. And, if there 
are those who are disposed to inquire, as did 



182 PIONEERS OP THE CLEVELAND IROtf TttADE. 

the mathematical student about " Paradise 
Lost," what does it prove ? we shall per- 
haps be pardoned for digressing so far as to 
add, that the circumstances which first tended 
in the case of William Barningham to prove 
that " the child is father to the man," were 
such as ought to inspire people of a later 
generation with most fervent gratitude, to 
those who were made the instruments of their 
removal Rowland Hill and George Stephen - 
son. 

In 1839, young Barningham travelled with 
his mother to Shildon, in search of employ- 
ment suited to his now more ample capacity 
and maturer years. They walked from 
Arkengarthdale to Shildon a distance of 
twenty-five miles on a Sunday afternoon. 
On the following day, they left Shildon for 
Middlesbrough by the old " Sunbeam " en- 
gine one of the first locomotives built by 
Hawthorn, and one, too, which will still be 
remembered with interest by many whose 
youthful wonder and curiosity it helped to 
excite. Arrived at Middlesbrough, William 
found employment with his brother John in 
a small blacksmith's shop. It was at this 
shop that all the repairs necessary for the 
coal staithes at Middlesbrough Dock were 
executed, and on account of the engine em- 
ployed to lift the coal wagons at the old 
staithes being broken, the youngster had to 



WILLIAM BARNINGHAM. 183 

work nine days during the first week of his 
apprenticeship. In his case it could hardly 
be said that " the wind was tempered to the 
shorn lamb." 

After he had been employed with his 
brother for about two years, William Barning- 
ham began to display a genius for mechanics, 
which sought every available means of de- 
velopment. On one occasion, he heard of a 
number of castings of a mill engine, of the 
grasshopper pattern, being procurable at 
Stockton. Thither, accordingly, he went to 
secure the coveted prize : and having re- 
ceived it, and returned to Middlesbrough, he 
proceeded to adapt his castings to the con- 
struction of a small engine, with only a two 
inch cylinder. Some of his friends having 
been made acquainted with Barningham's 
engineering efforts, a good deal of interest 
wag taken in the completion of the engine. 
At last it was determined to give it a sort of 
public trial. Steam was got up in a boiler 
that was used by Mr. Cudworth (then a ship- 
builder at Middlesbrough, but now engineer 
of the Stockton and Darlington Railway) for 
steaming the flanks of a ship's side; and the 
trial was witnessed by Mr. Danby, then the 
agent of the Stockton and Darlington Rail- 
way Company at Middlesbrough, and several 
others. But, on account of the slides not 
being correctly set, the engine only made 



184 PIONEERS OF THE CLEVELAND IRON TRADK. 

half a revolution where she should have made 
a whole one, and the trial was pronounced a 
failure. There happened, however, to be 
close at hand an engineman of the name of 
Gaiters, who saw what was wrong with the 
mechanism of the engine, and set the slides, 
so that it made about 500 revolutions per 
minute. Young Barningham was now as 
jubilant with success as he had previously 
been cast down with disappointment. His 
engine was shown to all his friends, and 
regarded as a prodigy of youthful capacity. 

A very short time after this reminiscence, 
young Barningham resolved on spending a 
few days at his home in Arkengarthdale, and 
sent word to his mother that he was coming 
to assist her to churn by steam. The good 
old lady was rather bewildered, when her son 
arrived, to find him endeavouring to fulfil his 
promise. He got his engine conveyed to his 
father's house, and had everything necessary 
to set it in motion except a boiler ; but he 
was at his wits' end to discover how steam 
was to be raised. At last, he found about the 
old Methodist Chapel at Longthwaite, an 
elbow pipe which he thought might suit his 
purpose. He got this pipe plugged with 
wood, and having attached it to the engine, 
proceeded to get up steam by the aid of the 
kitchen fire. But when the steam had been 
got up, it had an effect very different to that 



WILLIAM BARNINGMAM. 185 

intended, for the plug was blown out of the 
elbow pipe, and all the water escaped into the 
fire, thus completely defeating the plans of 
the young enthusiast, and compelling him to 
abandon the novel idea of churning by steam 
power. 

Leaving his first engine at Arkengarthdale 
to excite the curiosity and wonder of the 
natives, young Barningham, on his return to 
Middlesbrough, set about the construction of 
a second engine with a four inch cylinder. 
This second venture was considerably more 
successful than the first. The engine became 
the property of Mr. George Chapman, a 
gentleman who is said to have built the first 
house in Middlesbrough, and afterwards fell 
into the hands of Mr. Isaac Sharp, formerly 
agent to the Middlesbrough Owners. When 
the youthful builder last heard of his creation, 
it was employed in driving a turnip chopping 
machine. 

In September, 1843, and in the eighteenth 
year of his age, William Barningham left 
Middlesbrough for France, accompanied by 
his brother James. At Middlesbrough, the 
brothers Barningham had rather obtained a 
celebrity in the manufacture of switches and 
crossings for railway purposes ; and they ex- 
pected, no doubt, that they would be able to 
find remunerative employment of the same 
kind on the Continent. The Rouen and Paris 



186 PIONEERS OF THE CLEVELAND IKON TRADE. 

Railway was then in course of construction, 
by Messrs. Brassey, Mackenzie, and Company, 
and to Rouen the brothers repaired. They 
found, however, that Mr. Newman, the engi- 
neer of the line, had gone on to Paris, a 
distance of over a hundred miles and 
they were obliged to follow him there. Tak- 
ing the boat down the Seine, the brothers 
found at Paris that they bad undertaken a 
fruitless journey, Mr Newman having just left 
for Rouen. "They waited his arrival in Paris 
for a week, and were then discouraged by hear- 
ing from him that the whole of the work connec- 
ted with the line had been let to M. M. 
Alcard, Buddicombe and Company, of the 
Chatreux Iron Company, near Rouen. De- 
termined, however, that they would not 
abandon their object, they proceeded back to 
Rouen, and called at the Chatreux Works. 
Their satisfaction may be imagined when they 
found that the manager of these works was a 
Mr. Whalley, who had formerly been manager 
at the works of Neasham and Welch, Stock - 
ton-on-Tees. But Mr. Whalley informed 
them that he saw little probability of being 
able to do anything for them. The work for 
which they applied had been let to others a 
few days previously ; and there was no other 
railway then under construction in France 
that afforded any likelihood of employment. 
James Barningham proposed that they should 



WILLIAM BABNINGHAM. 187 

return to England: but William could not 
brook the idea of failure, and declared that 
rather than go back again, he would work his 
way on board a steamer from Havre to Amer- 
ica. They were not obliged to adopt either 
alternative. Messrs. Brassey and Mackenzie 
offered them work in connection with the 
permanent way department of the new Rouen 
and Paris line. Their business was that of 
straightening the rails that had been bent and 
injured in course of transit from South Wales. 
At this work they were employed for some 
six months, when the owners of the Chatreux 
Works offered them the employment for 
which they had originally made application, 
and for six months more they made the 
switches and crossings for the new line. At 
the end of that time James Barningham re- 
turned to England, but he could not persuade 
William to accompany him. The latter had 
conceived the idea of making switches and 
crossings out of rails and railway chairs in 
separate sections, instead of having them all 
in one piece. This idea he laid before Mr. 
John Jones, manager to Messrs. Brassey, 
Mackenzie, and Company. Mr. Jones was so 
much struck with the feasibility and advan- 
tages of the plan proposed, that he built for 
its author a workshop at a place called 
Maloney, near Rouen, and put him in charge 
of several men who had this work in hand. 



188 PIONEERS OF THE CLEVELAND IRON TRADE. 

The results obtained were so satisfactory that 
Mr. Barningham was able to realise a net 
profit of 40 per month. At this time, he 
was only nineteen years of age, although his 
appearance conveyed the impression that he 
was considerably older ; and considering the 
exceptional position he occupied, he was ex- 
tremely careful to conceal his juvenility from 
those with whom he came into contact. 
After enjoying this run of prosperity for six 
months, Mr. Barningham found his income 
gradually falling off, in consequence of the 
payment of reduced prices, until it only 
reached 20 per month ; and thinking, prob- 
ably, that there was little chance of further 
improving his position by remaining in 
France, he determined to return to England. 
Three brothers of Mr. Barningham were at 
this time employed in Manchester, and to 
them William suggested the project of open- 
ing in that city a foundry, specially adapted 
for colliery work. This foundry was estab- 
lished and carried on for about eighteen 
months, but without success, William having 
lost in the venture a great part of the money 
he had saved in France. In the course of a 
visit which he made to the Cleveland district, 
after the abandonment of the Manchester 
foundry, Mr. Barningham met Mr. John 
Harris, engineer and contractor for the main- 
tenance of the permanent way of the Stockton 



WILLIAM BABNINGHAM. 189 

and Darlington Railway, and engineer for the 
Wakefield and Goole Railway. In conse- 
quence of an interview between Mr. Harris 
and Mr, Barningham, it was determined that 
the latter should come to Middlesbrough and 
establish works for the manufacture of rail- 
way switches and crossings. These works 
were built on the site now occupied by the 
rolling mills of Hopkins, Gilkes, and Company. 
Mr. Barningham was at this time about 
totally destitute of means, but he had met at 
a temperance hotel, where he resided in Mid- 
dlesbrough, a Blyth shipowner named James 
Brown, who took a considerable interest 
in his plans, and advanced him a sum 
of 1,000, to enable him to carry on 
works at Middlesbrough, without requir- 
ing security for the loan. Fortunately 
the Middlesbrough Works turned out a suc- 
cessful undertaking, and in consideration of 
his kindness, Mr. Brown was admitted into 
partnership. 

While travelling about the country in 
search of orders for his works at Middles- 
brough, Mr. Barningham was struck with the 
fact that large quantities of worn out iron 
rails were lying about the works of the Lan- 
cashire and Yorkshire Railway Company, at 
Manchester. These rails were then sent 
back to be re-manufactured at the different 
works in Staffordshire, Wales, and Scotland, 



190 PIONEERS OF THE CLEVELAND IRON TRADE. 

where they were made. It appeared per- 
fectly evident, that to carry these old 
rails to either of these districts, and bring 
them back again to Manchester, would repre- 
sent a heavy cost for carriage. With the 
object of ascertaining whether this cost could 
not be avoided, by the establishment at Man- 
chester of works for the re-manufacture of 
used-up rails, Mr. Barninghaui waited on 
Admiral Lows, the general manager of the 
Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway, who was 
convinced of the practicability and value of 
the idea, and offered every inducement to Mr. 
Barningham in order that he might be in- 
duced to undertake the erection of such works. 
He even went the length of recommending 
an excellent site for the proposed works, be- 
tween the canal and the railway at Pendleton, 
just outside Manchester ; ;:nd committed the 
Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway Company 
to a contract for the re -manufacture of 4,000 
tons of rails, and 2,000 tons of railway chairs, 
when the works should be established. This 
was the origin of the great Pendleton Iron 
Works, which have been carried on by Mr. 
Barningham since that time wish unvarying 
success. 

After the Pendleton Works had been some 
time in operation, the attention of Mr. Bar- 
ningham was attracted to the advantages pre- 
sented by the new iron making district of 



WILLIAM BARNINGHAM. 191 

Cleveland, for the economical production of 
iron rails. His friend Mr. Brown was the 
first to call Mr. Barningham's attention to 
this matter, by quoting from newspapers and 
other sources paragraphs dealing with the re- 
quirements of the different railway companies 
throughout the world. One contract for 
50,000 tons of rails was advertised by the 
East India Railway Company ; and the owner 
of the Pendleton Works, although he should 
have liked to put in a quotation for this 
contract, was not in a position to do so. 
Apart from its limited size, the geographical 
position of the Pendleton Works unfitted them 
for carrying on the manufacture of rails on a 
large scale. Ultimately, therefore, Mr. Bar- 
ningham resolved on the establishment of 
works in Cleveland. In pursuance of this 
resolution, he visited the district, and several 
sites suitable for his purpose were pointed out 
to him by Mr. Samuel Chester, late manager 
of the West Hartlepool Railway. But Mr. 
Barningham saw no locality so well adapted 
to his purpose as Albert Hill, Darlington. 
On the main line between London and the 
North, and having excellent facilities for 
reaching shipping ports oh the North-East 
coast, it was also placed in close proximity to 
the South Durham blast furnaces, from which 
the pig iron could be obtained free of any 
freightage charges. Some time afterwards, 



192 PIONEERS OF THE CLEVELAND IRON TRADE. 

he met the late Mr. Frank Harker, then 
manager of the South Durham blast fur- 
naces, and the late Mr. John Harris, the 
then engineer of the Stockton and Dar- 
lington Railway. To these gentlemen Mr. 
Barningham unfolded his views, taking care, 
however, to keep them ignorant of his selec- 
tion of Albert Hill as the site of his proposed 
works. When he had returned to Darlington, 
Mr. Harker saw Mr. Henry Pease, one of the 
then directors of the South Durham Iron- 
works, and informed him of Mr. Barningham's 
intentions. Discerning that such works could 
be worked in profitable conjunction with the 
South Durham blast furnaces, Mr. Pease en- 
deavoured to persuade Mr. Barningham to 
erect his works on Albert Hill ; and the latter, 
on receiving an offer of 4| acres of land at 
350 per acre, with an option as to the pur- 
chase of other eight acres at 300 per acre, 
agreed to comply with the invitation. It is 
seventeen years last April since Mr. Barning- 
ham visited the North to select a site for his 
proposed new works, and by April of the fol- 
lowing year, the works were far advanced to- 
wards completion. The site, however, ap- 
peared to be so circumscribed, and the pro- 
jector had such large ideas of further devel- 
opment that he shortly afterwards purchased 
the Springfield farm, eight-five acres in ex- 
tent, for a sum of 11,000 ; and as illustrat- 



WILLIAM BARNINGHAM. 193 

ing the enormous increase in the value of 
property within the last fifteen years, we may 
add here that ground in the same locality 
has recently been bought for 1,000 per 
acre. 

The first contract undertaken by Mr. Bar- 
ningham, after the Albert Hill Works were 
completed, was an order for the permanent 
way of a railway between Calcutta and Port 
Canning, twenty-one miles in length. This 
was followed shortly afterwards by a contract 
for the great bulk of the rails necessary to 
lay the Eastern Bengal Railway, 160 miles in 
length. For every railway in India, except 
the Bombay and Baroada, and the great 
Indian and Peninsular, the rails have been 
supplied either in whole or in part by Mr. 
Barningham ; while no name is better known 
among the railway interests of America. A 
great portion of the rails required for the 
Pacific line, were made at the Albert Hill 
Works ; and while he had this work on hand, 
Mr. Barningham became necessarily involved 
in large financial transactions with the notori- 
ous Jay Cooke and his friends. In 1867 Mr. 
Barningham concluded a contract with the 
Imperial Government of Russia for the supply 
of 6,000 tons of rails; and some little time 
afterwards he was asked to supply the rails 
for the Czar's private railway to Sarscasils. 
In connection with these important contracts, 



194 PIONEERS OF THE CLEVELAND IRON TRADE. 

Mr. Barningham paid a visit to Russia in 
1868, and at St. Petersburg he had an inter- 
view with General MelinkofF, the Minister of 
Public Works, who strongly advised him to 
establish ironworks, near to Taganrog, on the 
sea of Azoff, in Southern Russia. The in- 
ducements held out to the adoption of this 
course were so tempting, that Mr. Barning- 
ham had actually proceeded as far as Moscow 
with the view of making a survey of the dis- 
trict round about Taganrog, and ascertaining 
its rescources for the carrying on of works, 
as suggested by General MelinkofF; but 
pressing business necessitated his return to 
England, before he could carry out his plans 
in reference to Russia. The project has since 
been carried out by an Englishman named 
Hughes, aided by the late Mr. Thomas 
Brassey, and a handsome subsidy from the 
Imperial Treasury ; and the works are said to 
be very successful. 

Enough has been said in the earlier part of 
this biography to show that Mr. Barningham 
has always bad a talent for mechanics. He is 
the patentee of a valuable invention which 
was highly approved of by the late Mr. 
Brunei; an engineer of European fame, and 
has been adopted on the Australian and other 
railways. It consists in the combination of 
two railway fishes and two railway chairs, in 
separate pieces, thus forming a girder from 



WILLIAM BARN ING HAM. 195 

sleeper to sleeper. Another novel idea of Mr. 
Barningham's, although it has not yet been 
practically adopted, was illustrated for some 
years on the walls of the Stockton and Dar- 
lington Railway Station at the latter town. Mr. 
Barningham proposed to feed blast furnaces 
by running the trucks filled with the raw 
material up an incline, and then allowing 
them to pass over the furnace, dropping their 
contents into the furnace as they did so, in- 
stead of distributing the material in barrow- 
fuls as at present, thus avoiding the cost of 
hoisting it to the top of the furnace in small 
quantities. If the idea were practicable and 
we do not say that it is not it would un- 
doubtedly lead to a great economy in blast 
furnace operations ; but no blast ' furnace 
engineer has yet been induced to make the 
attempt. 



XL DAVID DALE. 

THE name of Mr. David Dale will always be 
associated more, perhaps, than any other 
with the Board of Arbitration and Con- 
ciliation, established m 1869, for the set- 
tlement of disputes arising in connection with 
the North of England iron trade. Of that 
highly useful tribunal he was one of the 
original and most active promoters, and since 
its formation he has been its first and only 
President. But there are many other phases 
in Mr. Dale's career closely interwoven with 
the development of the iron trade of Cleve- 
land. Railway management has received a 
large share of his attention. Mining enter- 
prise has likewise been indebted to his labours. 
His financial talents have repeatedly been 
called into requisition in almost hopeless 
cases of emergency ; and at the present time 
he occupies a position of prominent usefulness 
and influence subordinate to none in the dis- 
trict with which he is connected. 

Mr. Dale was born in British India. His 
father was judge of the City Court of Moors- 



DAVID DALE. 197 

hadabad, in the East India Company's Bengal 
service. His grandfather was the brother of 
that David Dale who founded the New 
Lanark Mills, near Glasgow, and of whom his ' 
grandson, Robert Dale Owen, has recently 
recorded many interesting reminiscences in 
the Atlantic Monthly. While he was yet an 
infant the subject of this biography left India 
in the company of his father and mother, but 
the former died on the voyage home. Arrived 
in England, Mrs. Dale took the route to New 
Lanark, intending to sojourn for a time with 
her husband's friends there. An accident to 
the mail coach when within a few miles of 
Darlington, caused her such serious injuries 
that she was unable to proceed further. 
Friendless and alone, she had no private 
house to fall back upon, and was therefore 
necessitated to put up at the King's Head, in 
Darlington, where she met with so much 
kindness and attention from some of the 
" Friends," as induced her shortly after- 
wards to return and settle in that town. 
Thus it was, in a purely accidental way, that 
Mr. Dale became connected with Darlington. 
Commencing his business career in the 
office of the Stockton and Darlington Kailway 
Company, under the late Mr. Macnay, Mr. 
Dale had been accustomed from his earliest 
years to understand and deal with the special 
requirements of the Cleveland district. He 



198 PIONEERS OF THE CLEVELAND IRON TRADE. 

showed such conspicuous business aptitude 
that when little more than twenty years of 
age, he was appointed secretary to the Mid- 
'dlesbrough and Guisborough section of the 
Stockton and Darlington system. After oc- 
cupying for six -years a secretarial position, 
he entered into partnership with Mr. W. 
Bouch, and became part lessee of the Shildon 
Locomotive Works, at the village of that 
name, distant about six miles from Darling- 
ton. Under an arrangement with the Board 
of the Darlington and Stockton section, the 
working of that line was done by contract 
with Messrs. Bouch and Dale, carrying on 
business as the Shildon Works Company. 
This was an undertaking of a very respon- 
sible and extensive kind, the heavy mineral 
traffic of the Darlington section requiring 
much skill and care in its management. But 
it was also a prosperous enterprise, as, indeed, 
it could hardly fail to be under the control of 
two gentlemen so eminently qualified to carry 
it on. Mr. Bouch is an engineer of large 
experience and exceptional attainments. Lo- 
comotive engineering owes to his ingenuity 
many improvements of the most valuable 
kind. He has patented a new application of 
reversing gear, which enables an engine to be 
drawn up while running full speed without 
knocking off steam ; and this device, when 
exhibited by Mr. Stephenson at tlte last Paris 



DAVID DALE. 199 

Exhibition, attracted much attention from the 
engineering profession. Another invention 
of Mr. Bouch's is a patent steam retarder, 
which acts as an efficient brake, by admitting 
steam on each side of the piston. Both of 
these improvements and several others that 
owe their paternity to the same gentleman 
are now applied to all the engines built for 
the Stockton and Darlington system. It was 
Mr. Bouch's business under the co-partnery 
agreement to look after the practical working 
while Mr. Dale attended to financial arrange- 
ments and correspondence. The Shildon 
Works grew and prospered to such an extent, 
that their locale had to be removed a few 
years ago from Shildon to Darlington. The 
new works have been built on a very extensive 
scale. They give employment to over 1,000 
hands, not only in the maintenance of the large 
stock of locomotives belonging to the Dar- 
lington section, but in the building of many 
new engines to keep that stock up to the 
highest point of efficiency. Three of the 
last passenger engines built have each two 
cylinders 17 inches diameter and a stroke of 30 
inches. They work at a boiler pressure of 140 
Ibs. per square inch. The driving wheels are 
7 feet diameter, and the maximum speed at- 
tainable is 70 miles an hour. Owing to their 
enormous size and power, these engines have 
been styled " Gmx's Babies." The arrange- 



200 PIONEERS OF THE CLEVELAND IRON TRADE. 

ment under which Mr. Dale became connected 
with the Shildon works terminated three or 
four years ago, and now the locomotive man- 
agement is conducted under rather different 
conditions, although the Darlington section 
still depends upon these works for all their 
locomotive power. 

Mr. Dale's connection with the iron trade of 
the North of England commencedin 1857. On 
the stoppage of the Northumberland and Dur- 
ham District Bank in that year, the Derwent 
Iron Company, to whom the Consett Iron Works 
belonged, became insolvent. Mr. Dale was 
then appointed, in conjunction with Mr. J. W. 
Pease, M.P., and the late Colonel Stobart, of 
Etherley, one of the inspectors under whose 
control the Consett works were to be carried 
on by Mr. Jonathan Richardson on behalf of 
the creditors. The affairs of the company 
were in a very involved condition ; and as 
Mr. Dale was the really responsible inspector, 
(his colleagues being simply consulted on 
matters of the utmost moment), his appoint- 
ment was anything but a sinecure. The 
office, however, was not one of long duration. 
The arrangement made with Mr. Richardson 
was superseded on the purchase of the works 
at Consett by the Derwent and Consett Iron 
Company, of whom Mr. Allhusen, of New- 
castle, Mr. Jonathan Priestman, and Mr. 
Joseph Hawks were the managing directors. 



DAVID DALE. 201 

Owing, however, to the Derwent and Con sett 
Iron Company being unable to complete their 
purchase, the works again came into the 
market after about two years possession by 
that proprietary, and the present company 
was then formed in April, 1864, with a capital 
of 400,000, divided into 40,000 shares of 
10 each, Mr. Dale and Mr. Priestman being 
appointed managing directors. Of this amount, 
only 295,318 was paid for the works, 
plant, and royalties owned by the old com- 
pany. Considering the immense extent of 
the concern, the purchase was a decidedly 
cheap one, although none of the eighteen 
furnaces then built were adapted to the modern 
requirements of the trade ; and they have all 
been since demolished. In September, 1866, 
the company purchased the adjoining works 
of the Shotley Bridge Iron Company, and 
thereupon created 6,000 additional shares of 
10 each, making 60,000 additional capital. 
In September, 1872, 9,200 additional shares, 
of the nominal value of 10 each, were al- 
lotted to the then proprietors out of the 
revenue of the company, 7 10s per share 
being paid at once on each new creation of 
capital. 

It would be impossible to find in the whole 
industrial experience of this country, a greater 
contrast than that presented by the Consett 
Iron Works under their past and present 



202 PIONEERS OF THE CLEVELAND IRON TRADE. 

management. The undertaking was originally 
one of the most gigantic of its kind in the 
United Kingdom, for there are no ironworks 
even at the present day that can boast of so 
many as eighteen blast furnaces. The rock 
upon which the Derwent Company split would 
appear to be that of developing their concern 
too rapidly. They experienced the fate that 
proverbially attends " vaulting ambition " 
they " o'erleaped themselves and fell on 
t'other side." Their case was by no means 
singular. The Ayrshire Ironworks, in Scot- 
land, " fell from its high estate," from kindred 
causes, and the plant, etc., which originally cost 
close on 100,000, had to be disposed of in 
liquidation for the miserably inadequate sum 
of 20,000. Both of these concerns came to 
grief in the same panic ; but both had un- 
doubtedly internal and probably insurmount- 
able elements of weakness, apart from the 
final crash that laid them prostrate. Under 
the new regime the Consett works have en- 
joyed a large and uninterrupted run of pros- 
perity. From the formation of the company, 
in 1864, until the 30th June, 1870, the divi- 
dends of the company averaged 10 per cent, 
after defraying the cost of building six large 
blast furnaces out of revenue, and making 
other considerable improvements and ad- 
ditions to the works. Since 1870. the divi- 
dends paid to the shareholders have been 



DAVID DALE. 203 

even higher. At the present time it is 
unquestionably one of the most substantial 
and flourishing concerns in the North of 
England. The company own large coal 
royalties, from which they raise sufficient to 
supply the whole of their own blast furnaces, 
mills, and forges, and leave a considerable 
surplus for sale. They are also exceptionally 
well off as regards the supply of other 
minerals. Their predecessors the Derwent 
Iron Company formerly owned the cele- 
brated Stanhope Limestone Quarries, which 
were sold to the Stockton and Darlington 
Railway Company, subject to the supply of 
the Consett works, for many years, at a very 
low figure. In like manner, the Derwent 
Company owned the Upleatham ironstone 
mines in Cleveland ; and these were disposed 
of to Messrs. J. and J. W. Pease and Partners, 
on the formation of the new proprietary, 
under similar conditions. More than any 
other firm in the Cleveland district, the 
Consett Iron Company make use of the 
hematite ores of Cumberland and Westmor- 
land, this quality being the most suitable for 
the manufacture of ship plates, which is the 
staple produce of these works. The increasing 
scarcity of the Cumberland hematite, has led 
the Company within the last two years, to enter 
into arrangements for the acquisition and 
development of large hematite royalties at 



204 PIONEERS OF THE CLEVELAND IRON TRADE. 

Bilbao, in Spain, in conjunction with the 
Dowlais Iron Company and the celebrated 
Prussian gunmaker, Mr. Krupp, of Essen. 

The Consett Company give employment to 
between 5,000 and 6,000 work people. They 
have now six blast furnaces in operation, each 
capable of producing 450 tons of pig iron per 
week. It was at these works that Whitwell's 
patent fire-brick hot blast stoves were first 
fitted up, and it will be remembered that the 
patentee, at the Dudley meeting of the Iron 
and Steel Institute, read a paper containing 
much interesting information as to the re- 
sults obtained from the use of his stoves at 
Consett. The crude pig iron manufactured 
at Consett is almost entirely used in the mills 
and forges adjacent. In the puddling depart- 
ment there are 150 furnaces, two forge en- 
gines, five steam hammers, and all other 
necessary appliances for the turn out of a 
large quantity of work. In their speciality 
of ship plates the Consett Iron Company 
make more than any other individual firm in 
the country. Four out of the five rolling 
mills in operation are exclusively engaged on 
ship plates, the fifth being adapted for rails. 
From 1,200 to 1,300 tons of plates can be 
made here weekly, while the production of 
rails varies from 600 to 800 tons per week. 
The company have a large continental and 
American connection ; while their plates are 



DAVID DALE. 205 

known to, and more or less used by almost 
every shipbuilder in the British empire. The 
wages paid at Consett is something like 
360,000 per annum, all told ; and the value 
of the sales at the Co-operative Stores carried 
on in connection with the works is nearly 
20,000 per annum. The Company own 
1,500 workmen's cottages on their property, 
and the education of the rising generation 
has been provided for by the erection of 
schools capable of accommodating 1,300 to 
1,400 children. The manufacture of coke is 
extensively carried on, near to the iron- 
works, the company having upwards of 
560 coke ovens, from which they not 
only supply their own furnaces, but serve 
several works in the Cumberland district, and 
the locomotives on the Northern railways. 
The total output of coal from the company's 
collieries is about 12,000 tons per week. 
Taken as a whole, the Consett Company's 
Works are the largest in the North of Eng- 
land with perhaps three or at the most four 
exceptions. 

When the proneness to take advantage of 
the Limited Liability Act was so rampant in 
1866, a project was initiated for the amalga- 
mation of the three important shipbuilding 
and engineering firms of Richardson, Denton, 
Duck, and Company, South Stockton ; Den- 
ton, Grey, and Company, Hartlepool ; and 



206 PIONEERS OF THE CLEVELAND IRON TRADE. 

Thomas Richardson and Sons. Hartlepool, 
under the designation of Richardson s, Den- 
ton, Duck, and Company. The object of this 
amalgamation was twofold. It was under- 
taken, in the first place, with a view to the 
more advantageous and extended working of 
the firms forming the triumvirate ; and in 
the next place it was designed to take ad- 
vantage of the Limited Liability Act. Mr. 
Dale was appointed vice-chairman of this 
huge undertaking, which, however, was not 
found to work so satisfactorily in combination 
as was expected ; and it was, therefore, soon 
resolved into its original separate elements. 
In this connection it may be observed that, 
along with Mr. Robert Fletcher and Mr. 
Nicholson, of Manchester, Mr. Dale, who has 
had no previous connection with the concern, 
was elected one of the liquidators of that ill- 
started venture Pile, Spence, and Company 
(Limited) which, after giving promise of 
great things, and securing the confidence and 
means of hundreds of gullible shareholders, 
closed its career like a " flash in the pan," 
and involved many of its too confiding vic- 
tims in absolute ruin. Among other local 
concerns with which Mr. Dale is identified, 
mention may be made of the Weardale and 
Shildon Water Works Company, of which he 
has been vice-chairman for several years. 
He is also associated with two or three smaller 



DAVID DALE. 207 

concerns of an industrial character, either as 
shareholder or director. 

Since its formation in 1868, Mr. Dale has 
acted as honorary treasurer of the Iron and 
Steel Institute of Great Britain. At the 
time of its formation he was one of its most 
zealous advocates, and as a member of the 
committee appointed under the resolution 
that decreed its formation, he has done much 
to make it a success, although we believe he 
has not as yet contributed any papers to its 
proceedings. 

Under the Mines' Regulation Act of 1872, 
a Board required to be created in each 
mining inspection district, consisting of three 
colliery owners, three colliery or mining en- 
gineers, and three workmen, along with the 
Government Inspector. The duty of the 
Board is to appoint examiners and to define 
the subjects and character of the examination 
for certificates entitling their holders to be 
managers of collieries or mines under the Act, 
which provides that every mine and colliery 
must now be under the control of a certifica- 
ted manager. When the Board for South 
Durham and Cleveland was formed in the 
early part of the present year, Mr. Dale was 
at once appointed president, a position 
not more honourable than onerous in its 
nature. A new motive power, no matter how 
simple its mechanism may be, is generally 



208 PIONEERS OF THE CLEVELAND IRON TRADE. 

somewhat difficult to get into full and proper 
working order ; but in this case the Board 
started on its career with the promise of a 
high degree of usefulness and efficiency, and 
without the operation of any disqualifications 
or trammels likely to interfere with the ful- 
filment of its high functions. 

About four years ago Mr. Dale was ap- 
pointed managing director of the Stockton 
and Darlington Railway. In our sketch of 
the late Mr. Joseph Pease, we spoke of the 
importance of this section, not only on its 
own merits, but as a feeder to the more com- 
prehensive system of the North-Eastern 
Company, in which it is now absorbed. The 
traffic in minerals is larger than that of any 
other system of corresponding extent in the 
world ; and the revenues of the company are 
proportionately great. But, more than this, 
the system is quite a monopoly throughout 
its entire length. Between Benfieldside 
and Saltburn-by-the-Sea the two termini of 
the line there is no alternative route. All 
the coal and coke from the South Durham 
coal-field, and all the limestone from Forcett, 
Stanhope, and other parts of Weardale 
is carried into the Cleveland district by this 
railway, while the great bulk of the iron and 
ironstone sent out of Cleveland must traverse 
the same route. In his management of the 
Darlington section, Mr. Dale has stuck pretty 



DAVID DALE. 209 

closely to the somewhat hard and fast line 
laid down by his predecessors. Its manage- 
ment is still a mild sort of despotism. 
The austere and rigorous habits and prin- 
ciples of the communion that has so long 
dominated over it may still be seen and felt. 
The first passenger railway in England is 
undoubtedly somewhat behind, or at any rate 
out of harmony with the times. Querulous 
travellers and "jolly good fellows" may 
look hopefully forward to the time when 
an administration shall arise that knows 
not the Quakers when bitter beer and 
brandy galore shall be accessible at every 
refreshment room. After all, however, the 
primary duty of a managing director is 
towards the shareholders, and under Mr. 
Dale, the dividends of the Stockton and 
Darlington section have not come to grief. 

Opinions may differ as to the principles which 
govern the application of arbitration in 
the settlement of trade disputes ; but there 
is no room for doubt as to the immense good 
which the use of that system has effected in 
the North of -England. Arbitration is by no 
means a new thing. Its merits and rationale 
had been foreshadowed by speculative philos- 
ophers long before its use was fafrly resorted 
to in this country. As a means of arranging 
trade difficulties and disputes, it was first suc- 
cessfully applied by Mr. Mundella, M.P., to 

M 



210 PIONEERS OF THE CLEVELAND IROK TRADE. 

the hosiery and other trades of Nottingham, 
and by Mr. Rupert Kettle, County Court 
Judge of Worcestershire, to the building 
trades of Wolverhampton. But the system 
was yet in its infancy when it was determined 
to apply it to the iron trade of the North of 
England. This was in the early part of 1869. 
The idea of setting up such a tribunal as a 
permanent mode of settling trade difficulties 
was first broached at a meeting of the North 
of England iron trade, the original suggestion 
emanating from Mr. Dale. On the first Mon- 
day in March, 1869, the Board was formally 
constituted. Its object was declared to be "to 
arbitrate on wages, or on any other matters 
affecting their respective interests that may 
be referred to it from time to time by either 
employers or operatives, by conciliatory 
means to interpose its influence to prevent 
disputes, and to put an end to any that may 
arise." The constitution of the Board pro- 
vides that it shall be composed of one em- 
ployer and one operative from each works 
joining it ; and both employers and operatives 
must select their representatives at meetings 
to be held in December of each year. There 
is a standing committee consisting of four 
employers and four operatives, in addition to 
the president and vice-president, to which all 
questions are in the first instance referred for 
investigation. This committee endeavour to 



DAVID DALE. 211 

settle matters coming before them, but have 
no power to make any award. It was unani- 
mously resolved that Mr. David Dale should 
be appointed the first president of the Board, 
the vice-president being chosen from among 
and by the operatives. It would be a mis- 
take to say that since its establishment the 
Board has worked with unvarying smoothness, 
that it has realised all the expectations of its 
promoters, or that it has prevented entirely 
the occurrence of trade disputes. But it is 
simple justice to say that its inauguration 
ushered in a millennium of peace and goodwill 
between employers and employed, compared 
with the chaotic and demoralizing state of 
matters that previously existed. In the iron 
trade of the North of England, the principle 
of arbitration found itself face to face with 
elements that it had never before encountered. 
There were many thousands of workmen 
guided by and dependent upon its application. 
Within a month after it was established it was 
resolved to call in Mr. Rupert Kettle to de- 
termine a claim for increased wages upon 
which the Board itself was unable to agree. 
Mr. Kettle's decision was accepted as satisfac- 
tory, and after his award had been delivered 
he was presented with a handsome testi- 
monial. But when the next case of difference 
arose, Mr. Thomas Hughes, the late member for 
Frome, and the author of " Tom Brown's 



212 PIONEERS OP TttE CLEVELAND IRON TRADE. 

School Days," was asked to undertake the 
duties of arbitrator. In his case, as in the 
case of Mr. Kettle, all the data necessary 
to lead to a just and sound conclusion were 
supplied. The employers produced their con- 
tract books and the terms of their specifica- 
tions, while the workmen pointed to the 
wages paid in other districts, and furnished 
collateral arguments in support of their 
claim. The first awards of Mr. Hughes were 
satisfactory to both sides ; but his last 
award was received by the workmen with 
intense dissatisfaction ; and at the meet- 
ing at which it was announced, he was 
so roughly handled, and treated with so much 
disrespect, that he vowed he would never 
again undertake a similar duty. This is 
probably the ugliest phase of the Board's 
career. Although there have been oc- 
casional strikes at individual works, there 
never has, since a Court, of Arbitration was 
established in the district, been a general and 
concerted strike. It is scarcely necessary to 
add that this happy change in the relations of 
employer and employed has been productive 
of equal benefit to both. The masters can 
now book contracts with the assurance that 
wages in certain departments will remain un- 
altered for a definite period, and that in these 
departments, also, there is no likelihood of 
anything occuring to disturb the even course 



DAVID DALE. 



213 



of his arrangements ; while the workmen 
have realised the unspeakable advantage of 
regular wages without any serious breaks in 
their time by circumstances within their own 
control. Those of them who took part in the 
great and desolating strike of 1866 will 
fully appreciate the beneficent effects of .the 
change which the Court of Arbitration brought 
about. Looking at it, indeed, from a purely 
utlitarian and politico-economic point of view, 
it must have saved many thousands of pounds 
to the district ; and from a humanitarian 
aspect, it may be said to have achieved still 
greater triumphs. It has put an end to the 
<k brutal arbitrament of the sword," and sub- 
stituted in its stead the sober, rational, un- 
impassioned judgment of impartial and un- 
prejudiced men. It is true that arbitration 
has not always and in all circumstances been 
equally successful. It was attempted in 
Scotland in 1870. when Mr. George Anderson, 
M.P., was asked to decide on the disputed 
claims of a large body of ironworkers ; but 
Mr. Anderson's award was such a prolific 
source of discontent and rancour, that there 
was another strike immediately on the back 
of its publication; and many of those interested, 
including both masters and workmen, have re- 
solved to have nothing more to do with arbitra- 
tion in the time to come. In South Stafford- 
shire, on the other hand, a Court of 



214 PIONEERS OF THE CLEVELAND IRON TRADE. 

Conciliation has lately been established 
on a basis much resembling that on which the 
North of England Board is founded, and 
with highly successful results. 

Much of the success of the Northern Board 
of Arbitration is due to the mingled tact, 
firmness, and discrimination of its president. 
Mr. David Dale is the possessor of an emi- 
nently judicial mind. He is also well versed 
in all the virtues of diplomacy not a diplo- 
macy of a mean, subservient, unconscionable 
kind but of that loftier quality that discrimi- 
nates between seemingly irreconcileable 
issues, and opens up a pathway to their per- 
fect agreement. He is fertile in the sugges- 
tion of expedients, which remove many 
difficulties from the way of an amicable 
understanding between the rival interests 
represented at the Arbitration Board. But, 
above all, he preserves an unruffled tem- 
per ; and through his equable behaviour, good 
humour is reflected upon his less self- 
controlled coilaborateurs who would, probably, 
but for his influence, be prone to fall out by 
the way. In recognition of his valuable 
services to the Arbitration Board, Mr. Dale 
was in April, 1870, publicly presented with 
an address, subscribed by the representatives 
of every firm connected with the institution, 
in which the most flattering testimony was 
borne to his conduct of its proceedings. 



DAVID DALE. 215 

Mr. Dale is a Justice of the Peace for the 
county of Durham, and is intimately mixed 
up with the various public, religious, political, 
educational, and benevolent institutions of the 
southern division of the county. On the 
death of the late Mr. Gurney Pease, he be- 
came a partner in the firm of Joseph Pease 
and Partners ; and at the same time he was 
admitted into the firm of J. and J. W. Pease. 
In this capacity he is now one of the largest 
mineral owners in the North of England. 
He is married to the widow of the late Mr. 
H. Whitwell, C.E., by whom he has two 
children. 



XII BERNH1RD SA1UELSON, M,P. 



DURING the last few years, a combination of 
causes, all more or less exceptional, has re- 
sulted in bringing the name of Mr. Bernhard 
Samuelson prominently before his country- 
men at home and abroad. Not the least 
important of these has been his efforts on 
behalf of technical education. More than 
any man of his time he has become identified 
with this question. He has looked at it from 
all points of the mental compass. By his 
means its consideration has been forced upon 
the Government, and it is due to him that we 
now know, better than we ever did before, how 
we stand in the industrial balance as compared 
with Continental countries. In a letter 
addressed to the Vice-President of the 
Council, printed by order of the House of 
Commons in 1868, Mr. Samuelson clearly and 
ably pointed out the necessity of systematic 
technical instruction, in order to maintain and 
develope our national industries. We have, 
however, chiefly to speak of Mr. Samuelson 



BEHNHARD SAMUKLSON, M.P. 217 

with regard to his long and important con- 
nection with Cleveland a connection scarcely 
less large and influential than that of any who 
have been associated with him in the same 
sphere of enterprise. 

Mr. Bernhard Samuelson was born on the 
22nd day of November, 1820. His father 
was a Liverpool merchant in a rather extensive 
way of business. After being educated at a 
private school, taught by the Kev. J. Blezards, 
vicar of Skerlaugh, Yorkshire, young Bern- 
hard entered a mercantile office in Liverpool, 
where he was employed for six years. He 
then went to the continent, where he was 
engaged to look after the extensive contracts 
in locomotive work of Messrs. Sharp, Stewart, 
and Company of Manchester. His connection 
with this well-known firm was both useful and 
profitable, for he made the acquaintance of 
some of the most eminent Continental 
engineers, and the character of his avocations 
demanded that he should be continually mov- 
ing from place to place. In this way he saw 
a great deal of Continental life, especially in 
France and Germany, and he made the most 
of his abundant opportunities for studying the 
special merits and requirements of Continental 
engineering. He was led also to engage in 
some speculations of his own, which turned 
out to be remunerative. Returning to Eng- 
land in his twenty-eighth year, he became the 



218 PIONEERS OF THE CLEVELAND IRON TRADE. 

purchaser of a small implement works and 
foundry at Banbury, where he took up his 
abode. Into this concern he threw his whole 
energies for a number of years, until he has 
made it famous all over the world. Samuel- 
son's agricultural implements are perhaps as 
well known in Russia and Italy as they are 
among the farmers of Kent and ISussex. The 
firm have for many years done a very large 
export trade. In 1872 they turned out the 
enormous number of over 8,000 reaping- 
machines. Some kinds of implements are of 
Mr. Samuelson's own invention, and are made 
only at Banbury. Of course, the works have 
very largely increased in the hands of their 
present proprietor, until now they are prob- 
ably the largest of their kind in England. 

In the autumn of 1853, Mr. Samuelson 
attended the Cleveland Agricultural Society's 
Show, held that year at Stokesley, in order 
to exhibit a new digging-machine, which 
he had just patented. It was his first visit 
to Cleveland. Personally he knew nothing 
whatever of the district. The most he had 
heard of it was that it was a splendid field for 
agricultural operations, and he expected, 
doubtless, to do a good stroke of business 
among the farmers. He had heard also of 
John Vaughan, although he had never met 
him. As a gentleman indirectly concerned 
in the iron trade, he could not but be solicitous 



BERN HARD SAMUELSON, M.P. 219 

to witness the results of Mr. Vaughan's 
achievements. In common with many others 
who were not near enough the root of the 
prejudice to have their minds disabused, he 
had been led to form anything but a favour- 
able opinion as to the qualities of the Cleve- 
land ironstone. The idea of becoming 
more directly connected with the iron trade 
had, however, long been in his thoughts, 
and a fortuitous chain of events ultimately 
led up to that result. He was introduced 
to Mr. Vaughan by the late Mr. Dock- 
ray, resident engineer of the London and 
North-Eastern Railway, and Mr. Vaughan in 
his usually open and communicative manner, 
disclosed the position and prospects of the 
district. He spoke of what had been done in 
the way of opening up the Cleveland iron- 
stone, the supplies of which he declared to be 
illimitable. Mr. Samuelson had previously 
visited the works at, Eston, in the company of 
Mr. T. Parrington, whose guest he was, and he 
interpreted aright the merits of the situation. 
He saw that in its most embryo state, the 
district contained all the elements of pros- 
pective greatness. So thoroughly had he 
become infected with Mr. Vaughan's spirit of 
sanguine hope and confidence, that before he 
left Cleveland he had concluded arrangements 
for the purchase of a site at South Bank for 
the erection of blast furnaces. This locale was 



220 PIONEERS OF THE CLEVELAND IRON TRADE. 

within a mile of the works of Messrs. Bolckow 
and Vaughan at Eston, and it was agreed that 
the latter firm should supply the South Bank 
furnaces with ironstone from their Eston 
mines. At that time the whole of the inter- 
vening space between Eston and the Middles- 
brough Docks was almost a complete waste. 
South Bank, where there is now a population 
of some 4,000 or 5,000, was represented by one 
or two small tumble-down farm steadings. 
Elwon and Company had just commenced to 
erect the Cleveland furnaces near by, and 
there were incipient manifestations of indus- 
trial activity about the hamlet of Ormesby, 
where Messrs. Cochrane and Company had 
begun to erect four furnaces. Mr. Samuelson 
decided on erecting three furnaces at South 
Bank, each 50 feet in height, by 14 feet dia- 
meter at their boshes or widest part, and a 
cubical capacity of 5,050 feet. He carried 
on the Eston Works until the year 1863, 
when he disposed of them to Major Elwon, 
who subsequently sold them to Mr. Thomas 
Vaughan. Under the ownership of the latter 
gentleman the works have been so much ex- 
tended that they are now among the largest 
of their kind in the North of England. 

Mr. Samuelson, did not however, abandon 
his connection with the Cleveland district. 
On the very day on which the sale of South 
Bank Works to Major Elwon was concluded, 



HERN HARD SAMtJELSON, M.P. 

he commenced negotiations for the purchase of 
a site, and erected four furnaces at Newport, 
within a short distance of Middlesbrough. 
These four furnaces were each 69 feet in 
height and 20 feet diameter at their widest 
part. Two years previously, Messrs. Bolc- 
kow and Vaughan had built at Middlesbrough 
two furnaces 75 feet in height and 16 feet 6 
inches in diameter. But Mr. Samuelson 
was not fully persuaded of the advanta- 
ges of a great height in the blast furnace. 
He seemed to think that more sterling ad- 
vantages would accrue from an increase of 
cubical capacity. Accordingly we find that 
he gave each of his furnaces a capacity of 
15,500 cubic feet, or nearly 3,000 feet more 
than the next largest furnaces at that time 
built in Cleveland. Four years later in 
1868 he added another furnace to his New- 
port Works, and in 1870 he built three more 
furnaces, making eight in all. Unitedly 
these furnaces are equal to the production 
of 2,500 to 3,000 tons of pig iron per week. 
They are fitted up in the most modern style, 
and with such a scrupulous regard to the ful- 
filment of every known economical condition 
that in May, 1871, Mr. Samuelson deemed it 
worth while to bring them under the notice 
of the Institution of Civil Engineers. In the 
course of his paper, Mr. Samuelson pointed 
out that whereas in three furnaces erected 



222 PIONEERS OF THE CLEVELAND IRON TRADE. 

by him in 1854 for smelting the same ore, 
the quantity of fuel required to produce a 
single ton of pig iron varied from 30 to 40 
cwts., and in five furnaces erected in 1863-8 
from 23 to 24 cwts. ; the coke consumed in 
the two new furnaces was only 20*35 cwts. 
He showed also that this great economy of 
fuel was due, first to greater capacity, aug- 
mented from 5,000 cubic feet in the earlier 
furnaces to 1 6,000 in those next erected, and 
to 30,000 cubic feet in the two furnaces built 
in 1870. In the next place, a saving 
of fuel was due to increased temperature at 
the tuyeres the blast having been increased 
from 680 in the earlier to 1,100 in the lat- 
ter furnaces ; and, lastly, he attributed the 
economy gained to increased regularity in 
working, the result of improvements of con- 
struction, all aiming at the greatest attain- 
able solidity and simplicity. The entire cost 
of erecting these two latter furnaces, with 
accessory appliances, was stated by Mr. 
Samuelson to be 53,331 4s. 4d., exclu- 
sive of the price of land. 

The last and most important venture in 
which Mr. Samuelson embarked was the con- 
struction of the Britannia Ironworks, Middles- 
brough, which were commenced in July, 
1870. The site selected for these works was, 
up till that time, a waste marsh ; and it had 
to be made available for the purposes of the 



SAMUELSOK, M.P. 223 

works by covering it with slag. We believe 
the plant of these works which are adapted 
for the manufacture of all kinds of finished 
iron is the largest ever put down at one 
time. Standing upon twenty acres of land, 
the Britannia Works, as now in operation, 
comprise two departments technically known 
as the forge and the mill. The forge con- 
tains 120 puddling furnaces, and in the mill 
there are twelve of Siemens' gas-heating fur- 
naces, with the necessary apparatus for gen- 
erating the gas. The machinery is of the 
newest and most approved description, in- 
cluding a blooming mill on White's patent, 
and Brown's patent rail mill. The forge is 
capable of producing 1,200 to 1.400 tons per 
week of puddled bars. Within the last two 
years the Britannia Works have been trans- 
ferred to a limited liability company, with an 
ordinary share capital of 200,000 in 4,000 
shares of 50 each, and we learn from the 
prospectus that " the works are disposed of 
in consequence of the desire of the principal 
proprietor Mr. Samuelson to retire as op- 
portunity offers from all business engage- 
ments requiring his personal attention." 

His unsuccessful attempt to manufacture 
steel from Cleveland iron is probably the 
most interesting phase ,01 Mr. Samuelson's 
experience as an ironmaster. In the course 
of his travels on the Continent Mr. Samuel- 



224 PIONEERS OP THE CLEVELAND IRON TRADE. 

son witnessed the operation of the Siemens- 
Martin patent for the manufacture of steel, 
and was much struck with its apparent sim- 
plicity and effectiveness. He could not see 
why the native iron of Cleveland should not 
be made into steel with as much ease as the 
Spiegeleisen of Germany, or the hematite ores 
of Cumberland and other districts. But in 
order to put his ideas to a practical test, he 
caused a quantity of iron made at the New- 
port Works from Cleveland ore to be sent 
over to France, and his engineer, Mr. How- 
son, crossed the Channel to superintend the 
experiments. The results were so successful 
as to convince him of the practicability of 
what had previously seemed to be impracti- 
cable. Early in 1869, therefore, he leased 
the North Yorkshire Ironworks at South 
Stockton, and at a great expenditure of labour 
and capita], adapted them for the manufacture 
of steel rails, angles, plates, and sheets, on 
the Siemens-Martin system. At the same time 
he made arrangements for producing steel 
ingots at the Newport ironworks, where ex- 
periments that were in the main successful 
had been previously carried out. The prin- 
ciple of the Siemens-Martin system may be 
briefly explained. It consists in melting the 
wrought iron in a bath of cast iron, whereby 
the excess of carbon in the cast iron is neut- 
ralised by the absence of it in the wrought 



BEKNHARD SAMUELSON, M.P. 225 

iron. Chemically considered, the principle 
is sound, and should yield steel of a superior 
quality. Indeed, it is claimed for the 
Siemens-Martin patent that it yielded steel 
of an exceptionally uniform degree of hard- 
ness. To secure this result proofs were taken 
out of the furnace from time to time during 
the operation of melting, and the necessary 
degree of hardness was determined by the 
addition of an extra quantity of wrought or 
cast iron as the case required. In theory, 
nothing could be simpler than this rationale. 
But in practice it was hedged about by many 
difficulties that have proved up to the present 
time to be practically insurmountable. The 
Cleveland Ironmaster's position in this, as in 
other matters where he enters into competi- 
tion with other districts, is necessarily con- 
trolled ab initio by the quality of his iron- 
stone. Now, the ore of Cleveland is not 
adapted to the manufacture of steel. In order 
to convey to the mind of the reader a just 
conception of the difficulties in the way of 
Mr. Samuelson's venture, it may be w^ell to 
furnish the composition of an ordinary speci- 
men of blast furnace metal or pig iron from 
unmixed Cleveland ore. It is as follows : 

Essential ( Iron " = 90 ' 96 

Elements ] Manganese (absent) = 0-00 

(Carbon = 0-65 

Extraneous Element Nitrogen = 0-40 



226 PIONEERS OF THE CLEVELAND IRON TRADE. 



Vitiating 



fCarbon in excess = 8-30 

Oxygen = I'lO 

Magnesium = 0-09 



Silicon = 1'85 

Elements" 1 Aluminum = 0-10 

Calcium..., = 0.07 

Sulphur 0.30 

. Phosphorus. = 1.19 



100.000 

It is obvious to the merest novice in chemical 
and metallurgical science that before good 
steel can be obtained, all the extraneous and 
vitiating elements shown in the above analysis 
must be expelled from the iron ; while on the 
other hand the elements that are deficient 
must be made up to their due proportions. 
The excess of carbon beyond what is needed 
to constitute steel must be got rid of, leaving 
only a moiety of the original percentage 
behind. All the other vitiating elements 
must be entirely expelled before the iron- 
master can attain the end he has in view. 
This, it need not be added, is a very difficult 
task so difficult indeed that science has not 
yet placed at the disposal of her disciples the 
resources necessary to its achievement. In 
the Siemens- Martin process, the action of the 
oxide was continued until all, or nearly all, the 
carbon had been removed, and it was not until 
then that the phosphorus was reduced to a 
sufficient proportion to fit the iron for subse- 
quent use in the manufacture of steel. The 



BERNHARD SAMUELSON, M.P. 227 

malleable iron was then fused with a carbon- 
aceous iron free from phosphorus, such as 
Swedish and hematite pig. But the results 
were always indeterminate. Hence it followed, 
that while at one time steel of an undoubtedly 
excellent quality was obtained, the results 
evolved at another time were unsatisfactory 
in the highest degree. In the manufacture of 
iron and steel, as much as in the manufacture 
of any article of domestic use, there must be 
certainty and regularity of results. An iron 
or steel manufacturer never books a contract 
but he is compelled to adhere to the most 
rigorous specifications, the non-fulfilment of 
which would involve the risk of having 
thousands of tons rejected and thrown back 
upon his hands. Under these circumstances 
it will easily be understood that the Siemens- 
Martin process could not be prosecuted with 
any degree of satisfaction. Failing to see any 
probability of reaching the goal in view, Mr. 
Samuelson abandoned the venture after a 
trial extending over many months. The 
steel melting furnaces erected at Newport 
were removed; and the North Yorkshire 
works were entirely suspended ; nor was 
the latter establishment again re-opened 
until it had been almost completely re-con- 
structed under the auspices of the limited 
liability company by whom it is now owned, 
and of which Mr. Samuelson is a large share- 
holder. 



228 PIONEERS OF THE CLEVELAND IRON TRADE. 

Without a doubt this was one of the most 
dismal failures that ever took place in connec- 
tion with the metallurgy of Cleveland. But 
it was not the only failure. Many of the Cleve- 
land ironmasters had about that time and for 
some years previously, dabbled more or less 
in the same direction. Mr. Samuelson only 
carried out on a large scale and with buoyant 
confidence as to the results, that which his 
neighbours had now and again been tinkering 
at with fear and trembling. To Mr. Samuel - 
son, therefore, belongs the credit of having 
given the experiment every justice ; and his 
failure in the long run was not a thing to be 
deprecated. It is only by repeated failures 
that some of the grandest discoveries of our 
time have been arrived at. Stephenson. Watt, 
Arkwright, Newton, and Bessemer all the 
men, in short, who have benefitted the world 
by their inventions and discoveries, while 
building princely fortunes for themselves 
have achieved ultimate success not because 
but in spite of repeated failures. In Mr. 
JSamuelson's case there was no idea of 
"wading through dirt to dignity." He 
went into the speculation thoroughly, de- 
termined to spend and to be spent in order to 
accomplish his end. As it was, it involved a 
loss of something like 25,000 or 30,000. 
But had it turned out a genuine success, it 
would have secured for Cleveland the one 
thing needful to give it pre-eminence over all 



BERNHARD SAMUELSON, M.P. 229 

other districts in metallurgical science. 
Cleveland steel from Cleveland iron would 
have defied competition. It would have been 
produced much cheaper than steel is now pro- 
duced from the expensive ores used in its 
manufacture. Whether the end for which Mr. 
Samuelson laboured will ever be attained re- 
mains an inscrutable problem ; but the lion, 
gentleman will always take rank as one who 
exerted himself to bring about its solution. 

No sketch of Mr. Samuelson would be com- 
plete if it failed to register his efforts on be- 
half of technical education. In the autumn 
of 1867, the honourable member visited 
France, Belgium, Germany, and Switzerland, 
for the purpose of obtaining accurate infor- 
mation as to their industrial position more 
especially as to their recent manufacturing 
progress, and the state of labour and instruc- 
tion among them. His mission was under- 
taken entirely on his own responsibility, but 
he had the co-operation of the Education 
Department of the Privy Council and of the 
Secretary for Foreign Affairs, by whom he 
was furnished with credentials recommend- 
ing him to the assistance and good offices of 
Her Majesty's foreign consuls. Before pro- 
ceeding to the Continent, the honourable 
gentleman made a tour of the principal manu- 
facturing centres of England, visiting the 
principal works in Cleveland, South Durham, 



230 PIONEERS OF THE CLEVELAND IRON TRADE. 

Lancashire, Yorkshire, and Nottinghamshire. 
He was thus placed in a position to compare 
the relative positions of our own and other 
countries, and he elicited the views of our 
own and foreign manufacturers, which mate- 
rially assisted him in forming his conclusions. 
On the last Saturday of 1867, after his return 
from his self-imposed task, Mr. Samuelson 
issued a circular to the Vice-President of the 
Committee of Council on Education, in which 
he stated at length the results of his observa- 
tions. On the whole, he did not think the 
Continent was much, if at all, ahead of Eng- 
land in the matter of industrial progress and 
attainments. He found that in various mecha- 
nical manufactures improvements which had 
originated in Cleveland had been adopt ed on 
the Continent, and in the construction of en- 
gines and machinery, Belgium, France, and 
Germany were following in the footsteps of 
Great Britain. But while he considered that 
foremen, managers, and proprietors generally 
were better educated on the Continent than 
in England, he could not say so much for the 
workmen. One important point to which 
Mr. Samuelson called attention was the facili- 
ties afforded on the Continent for the carriage 
of minerals. Ores were carried in France at 
rates below three-eighths of a penny per ton 
per mile, and coal was sent from Westphalia 
to France, Holland, and Germany, atone half- 



BEHNHABD SAMUELSON, M.P. 231 

penny per ton per mile, including the use of 
the wagons. These rates, we need not add, 
are much below those that are levied in the 
North of England. 

The effects of Mr. Samuelson's disclosures, 
and the recommendations he made for the 
improvement of technical education in this 
country, need hardly be stated here at any 
length. On the motion of the honourable 
member, the House of Commons appointed 
a committee to inquire into the whole sub- 
ject of technical education ; and in this and 
other ways the question was thoroughly ven- 
tilated. The interest evoked by Mr. Samuel- 
son's letters and speeches for he addressed 
public meetings on the subject in many of 
the principal towns in England had scarcely 
subsided, when the question was again re- 
vived by Mr. Plimsoll, M.P. for Derby, who 
wrote to the limes several letters, in which 
he went thoroughly into the competition 
between England and Belgium as regards 
the manufacture of iron. Mr. Plimsoll had 
gone scientifically into the subject, and 
showed exactly how, when, and where the 
Belgian manufacturers economised fuel which 
in England was completely wasted. Mr. 
Isaac Lowthian Bell, at a rtfeeting of the 
North of England Ironmasters' Association 
held in 1868, read a paper on the same vexed 
question, which was largely at that time the 



232 PIONEERS OF THE CLEVELAND IRON TRADE. 

question of the day. The last three or four 
years, however, have done much to allay the 
somewhat alarmist views promulgated through 
Mr. Plimsoll and others who shared his views, 
as opposed to those of Mr. Samuelson, while 
within the same time, and probably as the 
result of the labours of these gentlemen, in- 
creased attention has been given to the tech- 
nical education of all who are interested in 
our staple manufactures, both from the State 
and from more private sources. 

Mr. Samuelson has taken a high and influ- 
ential position as a representive of the indus- 
trial interests in the House of Commons. 
His evidence and opinions on questions of 
commercial import have been called for over 
and over again. In the sessions of 1871 and 
1872 he was chairman of the committee ap- 
pointed to inquire into the subject of letters 
patent a question in which he had himself 
for years previously taken a prominent in- 
terest. Before that committee some valuable 
evidence was tendered by such men as Henry 
Bessemer, M. Schnieder, of the great Cruezot 
Works, Isaac Holden, and Sir Roundell Pal- 
mer. The general tenor of the evidence 
showed that the patent laws of this country 
were sadly in want of amendment ; that about 
3.000 or more patents are taken out yearly, 
and of this number no more than 500 are 
proceeded with after the lapse of three years, 



BERNHARD SAMUELSON, M.P. 233 

during which provisional protection is usually 
allowed. The deliberations of the Patent 
Committee were studied with great avidity 
by the scientfic public, and the recommenda- 
tions which they made are likely to place 
the system of the patent laws on a much 
more equitable and satisfactory footing. 

During the last ten or fifteen years Mr. 
Samuelson has taken an active part in the 
public affairs of Cleveland. Although resid- 
ing permanently at Banbury,he has frequently 
found time and opportunity to run down to 
Middlesbrough, where he has stayed some- 
times for weeks together. He has thus 
become identified with several of the local 
institutions of Cleveland. He is a member 
of the Cleveland Institution of Engineers, of 
the North of England Ironmasters' Associ- 
ation, and of the Middlesbrough Chamber of 
Commerce. He is at the present time Presi- 
dent of the Cleveland Literary and Philoso- 
phical Society, and from time to time he has 
contributed liberally to local charities and 
other institutions. 

In 1844, Mr. Samuelson married Caroline, 
daughter of Mr. Henry Blundell, a Hull mer- 
chant. In politics he is a Liberal. First 
elected for Banbury in February, 1859, he 
was rejected at the election in April of that 
year. In July, 1865, he again offered him- 
self as a candidate and was accepted. Since 



234 PIONEERS OF THE CLEVELAND IRON TRADE. 

then he has sat continuously for Banbury, 
while his son, who was elected member for 
Cheltenham in 1868, has also found a seat in 
the House of Commons. 



XIIL CHARLES MARK PALMER, M,P. 



LITTLE need be said to justify the inclusion 
in the present series of articles of the name 
of Mr. Charles Mark Palmer. If not so 
immediately connected as some of his con- 
temporaries with the earlier development of 
the Cleveland iron trade, he has done much 
to promote its exuberant growth, in all its 
various ramifications ; and throughout the 
whole of his long business career he has dis- 
played an amount of energy, foresight, and 
enterprise that can scarcely be paralleled in 
the industrial annals of the North of Eng- 
land. To him it is greatly if not mainly due 
that the Tyne has taken a leading position as 
a mart of naval architecture. The renown of 
Palmer's shipbuilding works is more than 
merely local. It has spread to the remotest 
corners of the earth, fostering and maintain- 
ing as much as the Lairds of Birkenhead or 
the Napiers of Glasgow the prestige of Great 
Britain as the greatest naval power in Europe. 
Nor is it in naval architecture alone that the 



236 PIONEERS OP THE CLEVELAND IRON TRADE. 

well-known Jarrow firm have won their 
laurels. They occupy a position scarcely 
subordinate to any held in the North of Eng- 
land as mineral owners and iron manufac- 
turers. Unlike the Birtley, the Lemington, 
and other works that have been overtaken by 
vicissitudes to which they were ultimately 
compelled to succumb, the works of Jarrow 
have been carried on continuously and suc- 
cessfully since they had a beginning, no 
efforts having been spared to keep pace with 
the genius of improvement, and harmonise 
with the altered circumstances induced by 
new discoveries and applications of mechan- 
ical, metallurgical, and chemical science. 

Born in King Street, South Shields, in 1822, 
Mr. Charles Mark Palmer is now in the fifty- 
first year of his age. His father, who will 
still be well-remembered in Tyneside, was the 
owner of a Greenland whaler, for a number 
of years. Subsequently, he engaged in the 
Indian trade, for which he first chartered and 
then acquired vessels that sailed from the 
Tyne. After receiving the rudiments of his 
education in South Shields, young Charles 
was sent to Bruce's Academy, Percy Street, 
Newcastle, which was then esteemed one of 
the first educational seminaries in the " canny 
toon," and from thence he proceeded for a 
short time to the south of France, where he 
completed his studies. Commencing his 



CfiARLES MARK PALMER, M.P. 237 

business career in the office of Messrs. Palmer 
Beckwith and Company, timber merchants, 
in which his father was a partner, he soon 
found what promised to be a more lucrative 
enterprise, in the manufacture of coke, upon 
which he embarked at Marley Hill, with Sir 
William Hutt, the late Mr. Nicholas Wood, 
and Mr. John Bowes as his partners. Con- 
tact and association with such men sharpened 
the natural aptitude for commercial success 
possessed by Mr. Palmer ; and he became 
within twelvemonths a partner in the Marley 
Colliery along with the gentlemen already 
named. This was in the year 1845, and two 
years later we find Mr. Palmer and his part- 
ners acquiring collieries belonging to Lorn 
Ravens worth. From this date, he was en- 
abled to go on " prospering and to prosper," 
adding every year to the number of his 
achievements and the extent of his posses- 
sions. 

About the year 1850, the heavy expense 
and inconvenience attending the carriage of 
coal by railway began to affect seriously the 
sale of north country coal in the London mar- 
ket. Durham and Northumberland coal- 
owners found that they had no longer the 
monopoly that was formerly theirs, for new 
fields were being developed in various parts 
of the kingdom that had more easy and eco- 
nomical access to the London market. To 



238 PIONEERS OF fHE CLEVELAND IRON TRADE. 

compensate for the disadvantages under which 
the northern coal owners laboured in regard 
to facilities for transport and distance, and to 
prevent the loss of the sceptre which they 
had wielded so long, Mr. Palmer constructed 
a screw collier, built to carry 650 tons, and 
to steam about nine miles an hour. The suc- 
cess of the experiment was not immediate. 
It was to some extent one of those " inven- 
tions born before their time," which, accord- 
ing to the late Emperor Napoleon, " must 
remain useless until the level of the common 
intellect rises to comprehend them." Not 
that the invention was premature with re- 
spect to its necessity very few inventions 
are ; but under the then imperfect conditions 
of nautical knowledge it encountered an 
amount of prejudice and opposition that 
would not be likely to arise at this time of 
day. It was argued that it would be impos- 
sible for steamers carrying 650 tons of coal, 
and costing about 10,000, to compete with 
sailing crafts that consumed no fuel, and 
which, although only carrying one-half the 
burden cost little more than 1000, or only 
about one-tenth the amount. But it was the 
old story over again. In a contest of steam 
against wind, the latter power must go the 
wall. Certitude, regularity, and speed en- 
abled the steam collier to achieve an ultimate 
triumph ; and after the success of the first 



CHARLES MARK PALMER, M.P. 

screw collier had been clearly demonstrated, 
Mr. Palmer organised the Screw Collier 
Company, of which for a number of years he 
was both adviser and director. It may be in- 
teresting to mention that on her first voyage, 
the John Bowes the initial screw collier 
was laden with 650 tons of coals in four hours; 
in forty-eight hours she arrived in London ; 
twenty-four hours she discharged her cargo ; 
and in forty-eight hours more she was again 
in the Tyne ; so that, as Mr. Palmer himself 
has put it. " in five days she performed, suc- 
cessfully, an amount of work that would have 
taken two average sized colliers upwards of 
a month to accomplish." The success of Mr. 
Palmer's experiment completely revolution- 
ised the coal carrying trade of the Tyne. In 
1852 when the first screw collier commenced 
to ply, there were only seventeen cargoes, 
representing 9,483 tons of coal, imported into 
London by screw-steamers; but within ten 
years (in 1862), there were no less than 1,427 
cargoes so imported, making a total of 
929,825 tons of coal, and in 1869 the number 
of cargoes carried by iron screw colliers, to 
and from London, had increased to 2,440, 
and 1.716,563 tons of coal. Since 1852, the 
screw collier has undergone several important 
improvements, in the carrying out of which 
Mr. Palmer has lent his valuable assistance, 
and as illustrating the measure of progress 



240 PIONEERS OP THE CLEVELAND IRON TRADE. 

made, it may be stated that the James Dixon 
made fifty-seven voyages to London in one 
year, delivering 62,842 tons of coal, with a 
crew of only twenty-one persons. It is cal- 
culated that this work could only have been 
accomplished under the old system of sail- 
ing colliers with sixteen ships and 114 hands 
to man them. But in seeking to stimulate 
the London coal trade, Mr. Palmer did not 
confine his attention and exertions to the con- 
struction of steam colliers. He devised 
hydraulic machinery for enabling them to 
unload expeditiously and without trouble ; 
and to complete the facilities necessary to 
the end he had in view that, namely, of 
keeping the London trade in the hands of the 
northern coal masters he leased the North 
London Railway for the purpose of system- 
atically and easily throwing the cargoes into 
all parts of the metropolis. It is unnecessary 
to add that the northern coal owners were by 
these and other means enabled to maintain 
their supremacy, and that they still continue 
to hold their own in the markets of the world. 
It was in the year 1852 that Mr. Charles 
M. Palmer, conjointly with his brother George, 
commenced shipbuilding at Jarrow, a place 
hallowed by the -memory of the Venerable 
Bede. At that time it was only a small 
village, its population not exceeding 1,000 
inhabitants. Now, thanks mainly to the 



CHAHLES MARK PALMER, M.P. 241 

enterprise of the Messrs. Palmer, it has a 
community of over 22,000 souls. Until 1857 
the Messrs. Palmer confined their operations 
to marine architecture, including, of course, 
the construction of their own engines. But 
in that year they added four blast furnaces, 
and a year later, in 1859, they built rolling 
mills. Simultaneously with these extensions 
the firm acquired a lease of ironstone royalties 
at Staithes, midway between Saltburn and 
Whitby. No attempt had then been made to 
open out the ironstone in this part of Cleve- 
land. The district was a real terra incogrtfto. 
It could hardly be approached directly from 
any side. The nearest railway terminus was 
Saltburn, distant nine or ten miles, and the 
sea could not conveniently be used as a high- 
way from the absence of harbour accommoda- 
tion. The first thing, therefore, that the 
Messrs. Palmer did was to construct a harbour 
at Port Mulgrave, where their vessels could 
be provided with safe anchorage while re- 
ceiving their cargoes. This undertaking in- 
volved an outlay of some 40,000 to 50,000. 
When the mines were opened out, the Messrs. 
Palmer commenced to run a fleet of steamers 
for the removal of the ironstone. These 
vessels carried cargoes of coal to London, and 
called at Port Mulgrave to ship the ironstone 
on their return voyage. The quantity of iron- 
stone brought to the Jarrow furnaces is from 



242 PIONEERS OF tHE CLEVELAND IRON TRADE. 

2,500 to 3,000 tons per week. Two separate 
beds of stone are worked at the Port Mul- 
grave mines. The top bed is four feet in 
thickness, the lower bed is 8 feet thick, and 
between the two there are 200 feet of inter- 
vening strata, principally composed of alum 
shale. 

It is not within the purpose of this article 
to furnish a detailed description of the Jarrow 
works. Briefly it may be said that they com- 
prise six departments, divided thus 

I. The ironstone mines. 

II. The blast furnace department, in which 
the manufacture of pig iron, kentledge, and 
rough castings of every kind is carried on. 

III. The forges and rolling mills, produc- 
ing angle iron of all sizes, up to 10 and 3 
inches ; rounds and squares up to 5 inches ; 
bulb iron up to 10 inches deep ; merchant 
bars, rails, and plates of all sorts and sizes. 

IV. The engine works, where marine and 
land engines, boilers, forgings, iron and brass 
castings, and general machinery are made. 

V. The iron shipyard and graving docks 
at Jarrow. 

VL The bridge building yard at Howden, 
where every description of bridge building 
work is carried on. 

It will thus be seen that the firm possess 
within themselves everything that they re- 
quire for the purpose of their huge business. 



CHARLES MARK PALMER, M.P. 243 

It is quite within the record to affirm that 
there is not a more complete and independent 
establishment in the world. Extracting the 
ores from the bowels of the earth, they carry 
it up through all intervening processes, until 
it is turned out in the form of stately mer- 
chantmen, fitted up with a luxuriousness and 
taste that rivals the splendour and comfort of 
Belgravian drawing rooms ; or, it may be that 
it takes the form of a marine armament, 
qualified, from its invulnerable power and 
death-dealing properties, to maintain the un- 
rivalled reputation of Great Britain as mistress 
of the seas ; or, again, it is transformed into 
the most subtle and complicated machinery, 
used for the multiform purposes embraced 
within the ample limits of the industrial arts. 
This huge concatenation of resources owes 
its existence and rare excellence of combina- 
tion to the constructive genius and adminis- 
trative capacity of Charles Mark Palmer. It 
was he who presided at the helm of affairs 
when the colossal fabric was being raised ; and 
it was he who, while " its greatness was a 
ripening," controlled, down to the utmost 
trifling minutiae, the whole course of events. 
In 1865 Mr. Palmer built a graving dock 
still, we believe, the largest on the north-east 
coast, which is 440 feet in length, and has a 
depth of 18 feet of water at ordinary spring 
tides. The Jarrow establishment not only 



244 PIONEERS OF THE CLEVEtANl) IRON TRADil. 

embraces the manufacture of iron in all its 
various forms and combinations; butitemploys 
the services of a whole army of artizans 
plumbers, glaziers, painters, sailmakers, 
rivetters, joiners, upholsterers, and, in brief, 
representatives of every trade that has the 
remotest connection with the construction or 
equipment of iron ships. On the west side 
of the furnaces, gasworks have been erected, 
capable of supplying 2,500.000 cubic feet of 
gas per month, which is distributed through- 
out the works. Reliable returns of the result 
of the year 1872 enables us to form a definite 
estimate of the enormous resources of the 
Jarrow works. The total quantity of iron- 
stone smelted was 156,000 tons, producing 
87,600 tons of pig iron. The tonnage of the 
ships launched was 11,500 tons, their horse- 
power being 2,500 nominal, while near 50,000 
tons of plates and bars were manufactured. 
Throughout the whole establishment the 
total quantity of coal consumed, including the 
coke used in the blast furnaces, is little short 
of half a million tons per annum. 

In 1862, Mr. George Palmer retired from 
the business, and Mr. C. M. Palmer carried it 
on alone until 1866, when it was transferred 
to a limited liability company. Mr. Palmer, 
however, continued to retain a large interest 
in the concern, and has acted as chairman 
since the formation of the company. Al- 



CHARLES MARK PALMER, M.P. 245 

though subject to the fluctuations and vicissi- 
tudes that attend the conduct of all large 
commercial undertakings, Palmer's Iron Ship- 
building Company has enjoyed a large amount 
of prosperity under the new administration ; 
its revenues have not fallen off, nor has the 
lustre of its name been tarnished. 

It now becomes our province to speak more 
particularly of that department which forms 
Mr. Palmer's proudest and most conspicuous 
title to the exceptional position he occupies 
among the merchant princes of the British 
Empire. It should be remembered that Mr. 
Palmer was something more than a mere 
naval builder and architect, he was also a great 
projector and organizer. He took a prominent 
part in the establishment of the National Line, 
which now carries on a large business be- 
tween this country and the United States ; 
and he has built many of the most splendid 
vessels owned by that Company. In 1861, he 
entered into a contract with the Italian 
Government to construct and work a line of 
steamers for the conveyance of the mails be- 
tween the Italian Peninsula and Alexandria, 
lie was further concerned in the promotion of 
the Guiou line of Transatlantic mail steamers, 
all of which have been built at the Jarrow 
shipbuilding yard. When the extensive busi- 
ness carried on by Messrs. Ormston, Dobson, 
and Company, of the Antwerp and Dunkirk 



246 PIONEERS OF THE CLEVELAND IRON TRADE. 

Steam Shipping Company, as carriers of 
passengers and goods between the Tyne and 
Hamburg, Rotterdam, Antwerp, and Dunkirk, 
and that of Mr. W. D. Stephens, whose fleet 
of steamboats plied between Newcastle and 
London, were transferred to a limited liability 
company in 1864, the conduct of negotiations 
was left in the hands of Mr. Palmer, who 
carried them to a successful issue, and who 
was very appropriately elected chairman of the 
new proprietary, which has since traded under 
the name of the Tyne Steam Shipping Com- 
pany. In a more national aspect, Mr. Palmer 
has acquired celebrity on account of the 
numerous war vessels which he has built for 
her Majesty's and other Governments. The 
first contract of this character entrusted to 
his execution by the British Government was 
the "Terror," one of the large iron-cased float- 
ing batteries designed during the Russian 
war to co-operate against Cronstadt. A proof 
of the great capabilities of the Jarrow Works 
is afforded by the fact that this vessel, of 
2,000 tons, 250 horse-power, and carrying 
twenty-six 68-pounder guns, was built in 
three and a half months ! Mr. Palmer him- 
self declared that she would have been com- 
pleted in three months, had not the declara- 
tion of peace slackened the energies of the 
workmen. In the construction of the "Terror," 
rolled armour plates were used for the first 



CHARLES MARK PALMER, M.P. 247 

time. Up to that period the demand for 
forged armour plates was so great that the 
forges of the kingdom could not supply it, and 
the use of rolled plates was thus rendered 
unavoidable. But the Admiralty, with its 
usually perverse and short-sighted instincts, 
opposed the substitution determined on by 
Mr. Palmer, and the only course left open to 
him was, therefore, that of proving their 
efficiency and j ustifying his preference. The 
Admiralty was invited to witness a trial of 
rolled armour plates on a target bolted on to 
the side of an old wooden frigate at Ports- 
mouth. The result showed that while the 
hammered plate split and cracked to pieces, 
the rolled plates were only indented. To 
quote Mr. Palmer's own words : " A shot 
was then tried to test the resisting power of 
the compressed cotton, and it appeared to 
answer so well that Captain Hewlett advised 
a series of experiments to be tried. The 
Admiralty were willing, but requested us to 
provide the targets at our own expense. 
Having already spent upwards of 1,500 on 
experiments for the good of the country, we 
declined this proposal ; nevertheless, we had 
proved to the Admiralty the important fact 
that the rolled plates were superior to the 
forged, and they have since been universally 
adopted. We, therefore, claim for this 



248 PIONEERS OF THE CLEVELAND IRON TRADE. 

district the honour of being the first to prove 
the strength and utility of rolled armour 
plates, since known and spoken of in Parlia- 
ment as * Palmer's Rolled Plates.' ' 

To give anything like an exhaustive idea 
of the progress of the Jarrow establishment 
in the art of marine architecture would require 
the compass of a large volume. We, can only 
glance at the broad and general results. 
From the commencement of shipbuilding 
operations in 1852 to the end of 1868, there 
had been launched at these works 239 vessels, 
of an aggregate burthen of 205,419 tons. Up 
to the end of 1872, the total number of 
vessels launched was over 260, and the aggre- 
gate burthen was about 250,000 tons, the 
engines made for the same period represent- 
ing upwards of 30,000 horse-power. Besides 
the " Terror," already named, the firm have 
built the " Defence," an iron -plated frigate of 
3,688 tons; the " Jumma," a troop ship of 4,173 
tons ; the " Cerberus," which was fitted up to 
guard Melbourne harbour; the "Swiftsure," an 
iron-clad of 3,892 tons ; and the " Triumph," 
which was launched in presence of many mem- 
bers of the Social Science Congress on the 
occasion of the visit of that association to 
Newcastle, and was christened by the Duchess 
of Northumberland. All these war ships were 
built to the order of the British Government, 



CHARLES MARK PALMER, M.P. 249 

thus proving the high estimation in which 
the capacity of the Jarrow Shipbuilding Com- 
pany is held by the Admiralty. 

Referring more particularly to the personal 
history of Mr. Palmer, it may be remarked 
that he has contributed many papers to the 
proceedings of scientific and technical 
societies. Being regarded as one of the 
greatest authorities of the day on all that re- 
lates to marine architecture, his prelections 
have a weight and influence that are claimed 
on behalf of very few of his contemporaries. 
At the Newcastle meeting of the British 
Association in 1863, he read a paper " On the 
construction of iron ships and the progress of 
shipbuilding operations on the Tyne, Wear, 
and Tees ;" and at the May meeting of the 
Iron and Steel Institute of Great Britain of 
which he is a member in 1870, he read 
another valuable paper on " Iron as a ma- 
terial for shipbuilding, and its influence on 
the commerce and armament of nations." In 
concluding this paper, he observed that " we 
have in a great measure substituted iron for 
wood we must now change iron for steel ;" 
and he suggested the desirability of devising 
methods of cheapening and rendering practic- 
able the use of steel in ship construction. 
When the Institution of Mechanical Engineers 
visited Newcastle in 1869, they were privileg- 
ed to inspect the Jarrow Shipbuilding Works, 



250 PIONEERS OF THE CLEVELAND IRON TRADE. 

Mr. Palmer himself acting as their cicerone. 
A luncheon was provided, at which several 
compliments were exchanged, and Mr. Palmer, 
in proposing " Success to the Institution of 
Mechanical Engineers," took occasion to say, 
that when the Society visited the North eleven 
years ago Jarrow was only a small village, 
although now, he added, " he was proud to 
think that Jarrow stood second to no other 
manufacturing locality on the banks of the 
Tyne. Every square yard along the busy banks 
of that river proved what mechanical engi- 
neers had accomplished. By their progressive 
intelligence and mechanical contrivances Eng- 
land must ever continue the greatest seat of 
manufacture in the world." Mr. Palmer has 
for many years been connected with the North 
of England Institute of Mining and Mechan- 
ical Engineers, and other technical societies. 
At the present time he is chairman of the 
local Shipbuilders' Association. 

Besides the works at Jarrow, Mr. Palmer 
is largely interested in other commercial and 
industrial undertakings, including the Bede 
Metal Extracting Company, established at 
Jarrow some two or three years ago, and the 
Tyne Plate Glass Company. He is head of 
the firm of Messrs. Palmer, Hall, and Company, 
who have an extensive connection as ship- 
owners, brokers, and general merchants in 
Newcastle and elsewhere. Amcng the hono- 



CHARLES MARK PALMER, M.P. 251 

rary appointments which he holds, the chief 
are those of lieutenant-colonel of volunteers, 
and magistrate for the county of Durham and 
the North Riding of Yorkshire. In the 
general election of 1868 Mr. Palmer was an 
unsuccessful candidate for the representation 
of South Shields, in opposition to Mr. Steven- 
son. In 1874, however, he became a candi- 
date for the representation of North Durham, 
conjointly with Mr. I. L. Bell, and after a 
severe contest, both of these gentlemen were 
returned in the Liberal interest to the new 
House of Commons. But their victory was 
not a long one. A petition was presented 
against their return, the hearing of which 
led to both being unseated, without, however, 
being disqualified from standing again. A 
new election, in June, 1874, placed Mr. Palmer 
at the head of the poll, and Sir George Elliot 
(Conservative) second, thus bringing about 
the defeat of Mr. Palmer's former colleague. 
A second petition was lodged, against Mr. 
Palmer's return, but at the last moment it 
was withdrawn by its promoters, on the 
ground of insufficient evidence ; and the hon. 
gentleman still continues, therefore, in the 
position of senior member for North Dur- 
ham. 

Mr. Palmer has been twice married. By 
his first wife, who died in 1865, he has three 
sons, and by his second wife, he has also a 



252 PIONEERS OF THE CLEVELAND IRON TRADE. 

family. He is owner of the Easington and 
Hinderwell manors, and of the Grinkle Park 
and Seaton Hall estates. He has done much 
to improve, not only the condition of these 
estates, but also the social well-being of his 
tenants, especially so far as providing educa- 
tional facilities is concerned. 



XIV. JOHN GJERS. 



THE story of the life of Mr. John Gjers in- 
troduces us to the purely technical, or, in 
other words, to the engineering phase of the 
progress of the Cleveland Iron Trade. There 
is no aspect of metallurgy more important 
than that which belongs to the province of 
the engineer. It is his business to provide 
improved methods and processes, to adapt 
machinery to special circumstances and 
peculiar cases, to devise ways and means of 
economy previously unknown, and in a word, 
to maintain our industrial pre-eminence. 
Without, therefore, undervaluing the indis- 
putable necessity and importance of those 
functions that belong to chemistry on the one 
hand, and to geology on the other, we may 
fairly claim that the industrial arts owe at 
least as much to engineering as to either of 
these two sciences. This is especially true of 
Cleveland, where so ,many engineering 
triumphs have been achieved ; and seeing 
that no one has done more than Mr. Gjers to 



254 PIONEERS OF THE CLEVELAND IKoN 

promote the interests of the district from an 
engineering point of view, it falls distinctly 
within the scope of our purpose to trace here 
the lines of his biography. 

Born in Gothenburg, the second city of 
Sweden, Mr. Gjers comes of an old and highly 
respected family. He was brought up to the 
engineering profession in his native city, 
where he was afforded ample opportunities for 
combining the practice of his art with its 
scientific principles. In 1851, on the occasion 
of the first international exhibition held in 
this country, Mr. Gjers came over to England, 
and seeing that there was more scope for the 
practice of his profession than there was in 
his own country, he elected to take up his 
residence here. The three subsequent years 
he spent as an engineering draughtsman in 
various parts of Lancashire and Yorkshire ; 
and in 1854 he came down to Middlesbrough 
to undertake a responsible position at the 
Ormesby Works. At Ormesby, he assisted 
Mr. Edwin Jones (now of the firm of Jones, 
Dunning, and Company), to build the original 
Ormesby blast furnaces ; and his services 
were called into requisition by Mr. Henry 
Cochrane, who was then building the large 
pipe foundry at Ormesby. At the time of its 
completion, this was the largest foundry of its 
kind in Great Britain. It turned out 600 tons 
of castings per week ; and it is no email com- 



JOHN GJERS. 



pliment to the capacity of Mr. Gjers that, 
although he was then only twenty -four years 
of age, he was entrusted with the designs of 
all the machinery required for this large 
establishment. Mr. Edwin Jones retired from 
the management of the Ormesby Works in 
1855, and Mr. Gjers became his successor. 
Until the year 1861, the latter continued to 
manage the blast furnace department. Dur- 
ing this period those two great improvements 
in the economical production of pig iron the 
introduction of a hotter blast and the success- 
ful utilization of the waste furnace gases for 
the raising of steam and the heating of the 
blast were effected. At the Ormesby Works, 
Mr. Gjers took an active and prominent part 
in the carrying out of these improvements. By 
the former he was enabled to save from 7 to 8 
cwt. of coke per ton of iron smelted, while the 
latter resulted in an economy of 10 to 12 
cwt. of coal for every ton of pig iron pro- 
duced. 

It was under the superintendence of Mr. 
Gjers that the first of Siemen's and Cowper's 
newly patented heating stoves were introduced 
into the Cleveland district. This was in 1858. 
Mr. Gjers did not, however, go into this 
matter of his own accord. It is to Mr. 
Charles Cochrane that the application of these 
stoves to the Ormesby furnaces are entirely 
due. They were then very crude and compli- 



25$ PIONEERS OF THE CLEVELAND IRON TRADE. 

cated in design and action, and Mr. Gjers was 
so impressed with their imperfections (and 
their better performances in later years have 
not altogether removed his first impressions) 
that he ultimately resigned the management 
of the Ormesby Works. This he did without 
any unpleasantness on either side. He found 
that Mr. Charles Cochrane and himself could 
not pull together in the difficulties and ex- 
penses which arose out of the structural 
alterations proposed by the former, and rather 
than go on in a half-hearted way with under- 
takings of which he did not approve, he 
determined to abnegate his managerial 
functions altogether. A presentation made 
to him on the occasion of his departure, 
showed Mr. Gjers that he carried away with 
him the respect of his Ormesby co-workers. 

It was during his connection with the 
Ormesby Works that Mr. Gjers patented his 
invention for superheating the blast and for 
heated air engines. Various contrivances had 
been designed for this purpose ; but the gas- 
burner for stoves and boilers, patented and 
first applied by Mr. Gjers to No. 1 furnace at 
Ormesby, is now almost universally used in the 
Cleveland district. 

In the beginning of 1862, Mr. Gjers was 
appointed manager for Messrs. Hopkins and 
Company, at the Teeside Ironworks. There 
were then only two furnaces in operation at 



JOHN GJERS. 257 

this establishment. For a couple of years 
Mr. Gjers carefully superintended the opera- 
tion of these furnaces, with a view to further 
improvements. Meanwhile, he had taken out 
a patent for granulating blast furnace slag by 
running it into agitated water in a fluid state. 
The resulting slag, in its granulated form, 
was used instead of sand to run pig iron into, 
for the purpose of moulding it as it came from 
the blast furnace. Very recently the same 
mode of granulating slag has been re-patented 
with another object in view ; but as it was not 
found advantageous from an economical stand- 
point, Mr. Gjers allowed his patent to lapse. 

In 1862, the question of obtaining a better 
fettling for puddling furnaces was exercising 
the minds of the iron masters of the North of 
England. Mr. Gjers conceived the idea of 
using rich magnetic ore for fettling purposes, 
and proved that by the substitution of such 
ores for those then in ordinary use, a 
great improvement could be effected in the 
quality of the iron, besides bringing out 
a greater weight of puddled bar than the 
weight of pig iron put into the furnace 
through the reduction of part of the fettling. 
Although very little attention was paid at the 
time to this formulae, its correctness has since 
been proved by the use of the same class of 
ores, for the same purpose, in the Danks' 
puddling furnace, where the action of the 
fettling is more perfect. 
Q 



258 PIONEERS OP THE CLEVELAND IltON TRADEl. 

In the year 1864, the partners of the firm 
of Hopkins and Company decided to erect a new 
blast furnace plant adjacent to the Tees-side 
Works. The designing and carrying out of 
this new establishment was entrusted to Mr. 
Gjers. About that time more decided 
advances began to be made in the way of en- 
larging the size of the blast furnaces of Cleve- 
land. There was, however, no experience to 
guide the iron master in determining the 
most advantageous limit of height and capacity. 
With characteristic caution, Mr. Gjers deter- 
mined to erect the furnaces, which have since 
been named the Linthorpe Ironwork?, on a 
medium scale. These works, however, mark 
an era when greatly improved furnaces began 
to be built in Cleveland, and they bear witness 
to the enterprise of their owners, who, in 
carrying them out, adopted a number of new 
arrangements proposed and designed by Mr. 
Gjers. Each of these arrangements are so 
important as to merit a special paragraph for 
itself. 

From a purely mechanical point of view, 
the first and most important novelty of the 
Linthorpe Works was the new bio wing- engines 
designed by Mr. Gjers. They are four direct 
acting non -condensing, overhead cylinder 
engines, with 30-inch steam cylinder, 66-inch 
blowing cylinders, and 4ft. stroke, each engine 
working singly, and at 32 revolutions per 
minute, a speed which is increased to 42 



JOHN GJERS. 259 

revolutions when one engine is laid off and 
the remaining three blow four furnaces. 
Their most interesting feature is the air 
valves. These are simply flaps of Warne's 
India-rubber. Each valve seat is a casting, 
perhaps 30-inches long, with a number of 
posts in the length, each three or four inches 
long and f -inch or more wide, the posts being 
separated by narrow bars, and the whole form- 
ing a grid. A flap of rubber J-inch thick 
is fastened to one edge of the planed face of 
the casting, and has a light plate-iron stop at 
its back, allowing the flap to open through 
about 30 deg. The blowing cylinder is made 
to receive the required number of these valves 
around its upper and lower ends, the valves 
being set to act as inlets or outlets, as required. 
About these valves there is no leakage of blast 
and no noise, so that they appear to be the 
best that can be devised. It is a proof of the 
excellent working results of these engines, 
that Messrs. Cochrane have since built at their 
Ormesby Works two of the same general con- 
struction. 

Another speciality of the Linthorpe Works, 
is the pneumatic hoists or lifts, associated 
with the name of Mr. Gjers, which were 
erected here for the first time. These hoists 
have been pronounced by competent au- 
thorities to be the best in the Cleveland 
district, although they are rivalled by the 



260 PIONEERS OP THE CLEVELAND IRON TRADE. 

hydraulic hoist of Sir William Armstrong, 
the ordinary water balance hoist, the hydro- 
pneumatic hoist, in which compressed air is 
the medium accumulated, the direct acting 
steam ram lift, and the ordinary winding 
engine with drum and wire rope and reversing 
motion applicable to both vertical and inclined 
lifts. The pneumatic lift of Mr. Gjers is an 
exceedingly ingenious arrangement, appli- 
cable either to blast furnace or to calcining 
kilns, and it has now been adopted by several 
of the principal firms in the Cleveland 
district. 

A new description of calcining kiln, and an 
entirely new type of heating stove, were also 
initiated by Mr. Gjers at the Linthorpe Iron- 
works. All of these inventions have become 
more or less common in the Cleveland district 
and elsewhere. At the Linthorpe Works, the 
whole of Mr. Gjers' new designs were found 
from the first to contain elements of 
superiority. Practical engineers and iron- 
masters scanned their operation with eager 
interest. They were more than satisfied 
with the result. Mr. Gjers made his name 
known far and near as one of the first blast 
furnace engineers of the day, and from that 
time forward his spurs were won. 

1866, Messrs. Hopkins, Gilkes and Company, 
decided to erect a new blast furnace plant, 
and Mr. Gjers was entrusted with the prepar- 



JOHN GJKHS. 261 

ation of the plans. In the following year the 
new blast furnaces were blown in successfully, 
and Mr. Gjers was complimented on the very 
efficient manner in which he had performed 
his work. A year later, and two more 
furnaces of a still larger size were added to 
the Linthorpe Ironworks. The latter fur- 
naces were put into blast towards the close of 
June, 1870, and the ceremony was attended 
with more than usual eclat. A banquet, at 
which most of the ironmasters of the district 
were present, was given in celebration of the 
event, and Mr. Thomas Vaughan, in propos- 
ing the health of the engineer of the works 
Mr. Gjers said that "they ought to be 
proud of a man who possessed such rare engi- 
neering ability." 

No one has done more than the subject of 
these remarks to solve the problem of making 
Cleveland steel. In 1868, he took out a 
patent for a new process, discovered after 
many experiments, for the manufacture of 
steel rails from the iron of the district, and 
although the process was successful to the 
extent of yielding the article desiderated, its 
cost rendered its commercial success doubtful. 
The rationale of the process may be briefly 
explained. It consisted in boiling the iron in 
a puddling furnace wrought with an extra 
high heat, and fettled with rich oxide of iron. 
By means of good stirring, the phosphorus 



262 PIONEERS OF THE CLEVELAND IRON TRADE. 

which had hitherto defied all attempts at 
complete elimination, was reduced to the 
merest trace, retaining about 1 per cent, of 
carbon, but before the iron began to " come 
to nature," as it is technically called, it was 
tapped into the open heart of a steel furnace 
(a Siemens' or any other furnace capable of 
giving sufficient heat to smelt steel being 
suitable for this purpose) where the decar- 
bonization was completed by exposure until 
the metal reached ihe required consistency. 
It seems to be admitted on all hands that if 
the phosphorus could be eliminated from 
Cleveland iron, the other vitiating elements 
could be so far got rid of that it would be 
comparatively an easy matter to produce 
steel ; but of nearly a dozen processes tried at 
one time or another, not one has yet achieved 
this primary result. 

During the years under review, Mr. Gjers 
undertook the designing and carrying out of 
several important ironworks outside the 
Cleveland district. In 1867, a number of 
Leeds gentlemen decided to erect blast 
furnaces at Ardsley Junction, and their choice 
of an engineer fell upon Mr. Gjers, who not 
only undertook to erect the works, but also to 
carry them on for a certain period after com- 
pletion. In 1868, the first two blast furnaces 
of the West Yorkshire Iron Company, as the 
new concern was named, were blown in sue- 



JOHN GJERS. 263 

cessfully, and three more furnaces have since 
been added. These are the first works of the 
kind erected in this part of the country. 
Situated about midway between Leeds and 
Wakefield, on the line of the Great Northern 
Railway at its junction with the Bradford 
branch, and a little to the north of the Meth- 
ley junction, they have sidings connected 
with both these railways, and direct com- 
munication is thus secured with all the 
railways in the country. The company are 
lessees from the late Earl of Cardigan, of a 
large field of clayband ironstone in the well- 
known measures of the district, as well as a 
seam of fine coal adapted for coking and 
smelting purposes. They are also lessees of, 
and have opened out, an ironstone mine in 
Lincolnshire (on the estate of the Earl of 
Yarborough), where a remarkably pure hydra- 
ted ironstone is obtained out of the green 
sandstone measures. This, when smelted in 
suitable mixture with the local clayband stone, 
produces a very superior pig iron, which is 
particularly well suited for the better pur- 
poses of the district. The lime used for flux- 
ing is the best Skipton rock. 

The remodelling of the old Wingerworth 
Ironworks in Derbyshire was undertaken by 
Mr. Gjers in 1868. Here he introduced an- 
other novelty, by effecting the perfect utili- 
zation of the blast furnace gases with open- 



264 PIONEERS OF THE CLEVELAND IRON TRADE. 

topped furnaces. This was really the first 
succesful attempt to utilise blast furnace 
gases in that part of the country ; and it 
may be interesting to state that in the carry- 
ing out of his own new arrangements Mr. 
Gjers used a portion of the original tubing 
made nearly twenty years previously, and 
abandoned because the object aimed at could 
not be attained. 

Those who are familiar with the life of the 
famous George Stephenson, will remember 
that he was for some years the managing and 
principal partner in the Clay Cross Iron- 
works, in Derbyshire. These works, we 
believe, were actually built, and partly, if not 
wholly, designed by the great engineer ; but 
they were found at a later date to be unsuited 
to the exigencies of modern science, and in 
1869, Mr. Gjers was entrusted with their 
reconstruction. The latter carried out his 
work to the entire satisfaction of his employ- 
ers. The original furnaces were raised 
from 48 to 60 feet in height, and the di- 
ameter of the boshes was increased one foot. 

Mr. Gjers was the first Cleveland engineer 
who obtained a footing in the Lincolnshire 
iron district. In 1869, he undertook the re- 
construction of Frodingham Ironworks, which 
had been started with two blast furnaces of 
very limited size and capacity. When it was 
decided to remove these old furnaces and 



JOHN GJERS. 265 

build an entirely new plant, Mr. Gjers was 
the engineer selected to execute the work. 
Four furnaces were put up under his super- 
vision, and it is worthy of note that these 
furnaces have served as the model for most of 
the furnaces subsequently built in the neigh- 
bourhood of Frodingham. It is probable, 
also, that it was the skill and engineering 
capacity displayed by Mr. Gjers that led to 
the choice by other firms of other Cleveland 
engineers in the erection of works now going 
on the urgent calls of his own business 
having compelled Mr. Gjers himself to relin- 
quish nearly all other engagements. Within 
the last two years he has given himself almost 
entirely up to the management of the Ayre- 
some works, of which more hereafter, although 
he has very recently been prevailed upon to 
undertake the designing of an extensive blast 
furnace plant and Bessemer works in his 
native country, and in carrying out this com- 
mission he will introduce several novelties 
and improvements that are likely to attract 
the attention of English engineers. 

On the first day of January, 1870, Mr. 
Gjers commenced the erection of the Ayre- 
some Ironworks, although his professional 
connection with Messrs. Hopkins, Gilkes, and 
Company, and Messrs. Lloyd and Company, 
did not cease until the end of that year. The 
Ayresome works consist of a plant of four 



266 PIONEERS OF THE CLEVELAND IRON TRADE. 

blast furnaces, the two first having been blown 
in on the 29th March, 1871. They are situ- 
ated within the borough of Middlesbrough, on 
32 acres of land abutting on the river Tees, 
and having a frontage thereto of 330 yards. 
These works have received many encomiums 
from practical engineers, and, taken as a 
whole, they are probably as great a tribute to 
the engineering ability of Mr. Gjers as any 
of the numerous works he had previously 
designed. The Ayresome works are equal to a 
production of between 1500 to 1600 tons of 
pig iron per week. 

On the 18th January, 1871, Mr. Gjers was 
presented with a testimonial by the employers 
and employees connected with the firm of 
"Hopkins, Gilkes and Company, on the occasion 
of his finally severing his connection with it. 
Mr. W. R. I. Hopkins, the senior partner, 
presided, and in the course of a speech full 
of complimentary allusions, declared that 
" Mr. Gjers had gone to them partly an un- 
tried and unknown man, but they learned to 
put so much confidence in him that they 
placed in his hands the out-door management 
of the blast furnaces earlier than was the 
custom. Mr. Gjers had derived from his con- 
nection with them, but still more by his own 
talents, great advantages in his own extended 
experience as a business man and in the out- 
door management of blast furnaces, and had 



JOHN GJERS. 267 

now become the senior partner of the firm 
known as Gjers, Mills, and Company. Mr. 
Gjers had always been a just manager to the 
master and workmen, and the result was, that 
without exemption, they had wished to sub- 
scribe to that testimonial." 

Having been so actively engaged in pro- 
fessional duties during the greater part of his 
life, Mr. Gjers has not found time, even if he 
had the inclination to take any part in muni- 
cipal or imperial politics. But he has contri- 
buted some of the most valuable results of his 
wide experience to the transactions of the 
Cleveland Institution of Engineers, and of the 
Iron and Steel Institute of Great Britain. 
Before the latter association, in 1871, he read 
a paper on " The gradual increase in size of 
the Cleveland blast furnaces," and " A des- 
cription of the Ayresome Ironworks, Midd- 
lesbrough." In the former part of his paper, 
the author traced the gradual growth in size 
and capacity of the blast furnaces of Cleveland, 
from those built by Messrs. Bolckow and 
Vaughan at their Middlesbrough works in 
1851, with a cubical capacity of 4,566 feet, 
and 42 feet high by 15 feet bosh, to the 
furnaces erected at Ormesby in 1870, 90 feet 
high, oO feet bosh, and 41,149 feet cubical 
capacity. 



XV.-JEREMIAH HEAD, 



MOST of the " pioneers " to whom we have, as 
yet, assigned places in this series, are more or 
less associated with the development of the 
pig-iron trade. It is, however, to another of 
the staple industries of Cleveland, viz. : that 
of malleable iron, that the energies of Jeremiah 
Head, the subject of the present article, 
have been chiefly directed. He is the 
fourth son of the late Jeremiah Head, Esq., 
J.P., of Ipswich, who was, like his forefathers 
for several generations, a highly esteemed 
member of the Society of Friends. 

Jeremiah Head, the younger, was born in 
1835, and was educated partly at home, partly 
at private schools in Ipswich, and partly at 
Tulketh Hall, a Friends' School in Lancashire, 
which has for some time ceased to exist. 
Having always evinced a strong inclination 
towards mechanical pursuits, he was articled 
in 1851 to the late Robert Stephenson, C.E., 
M.P., whose engineering works at Newcastle- 
on-Tyne, have always been reckoned among 



JKBEMIAti tiEAD. 269 

the first schools of engineering in Europe. 
After working three and a-half years with the 
workmen in the shops, he was promoted to 
the drawing office, where he remained a year 
and a-half, when his apprenticeship was at an 
end. Six months previous to this, he had 
been entrusted with the design, and setting to 
work, of a large pair of compound condensing 
engines for Messrs. Henry Pease and Com- 
pany's Priestgate Mills, Darlington. It was 
in order to complete this undertaking that he 
was sent to reside for six weeks in the above- 
named town. There he became more inti- 
mately acquainted with the Pease family, some 
of whom have been from the first partners in 
the firm of Robert Stephenson and Company, 
but without taking any part in the manage- 
ment thereof. 

The Priestgate Mills' new engines were the 
first in this country fitted with a " parabolic 
governor," the principle of which has since 
been extensively adopted. The air cataract, 
a most important adjunct, was Mr. Head's 
invention ; but being still a pupil he deemed 
it his duty to offer it to the firm, who patented 
it in the name of Mr. Weallens, their manager. 
They subsequently allowed the patent to 
lapse, but continued to manufacture on the 
new principle wherever applicable. A modi- 
fication of the parabolic governor controlled 
by a liquid cataract, instead of one containing 



270 PIONEERS OF THE CLEVELAND IRON 

air, has since been found much superior in its 
action, especially when applied to operate 
variable expansion gears, and for this Mr. 
Head still holds a patent. 

When the Darlington engines were complete, 
Mr. Head was entrusted with the design of 
another pair, into which he introduced some 
improvements, and these are still at work at 
Messrs. Annandale and Sons' Paper Mills, 
Shotley Bridge. 

In 1857, the Corporation of Sunderland 
determined to re-build the bridge which had 
been erected over the river Wear by Rowland 
Burdon about a century before, and which had 
then become unsafe. Robert Stephenson was 
appointed consulting engineer to this, which 
proved to be his last great constructive work. 
He selected Mr. G. A. Phipps of Great George 
Street, Westminster, to be his acting colleague, 
and Mr. Head to be resident engineer, in 
carrying out the undertaking. The construc- 
tion and erection of the new bridge, of which 
the span is 240 feet, and the height above high 
water mark 120 feet, and which involved an 
outlay of nearly 40,000, occupied two years, 
and proved a valuable piece of experience. 
When it was finished Mr. Head had the satis- 
faction of being presented with a handsome 
piece of furniture, viz., a what-not, cast 
from the metal of the original bridge, by 
Messrs. Hawks, Crawshay, and Sons, the con- 



JEREMIAtt HEAD. 271 

tractors for the iron work. Upon a silver 
plate were engraved particulars of the 
circumstances under which it was given. 

Some time previous to the period of which 
we speak, the Royal Agricultural Society had 
offered a prize of 500 for the best steam 
plough. At two of their annual shows, the 
prize had been competed for, but none of the 
machines exhibited were considered sufficiently 
perfect to deserve it. The late Mr. John Fowler, 
of the well-known firm of John Fowler and 
Company, of Leeds, had been giving special 
attention to the construction of steam cul- 
tivating machinery, arid was extremely 
anxious to carry off the Society's award on 
the third and last occasion when it would be 
offered. Through his father-in-law, the late 
Mr. Joseph Pease, of Darlington, Mr. Fowler 
obtained the interest of Robert Stephenson. 
That gentleman said that he was too far 
advanced in life to take a personally active 
part in new enterprises, but that he would 
gladly afford any other assistance in his 
power, for the sake of the partner with whom 
he had been so long associated. In fulfilment 
of this promise he introduced Mr. Head, and 
desired him to direct his energies to the im- 
provement of the steam plough, so as, if 
possible, to enable Mr. Fowler to acquire the 
coveted distinction. To Mr. Head the task 
was highly congenial, and he worked most 



272 PIONEERS Of THE CLEVELAND IKON TRADE. 

assiduously for several months with Mr. 
Fowler, against great difficulties and repeated 
disappointments. At last they produced at 
the classical works of Robert Stephenson and 
Company, a steam plough which fulfilled all the 
conditions laid down by the Royal Agricul- 
tural Society, and which received the prize of 
500 at their Chester Show in 1858. For 
about a year steam ploughs continued to be 
constructed by Messrs. Robert Stephenson and 
Company, under Mr. Head's direction, when it 
became evident that some arrangement must 
be made for developing the new implement 
more rapidly, and manufacturing it on a more 
extensive scale, in order to meet the growing 
demand. It did -not suit Mr. Stephenson to 
sacrifice his well established locomotive, and 
marine engine business, for one in agricultural 
machinery ; he therefore suggested that new 
works should be built for the purpose in New- 
castle, and offered, in that case, to advance 
his old pupil 3,000' to enable him to take up 
a partnership in such works, whilst Mr. 
Joseph Pease agreed to advance a similar 
sum to promote the interests of Mr. Fowler. 
Some delay, however, occurred in maturing 
these plans, and meanwhile Mr. Stephenson 
died, and the whole project fell through. The 
development of the steam plough might have 
been delayed for several years, but for a new 
friend who appeared upon the scene, at this 



JEREMIAH HEAD. 273 

juncture. The late Mr. W. Hewitson, of Leeds, 
and offered upon certain terms, to provide 
the funds necessary for building works on 
a large scale at Leeds. The offer was too 
good a one to be declined, and among other 
arrangements it was agreed that Mr. Head 
should leave Newcastle for that town, and 
should be entrusted with the management of 
the new undertaking, with the option of a 
partnership after a time. Accordingly, he 
continued to co-operate with Mr. Fowler 
for the space of a year, developing the 
new machine and organising those ar- 
rangements for its construction which now 
occupy so important a place in the industries 
of the West Riding. " Uhomme propose, 
mais Dieu dispose." So runs the French 
proverb, and so it came to pass in the 
present instance. In the summer of I860, 
after a year's residence in Leeds, Mr. 
Head fell ill, and continued unwell for so long 
a time, that he thought it wise to resign 
his position at the steam plough works. 
He had latterly thoroughly over-wrought 
himself in his efforts to secure the success of 
the steam plough. For the space of a year 
he lived quite retired from business, when, 
feeling much better, and being anxious to gain 
increased practical experience in the working 
of the steam plough in the field, he bought 
one of the most approved construction, and 



274 PIONEERS OP THE CLEVELAND IRON TRADE. 

settled down at Swindon, in Wiltshire. That 
town is the centre of a well-known heavy 
clay land district, standing in great need of 
steam cultivation. There he took contracts 
among the farmers and landed proprietors, for 
draining and cultivating by steam power, and 
acted as Messrs. Fowler and Company's repre- 
sentative for the district. Shortly after, he 
devised and patented a system of lamp signals 
whereby steam ploughing might be conducted 
by night as well as by day, a matter of great 
importance in the autumnal season. He also 
patented a means of making the " skifes," or 
castings to which the shares are attached in 
balance ploughs, adjustable, so as to give them 
any required amount of " bite " into the 
ground. Both these patents were afterwards 
purchased by Mr. Fowler, for use in machines 
made at his works. 

In the spring of 1863 Mr. Head, finding 
his health completely re-established, deter- 
mined to give up ploughing and draining by 
steam, for some occupation which would admit 
of residence in a more active industrial centre 
than a small Wiltshire town. He visited the 
Cleveland district, and came to the conclusion 
that rolling mills, for the manufacture of 
boiler and ship plates, at Middlesbrough, 
would, if carefully constructed and managed, 
prove a lucrative enterprise. He communi- 
cated his views to Mr. Joseph Pease, who, 



JEREMIAH HEAD. 275 

being then retired from business, referred him 
to his son, Mr. J. W. Pease, one of the present 
members for South Durham. That gentleman 
introduced him to his brother-in-law, Mr. 
Theodore Fox, and through Mr. Joseph Dodds, 
of Stockton, to Mr. Charles M. Newcomen, of 
Kirkleatham. Thus was originated, in 1863, 
the present firm of Fox, Head, and Company, 
of Middlesbrough. 

It was November, 1864, before the works 
they decided to construct were complete. 
Then began a new series of difficulties. 
Wages were extremely high, and trades' unions 
were for the moment all-powerful. Their 
workmen were so unmanageable, that the 
young firm thought it wise to join other 
employers in maintaining a union for concerted 
action in regard to labour. But a short ex- 
perience seemed to them to prove that this 
policy had the effect rather of aggravating 
than of mitigating the evil. During two 
years they had lost no less than one-fourth 
of their whole time in disputes with their 
workmen. So they came to the conclusion 
that no solid success could attend their 
efforts while they and their employes were 
in a constant state of antagonism, however 
satisfactory might be their relations towards 
competing employers. They drew up their 
now well-kown " Co-operative Scheme," con- 
stituting their enterprise an industrial partner- 



276 PIONEERS OF THE CLEVELAND IRON TRADE. 

ship. It might have been expected that 
their workmen would have at once accepted 
so generous a concession, and would eagerly 
have become co-operators on so favourable 
terms. Not so, however. Prominent unionist 
leaders denounced the new scheme as " a 
dodge " to allure the men from their union, 
that they might be the more easily manipu- 
lated to their disadvantage by their em- 
ployers. Articles appeared in journals, 
supposed to represent the employers' views, 
which were scarcely less hostile in their tone. 
A period of great depression in trade had also 
now supervened, rendering it impossible, 
during the first two years, to pay any bonus 
to labour, according to the hopes held out by 
the scheme. Consequently the workmen were 
influenced but little by it, and its complete 
failure was generally predicted. Still, however, 
Messrs. Fox, Head, and Company persevered, 
and at the end of the third year, viz. 1869, 
they had the satisfaction of being able to 
announce a dividend to their employes of 2| 
per cent, upon their yearly earnings. From 
that time mutual confidence took the place of 
mutual distrust, between Messrs. Fox, Head, 
and Company and the majority, including all 
the best, of their workmen. In 1870, 3| per 
cent, was paid; in 1871, 4 per cent.; and in 1872 
3J per cent., in addition to full district wages. 
But we have not space to enlarge further on 



JEREMIAH HEAD. 277 

this interesting experiment. The complete 
history thereof has been published in the 
shape of reports of the annual meetings of 
the employers and employed at Newport 
Rolling Mills. The difficulties attending the 
development of the system, and the sentiments 
both of masters and men in regard to it, and 
to each other, abundantly appear in the 
speeches therein recorded. The firm are, we 
believe, always ready to present copies of their 
reports to those who take an interest in them. 

In 1863, when the Newport firm was first 
constituted, the Cleveland plate trade was in 
its infancy. At one works alone had this 
kind of iron hitherto been produced, and there, 
not of a quality suitable for boiler construc- 
tion. For such purposes, Staffordshire or 
South Yorkshire plates were almost invari- 
ably used. Ten years later, owing to the 
efforts of Messrs. Fox, Head, and Company, 
and some other proprietors of rolling mills, who 
commenced operations about the same time, 
a vast improvement in quality had been 
effected. Boiler work of the most difficult kind, 
not excepting the manufacture of Galloway 
tubes, is now habitually executed by firms 
using none but Cleveland plates. 

The Middlesbrough Co-operative Store 
Company, Limited, which after several years 
of adversity, has now attained a state of 
marvellous prosperity, was originated, and has 



278 PIONEERS OF THE CLEVELAND IRON TRADE. 

throughout been managed mainly by a few of 
Messrs. Fox, Head, and Company's employe's. 
It was, we believe, at Mr. Head's suggestion, 
and by his desire it was started, and its success 
would perhaps never have been achieved 
but for the constant sympathy and active 
assistance of himself and his partners. 

Mr. Head's name also appears on the 
directorate of " The Cleveland Slag Working 
Company, Limited," the object of which is to 
utilize slag for bricks, mortar, concrete, etc., 
according to the patents of Messrs. Wood and 
Bodmer. 

Mr. Head was the founder, in 1865, of the 
" Cleveland Institution of Engineers." Dur- 
ing three years he undertook the onerous 
duties of honorary secretary, and worked 
most unremittingly to secure the success 
which was ultimately attained. In 1871 he 
was elected president, and still holds that 
position. Among provincial scientific societies, 
the Cleveland Institution of Engineers is now 
generally admitted to occupy a foremost 
place, and the printed reports of its papers 
and discussions are highly esteemed, both for 
their merit as literary works, and for their 
intrinsic value as scientific records. The 
original number of members was about 30, 
now it has reached 320, and includes all 
those with whom rests the responsibility of 
practically directing industrial operations in 



JEREMIAH HEAD. 279 

Cleveland ; and many engineers from all parts 
of the country. 

Mr. Head has contributed at various times 
papers and addresses to the Cleveland Insti- 
tution, and to other Scientific Societies to 
which he belongs. The principal of these are 
as follows, viz. : 

To the Cleveland Institution : On "A 
Plan for placing the Cleveland Iron District 
in better communication with the Durham 
Coal-field, by means of certain new Rail- 
ways, and a Bridge over, or a Tunnel under 
the river Tees ?" in 1868. A considerable 
portion of this scheme was adopted by the 
North-Eastern Railway Company, in a bill 
for which they subsequently attempted to 
obtain Parliamentary sanction, but which was 
thrown out owing to the opposition of the 
Corporation of Stockton and other bodies. On 
"The Economic Construction and Management 
of Steam Engines and Boilers;" in 1869. (This 
paper has since been re-printed by desire of 
the engineer of the Midland Steam Boiler 
Inspection and Assurance Company, for the 
special use of his inspectors and others.) 
Upon " Our Workmen ;" a presidential address 
delivered in 1871. On "The Economic Un- 
soundness of some Trades' Union Doctrines ;" 
another presidential address delivered in 
1872, and again on " Thoughts for the con- 
sideration of Engineers and Others," delivered 
in 1873, 



280 PIONEERS OF THE CLEVELAND IRON TRADE. 

Before the Institution of Mechanical En- 
gineers : On " The Parabolic Governor ;" in 
1871. 

Before the Iron and Steel Institute : On 
" The Efficiency and Durability of Plain 
Cylindrical Boilers;" in 1870. On "Fox, 
Head and Company's Patent Economical 
Puddling Furnaces;" in 1871. On "The 
Linthorpe Boiler Explosion;" in 1873. On 
" An Improved Reversing Gear for Rolling 
Mills ;" in 1873. 

Before the National Association for the 
promotion of Social Science : On " Retail 
Traders and Co-operative Stores ;" in 1872. 
Before the Bristol and Clifton Debating 
Society : On " The Newport Industrial 
Partnership, etc. ;" in 1873. 

Before the British Association for the Ad- 
vancement of Science, Section G, on " A 
Higher Education for Engineers," read at 
their meeting at Belfast, in 1874. 

Mr. Head is a most regular attender at the 
meetings of the various scientific societies 
with which he is connected, and has always 
taken an active part in their discussions. On 
the visit to Middlesbrough, in 1871, of the 
Institution of Mechanical Engineers, he and 
Mr. Gilbert Gilkes acted as local secretaries, 
and made the various and somewhat complex 
arrangements which were necessary to secure 
the success of that meeting. He has since 
been elected to a seat upon the Council, 



JEREMIAH HEAD. 281 

Middlesbrough is the first town in England 
which applied for a school board under the 
Elementary Education Act, and Mr. Head 
was among the nine gentlemen elected to 
seats at the first board. He has always shown 
the greatest interest in all endeavours to 
diffuse knowledge, whether of an elementary 
or technical character. He has not hitherto 
taken part in municipal affairs, probably for 
want of time. But in general politics he has 
given abundant proof that he is a decided and 
even enthusiastic Liberal, endorsing the policy 
of the late Government, and exerting all his 
personal influence in their support. 



XVL EDWARD WILLIAMS, 



" The true epic of our time," says Carlyle, 
" is not arms and the man, but tools and the 
man an infinitely wider kind of epic." 
When he speaks of tools, the Chelsea philo- 
sopher refers, of course, to every possible 
kind of mechanical appliance, calculated to 
abrogate manual labour, and further the in- 
terests of the industrial arts. In this sphere 
of thought and action, Mr. Edward Williams 
has long laboured. He possesses, perhaps, a 
wider acquaintance with the varying processes 
and apparatus used in connection with the 
iron trade of this and other countries than 
many men who have theorised on the subject 
for a lifetime, and have come at last to be 
regarded and quoted as authorities of unim- 
peachable exactitude and soundness. In all 
essential points, Mr. Williams may be spoken 
of as a practical man. He has studied for 
himself, under every condition, the rationale 
of the industries in which he is employed. 
Accepting the ipse dixit of no one, he has 



EDWARD WILLIAMS. 283 

earned the reputation of being an original 
thinker and worker, and there are those who 
contemn his disregard of the old established 
rules and canons, as savouring too much of 
the mental idiosyncracy which so peculiarly 
characterised Thomas called Didymus. But 
it is to this faculty of personal investigation 
and research more than any other that the 
pre-eminent industrial position now held by 
the North of England is mainly due. Had 
the pioneers of the Cleveland Iron Trade been 
content to follow the beaten path, so long 
traversed by the older iron -producing dis- 
tricts, turning neither to the right nor to the 
left, many, if not most, of the results that have 
been recorded in these articles would never 
have been attained. The historian's duty 
would have been more simple ; but it would 
have been less pleasant and less useful. A 
dead level of uniformity would have charac- 
terised that which is how distinguished for 
diversity, and presents abundant scope for a 
conflict of opinion. When many different roads 
are followed towards the same goal, the short- 
est and easiest is more likely to become known, 
and in the long run, adopted by those who 
had previously wandered in a devious course. 
So it is with the iron trade. Out of the many 
and somewhat confused formulas that are now 
adopted, order and certitude will, no doubt, 
ultimately be evolved. It is in the further- 



284 PIONEERS OP THE CLEVELAND IRON TRADE. 

ance of this great end that such men as Mr. 
Williams are employed ; and it is now impos- 
sible to calculate the far-reaching advantages 
which are reflected by their labours on the 
cause of progress and civilisation. For it is 
well to remember that, although it is strictly 
a scientific pursuit, metallurgy cannot yet 
claim a place among the exact sciences. There 
is much yet to be learned. There are many 
possible economies still unfulfilled. The 
splendid results achieved during the last ten 
or twenty years supply ample proof of the 
fact that perfection is a long way ahead that 
we are only nearing the beginning of the 
end. 

Viewed in the light of the foregoing re- 
marks the career of Mr. Edward Williams is 
one well worth study. He was born in 
Merthyr Tydvil the Dudley of Staffordshire, 
the Middlesbrough of Cleveland, the Coat- 
bridge of Scotland. From his youth up he was 
among ironworks and ironworkers. His 
father was a schoolmaster. The Acadeny of 
Taliesin Williams was esteemed one of the 
best in South Wales. It was the nursery of 
many minds that have stamped with the sign 
manual of their genius the graduated progress 
of our staple industry. The master of the 
academy was a man of more than average 
attainments. 

" He was kind, or if severe in aught, 
The love he bore to learning was in fault.'' 



EDWARD WILLIAMS. 285 

The most that could be said of Goldsmith's 
" Village Schoolmaster" was, that 

" Lands lie could measure, terms and tides presage;" 

but Taliesin Williams could do more than 
*that. In a district where the amenities of 
literature were little known, he cultivated the 
muses, not unsuccessfully. One of his peices 
an ode to Cardiff Castle, written after the 
style of Scott's " Lady of the Lake" is 
familiarly known to this day. The Williams 
family thus owned a highly respectable posi- 
tion in Merthyr Tydvil a position certifi- 
cated by the tradition that they could trace 
their descent collaterally to Oliver Cromwell. 
Edward Williams received as good an edu- 
cation as it was within the far from stinted 
limits of his father's means to bestow. He 
then entered the office of the Dowlais Iron- 
works the largest establishment of its kind in 
the world. Here his experience was a re- 
versal of the rule that " a prophet hath not 
honour in his own country." His promotion 
was rapid and deserved. The then mill man- 
ager at Dowlais took a special interest in his 
training; and through him Mr. Williams 
acquired a thorough knowledge, both theor- 
etical and practical, of the properties of iron 
and its manipulation. It is quite a prevalent 
belief that he was, like the late late Mr. John 
Vaughan, brought up as an ironworker, but 
we have reason to know that this is quite an 
error. He never was directly employed in 



286 PIONEERS OF THE CLEVELAND IRON TRADE. 

the works, otherwise than as far as was ne- 
cessary to enable him to understand the 
rationale of iron manufacture. But his experi- 
ence, such as it was, must have been of the 
most valuable character. At the Dowlais works 
every branch of the iron trade is carried on 
to the largest extent. There are no fewer 
than seventeen blast furnaces more than 
double the number in operation at the largest 
works on Teesside while the number of 
puddling furnaces is upwards of 160 ! Speak- 
ing of these works, Mr. Ferdinand Kohn, C.E., 
author of a standard work on the manufacture 
of iron and steel, says " Dowlais ! the name of 
no other place in Britain so strongly and fully 
expresses the tremendous power of British 
iron and British coal a power which has made 
our country the first among the nations of the 
earth. France has its Creusot, with its four- 
teen blast furnaces, and giving employment 
to 10,000 men ; Belgium has its Seraing, with 
five furnaces and extensive workshops, never 
again to be what they once were, when John 
Cockerill, an Englishman too, and having the 
King of Holland for his partner, was living. 
We will not dispute the greatness of Essen, 
nor need we refer to the comparatively insig- 
nificant centres of the iron industry of Amer- 
ica Phoenixville and Johnstown. But where 
France, and Belgium, and Prussia may have 
large individual works, Dowlais, with its 



EDWARD WILLIAMS. 287 

seventeen blast furnaces, and its nine thousand 
workpeople, nevertheless makes but one-thir- 
tieth of all our iron, and raises less than the 
one-hundredth part of all our coal." It may 
be remarked here that the establishment over 
which Mr. Williams now presides is modelled 
on the works of Dowlais. Both have very 
large ironworks for the manufacture of both 
crude and finished iron ; both have large iron- 
stone and coal royalties, from which they 
raise all their own minerals ; both carry on 
the manufacture of Bessemer steel to a large 
extent ; and both have all the necessary works 
and appliances for the manufacture of such 
subsidiary products as fire bricks, rolling 
stock and general machinery. There are 
many minor and collateral points of resem- 
blance upon which more may be said hereafter. 
Meanwhile, it must be apparent that Mr Wil- 
liams had the advantage of being trained in a 
good school the best, probably, that this or 
any other country contains, and one, more- 
over, that has made its name famous all the 
world over. After having been employed at 
their works for a number of years, he was 
sent to London as the Metropolitan agent of 
the Dowlais Company a position involving 
much care, judgment, and responsibility. It 
was here and in this capacity that he was 
employed when the works and business of 
Bolckow and Vaughan were transferred to a 



288 PIONEERS OP THE CLEVELAND IRON TRADE. 

limited liability company. The late Mr. John 
Vaughan, who had previously undertaken the 
practical management of the concern, was, of 
course, indisposed to do so any longer ; and 
he was requested by the directors to recom- 
mend a suitable successor. Numerous appli- 
cations from some of the best men in the 
country were sent in ; but the choice of the 
directors was finally limited to two gentlemen. 
One of these was Mr. Evans, another Welsh- 
man, now the manager of the celebrated Bow- 
ling ironworks, Bradford ; the other was Mr. 
Edward Williams. It is a somewhat note- 
worthy coincidence that both had been more 
or less intimately connected with Dowlais 
Works from their earliest years the father 
of Mr. Evans having long been manager of 
Dowlais. Bolckow, Vaughan, and Company, 
(Limited) was formed in 1864. The capital 
of the company was fixed at 2,500,000, and 
1,000,000, was paid for the purchase of the 
properties and stock. Messrs. Bolckow and 
Vaughan took 8,000 shares, paying 50 per 
share, and agreed that no dividend should be 
paid upon these 8,000 shares until an average 
dividend equal to ten per cent, per antfum 
should have been paid for five years to the 
other shareholders. Since then the nominal 
capital of the company has been increased to 
3,410,000. Under Mr. Williams' manage- 
ment, the company was enjoyed a prosperity 



EDWARD WILLIAMS. 289 

and attained a stability almost without paral- 
lel in the annals of limited liability. It is 
now probably the largest concern of its kind 
in the world. It has even taken precedence 
of the great Dowlais works, and of the scarce- 
ly less famous Gartsherrie works in Scotland, 
each of which employ about 9,000 hands, as 
compared with nearly 12,000 employed by 
Bolckow, Vanghan, and Company. In ad- 
dition to the blast furnaces at Middlesbrough, 
Eston, and Witton Park, the rolling mills at 
the former and the latter places, and the 
great mines at Eston and Skelton, it holds, 
with perhaps only two or at the most three 
exceptions, the largest coal royalties in the 
North of England, and carries on large steel 
works in Manchester. Upwards of l(i,000 
are paid weekly in wages and salaries. The 
company raise about 1,500,000 tons of coal 
per annum ; and from their Eston mines alone 
they are now producing between 700,000 and 
800,000 tons of ore. Of the 250,000 tons of 
pig iron which they annually produce, the 
company convert nearly 100,000 into rails, 
plates, bars, and other descriptions of manu- 
factured iron. They have within the last few 
years acquired large royalties in Spain, and 
from their mines at Bilbao they raise large 
quantities of hematite, for the conveyance of 
which to their Middlesbrough works they em- 
ploy a fleet of steamers of their own. Like 
s 



290 PIONEERS OF THE CLEVELAND IRON TRADE. 

the Dowlais works, Messrs. Bolckow and 
Vaughan's establishment has every facility for 
the production of general machinery, castings, 
firebricks, and rolling stock ; and the number 
of wagons which they own and employ in 
connection with their numerous works and 
collieries is something fabulous larger than 
that of many a respectable railway company. 
The same remark applies to their locomotive 
engines, which are also, for the most part, 
manufactured at their own works, to their 
private railway lines, connecting their differ- 
ent collieries with each other and with their 
works, and to the value of their goods and 
mineral traffic. It may truly be said of Bol- 
ckow, Vaughan, and Company's works, as we 
have seen it said of Dowlais, that " so long as 
metallurgical industry holds its accustomed 
footing in the affairs of the kingdom, so long 
will these works be famous as a monument of 
the energy and genius of their founders and 
of the proudest age of British industrial and 
commercial power." 

If these, then, are the works over which he 
acts as the presiding genius, what must be 
the nature and extent of the duties that Mr. 
Williams is called upon to discharge ? A 
bare contemplation of them would almost be 
sufficient to turn the brain of an ordinary 
mortal. And yet every movement of this 
huge industrial machine is guided by his 



EDWARD WILLIAMS. 291 

hand. Down to the merest trifle, he regulates 
and governs the affairs of the firm. He shirks 
no duty or responsibility, by vicarious substi- 
tution. Every appointment of any con- 
sequence is made by himself after the most 
careful and patient inquiry. He is the foun- 
tain of authority in the making of all import- 
ant contracts, in the introduction of new 
machinery and processes, and in the carrying 
out of the multiform arrangements that re- 
quire settlement from day to day. It is ne- 
cessary, above all things, that the responsible 
manager of such a large concern should 
receive emoluments commensurate with his 
position. The universal verdict is that he is 
quite worthy of his position ; and both direc- 
tors and shareholders have confidence that so 
long as he is at the helm of affairs, all will go 
well. 

Although the North of England iron trade 
was undoubtedly established before Mr. Wil- 
liams came to Middlesbrough, he is not with- 
out claims to a place among its conscript 
fathers. Even so far back as 1864 Cleveland 
was in a comparatively embryo state. " En- 
terprises of great pith and moment" were in 
process of being evolved, but they wanted 
accessory aids that were yet undeveloped. 
Mr. Williams, from the first day that he 
entered the district, threw himself heart and 
soul into the work of promoting reforms and 



292 PIONEERS OP THE CLEVELAND IRON TRADE. 

improvements calculated to benefit the trade 
as a whole. He was president of the North 
of England Ironmasters' Association in 1868, 
when the Iron and Steel Institute of Great 
Britain was founded, and he was chairman of 
the meeting held in the Newcastle Assembly 
Rooms, on the 28th September of that year, 
at which the idea of projecting such an insti- 
tute was first mooted. It may be remembered 
that the institute owed its origin to a sug- 
gestion made by Mr. John Jones, secretary to 
the North of England Ironmasters' Associ- 
ation, in a paper which he read on " The 
position of the iron trade in relation to tech- 
nical education," and that suggestion was 
subsequently formulated in a motion proposed 
by Mr. Isaac Lowthian Bell, to the effect 
" that this meeting approves of the proposi- 
tion contained in the paper read by Mr. Jones, 
relative to the establishment of an Iron and 
Steel Institute, and requests that a Provision- 
al Committee be nominated, consisting of the 
following gentlemen, with power to add to 
their number, viz : Mr. Edward Williams, 
Middlesbrough ; Mr. Isaac L. Bell and Mr. 
James Morrison, Newcastle ; Mr. David Dale, 
Darlington ; Mr. J. J. Smith, Barrow ; Mr. W. 
Fletcher, Workington ; Mr. Pattison, War- 
rington ; Mr. (j. J. Barker, Chillington ; Mr. 
Walter Williams, Tipton ; Mr. Wm. Matthews, 
Dudley ; Mr. W. S. Roden, Stoke ; Mr. Robert 



EDWARD WILLIAMS. 293 

Heath, Stoke ; Mr. W. Menelaws, Dowlais ; 
Mr. A. Brogden, London ; Mr. R. Fothergill ; 
Mr. F. Kitson, Leeds ; Sir J. G. W. Alleyne, 
Bart, Butterly ; Sir John Brown, Sheffield ; 
Mr. Neilson, Glasgow ; Mr. Sarnuelson, Ban- 
bury ; and Mr. John Jones, Middlesbrough." 
It will thus be observed that although the Iron 
and Steel Institute owes its origin to Cleve- 
land, there are only two gentlemen on the 
committee under whom it has been enabled to 
attain such high measure of success who be- 
longed directly to Middlesbrough. From 
time to time Mr. Williams has contributed 
his valuable experience to the transactions 
of the Institute ; and at the first provincial 
meeting held in Middlesbrough in 1869, he 
read a paper on the manufacture of rails, 
which was spoken of very highly by those 
who afterwards discussed its merits and con- 
clusions. The subject of rail manufacture is 
one to which Mr. Williams has devoted a 
great deal of attention, and it may be remark- 
ed in this connection that he has not unfre- 
quently been consulted as to its rationale. 
The best tribute that can be paid to the 
soundness and merit of a practical man is the 
respect and deference of other practical men. 
It has been Mr. Williams' destiny to take up 
a position in which his statements are regard- 
ed by his collaborateurs as coming from an 
authority. There is no sciolism about his re- 



294 PIONEERS OF THE CLEVELAND IRON TRADE. 

searches and opinions. He goes straight to 
the root of the matter, and is always able to 
give a reason for the faith that is in him. In 
regard to blast furnace practice, Mr. Williams 
has expressed himself in favour of high furn- 
aces ; and, unlike some other authorities on 
the subject, he believes that the increase of 
economy in the mordern furnace is due more 
to height than to capacity. Discrediting 
some of the prevailing ideas as to the tempera- 
ture of the blast, he concludes that less de- 
pends upon that element than upon the 
chemical composition of the gases. " If," he 
says, " the gas contains a large quantity of 
carbonic acid, we may be sure the furnace is 
working with a small amount of coke ; but if, 
on the other hand, the gas contains a large 
amount of carbonic oxide, then we may con- 
clude that the coke is being used wastefully." 
" The subject of mechanical puddling has re- 
ceived from Mr. Williams a great deal of 
attention. He has all along been a member 
of the Puddling Committee of the Iron and 
Steel Institute, and in that capacity he has 
conducted and witnessed many experiments 
of a valuable kind. It was under the auspices 
of this committee that a Commission of prac- 
tical ironmasters visited Cincinatti, U.S., to 
report upon the Danks's puddling machine, 
which is now being largely introduced into 
the Cleveland district ; and it was on the sug- 



EDWARD WILLIAMS. 295 

gestion and advice of Mr. Williams that this 
was done. To him, therefore, belongs the 
honour, such as it is, of having secured a fair 
and dispassionate trial for the Danks's rotary 
puddler, and of taking the necessary steps to 
bring its merits prominently before the iron- 
masters of the country. Previous, however, 
to the invention of the Danks machine, Mr. 
Menelaus, manager of the Dowlais works, had 
long sought to develop and bring to a suc- 
cessful issue the idea of mechanical puddling. 
In this effort he was aided more or less direct- 
ly by his friend, Mr. Williams, who took 
quite a feverish interest in the subject. Mr. 
Menelaus did not succeed in solving the prob- 
lem of successful mechanical puddling, 
principally from the absence of a suitable 
fettling ; but at the Middlesbrough works of 
Messrs. Bolckow and Vaughan, a machine 
constructed on Mr. Menelaus's principle has 
been under trial for a considerable time, and 
Mr. Williams is hopeful of ultimately over- 
coming the difficulties in the way of effective 
fettling. 

For the last six or eight years the subject of 
these remarks has hammered away at the 
door of the North-Eastern Board until he has 
obtained from that company a meed of con- 
sideration towards Middlesbrough that would 
probably never have been vouchsafed but for 
his assiduity. One of first movements he 



296 PIONEERS OP THE CLEVELAND IRON TRADE. 

took up was that for the construction of new 
docks. Middlesbrough was wretchedly off 
for dock accommodation, the entrance of the 
existing docks being both narrow and shallow, 
while there were no quay walls, crane facili- 
ties, or other necessary pro vision for shippers 
at all commensurate with the importance of 
the port. Chiefly, we believe, at Mr. Wil- 
liams's instigation, a public meeting of the 
inhabitants of Middlesbrough was held in the 
Town Hall on the 3rd day of June, 1868, to 
take the subject of better and increased dock 
accommodation into consideration. At that 
meeting Mr. Williams, who was one of the 
chief spokesmen, proposed a motion to the 
effect that the trade and prosperity of the 
town and district were seriously affected in 
consequence of inadequate dock accommo- 
dation, and he mentioned, as an illustration of 
the fact, that during the previous year Messrs. 
Bolckow and Vaughan had sent 67,000 tons 
of their produce to neighbouring ports that 
should have been shipped at Middlesbrough. 
A deputation, of which Mr. Williams was a 
member, was appointed to wait on the North 
Eastern Board ; and the result of their repre- 
sentations and labours is apparent in the 
largely extended and improved docks which 
Middlesbrough now possesses at a cost to the 
railway company of over 100,000. 

There are not a few other phases, all more 



EDWARD WILLIAMS. 297 

or less interesting, of Mr. Williams' career 
that might be appropriately referred to, but 
they are for the most part of such recent 
origin and occurrence that the briefest possible 
allusion must suffice. The Freighters Associ- 
ation recently formed in Middlesbrough to 
protect the iron trade from the imposition of 
excessive dues by the railway company chiefly 
owes its origin to him. He is an active 
member of the Middlesbrough Chamber of 
Commeree, of the Middlesbrough Town Coun- 
cil, and of other local institutions. In re- 
ligion, Mr. Williams is said to be a member 
of the Church of England ; in politics, he is a 
thorougly sound Liberal ; and in private and 
social life, he is one of the most genial and 
pleasant of men, leaving behind him, whether 
at home or abroad, a human and refreshing 
memory. 



XVII JAMES MORRISON. 



SOME men, it is said, are born great ; some 
achieve greatness, while some again have 
greatness thrust upon them. Mr. James 
Morrison belongs neither to the first nor to 
the third of these three divisions ; but so far 
as any claim he has established to greatness 
is concerned, he may undoubtedly be included 
in the second. And his title to distinction is 
higher than that of many a man who has 
made a much greater noise in the world. If 
the somewhat trite aphorism that the man is 
entitled to honour and does a good work who 
makes two blades of grass grow where only 
one grew before, then is James Morrison 
worthy to stand on the highest rung of 
the ladder of fame. In a quiet and un- 
obtrusive, but none the less effectual way, he 
has initiated many economical reforms that 
have had more than merely local and tentative 
advantages ; and no man has been more in- 
timately connected during the last forty years 
with the iron trade of the North of England. 



JAMES MORRISON. 299 

While his career has been chequered and 
eventful, even to the borders of romance, it 
has also been successful beyond those of his 
contemporaries, illustrating with vivid force 
the story of the old man, his son, and the 
bundle of sticks. 

James Morrison, the founder of the Ferry - 
hill Ironworks, was born in the year 1806, in 
Glamorganshire, South Wales, so that he is 
now in the sixty-seventh year of his age. 
His father was in comparatively humble cir- 
cumstances, and belonged,- as well as his 
mother, to Northumberland, where they had 
spent their earlier years. James was of a 
bold, adventrous disposition. He was placed 
in an office for some time, but he did not care 
much for the routine of office work, and when 
only nineteen years of age, despite the wishes 
and entreaties of his friends to the contrary, 
he went to South America in connection with 
the Poliso Mining Company, which company 
failed before he reached the mines, and he 
was thrown on his own resources. Little 
is known of his career, during the next 
few years. In South America, then much 
more even than now, a lawless and unsettled 
country, he was compelled to " rough it " as 
best he could, until a convenient opportunity 
was afforded him for returning to England. 

About the year 1830 we find Mr. Morrison, 
then in his twenty-second year, becoming 



300 PIONEERS OF THE CLEVELAND IRON TRADE. 

connected with the iron and coal trades of 
Monmouthshire. The prospects opened up 
by this sphere of operations did not, however, 
answer his expectations, although, both from 
his earlier associations, which were largely 
mixed up with the staple industry of South 
Wales, and from his short experience after his 
return from America, he had gained a consi- 
derable insight into the rationale of the trade 
in which he was afterwards to take such a 
leading part. About the year 1836 he quitted 
Wales, and found his way to the North of 
England. At that time the Ridsdale Iron- 
works had just been completed. They were 
erected by some gentlemen connected with, 
or at one time forming part of, the Derwent 
Iron Company. There were then only two 
works of the kind in operation throughout 
the whole of the North of England. These 
were the Lemington Ironworks, which were 
erected about the year 1800, for the purpose 
of smelting stone got from the coal measures 
in the neighbourhood of Walbottle, Els wick, 
and other places on or adjoining the river 
Tyne ; and the Birtley Ironworks, consisting 
of three furnaces, which were erected about 
the year 1828, for the smelting of ironstone 
found in the coal measures of Ouston, Birtley, 
and the immediate district. The Ridsdale 
Ironworks, situated on the north Tyne, were 
intended for the clay ironstone obtained in 



JAMES MORRISOtf. 301 

the carboniferous limestone measures of the 
neighbourhood. Ascertaining that the new 
works required a manager, Mr. Morrison 
made application for and received the appoint- 
ment. He only continued here, however, for 
a short time. The works were carried on 
under many disadvantages. Situated in a 
very isolated position, the transit of material 
had to be effected by the use of carts, so that 
they were debarred from access to other and 
cheaper ores than those found in the imme- 
diate neighbourhood. Worse than all, the 
local ironstone and coal were obtained in 
scanty and unreliable supplies, at a heavy 
cost for mining, while the amount paid for 
the removal of manufactured produce in- 
volved another considerable sacrifice. In 
the face of all these difficulties, the works 
had to be abandoned after a few years ; and 
although they were subsequently sold to and 
carried on by Messrs. Foster and Company, 
they could not, under the more economical 
conditions of working that were coming into 
vogue in other parts of the North, be carried 
on to advantage. We need not add that they 
now exist only as a memory of the past. 

On the establishment of the Consett Iron 
Works, in 1840, Mr. Morrison was elected to 
fill a responsible position in connection with 
their management. This was a much more 
extensive and important venture than the 



302 PIONEERS OP THE CLEVELAND IRON f RADK. 

Ridsdale Works. The Consett Iron Company 
originally commenced operations with seven 
blast furnaces, intended for the smelting of 
ironstone from the local coal measures. This 
source of supply proving inefficient, the car- 
boniferous limestone measures of the Wear 
and Tyne had to be put under requisition, 
and quantities were occasionally obtained from 
the Whitby district. At the best, however, 
the supply of ore was always fragmentary 
and precarious, until the Cleveland ironstone 
began to be used in the year 1851, since 
which time the Consett Iron Works now 
grown to the huge proportions of a second 
Dowlais have used the oolitic ores almost 
exclusively. 

For reasons with which we are unacquain- 
ted, but most probably because he wanted 
still further to mature his experience by see- 
ing for himself the blast furnace practice of 
of the Continent, Mr. Morrison in 1845 went 
over to France, and became connected as 
manager and principal proprietor of the 
Guines and Marquise Works the former 
about six miles south of Calais, and the latter 
nearly the same distance from Boulogne. 
Both works were of considerable size. They 
comprised both blast furnaces and rolling 
mills, the two works being about two miles 
apart. This and other drawbacks in regard 
to the economical supply of minerals, and 



JAMES MORRISON. 303 

adequate facilities of transport, led to the 
abandonment of the works at Guines. While 
they were carried on, however, they achieved 
a high reputation, second only in France to 
that of M. Schneider's great Creuzot works. 
Mr. Morrison remained at Guines until 
after the French Revolution of 1848, when 
he became connected with the Rosieres 
Works, also in France, under somewhat singu- 
lar circumstances. It is scarcely necessary 
to say that the effect of the Revolution was 
to paralyse trade, at least temporarily, in all 
its ramifications. The ducal proprietor of 
Rosieres having retired, his bankers made 
Mr. Morrison an offer to wind up the concern, 
and carry on the works until certain contracts 
were completed. This Mr. Morrison under- 
took to do at a fixed contract price. Under 
the circumstances, he was almost able to 
dictate his own terms, and, of course, he made 
a handsome profit out of the transaction. 

In March, 1851, Mr. Morrison again crossed 
the Channel, and settled down in Newcastle, 
where, it may be added, he has since continued 
to reside. And now we approach what is un- 
doubtedly the most interesting epoch in his 
career. While in France, in connection with 
a French engineer, he had invented an in- 
genious process for purifying small coals by 
washing out the impurities with which they 
are mixed. His intention was to develop this 



304 PIONEERS OP THE CLEVELAND IRON TRADE. 

process in the North of England, where noth- 
ing of the kind had previously been suc- 
cessfully attempted. It was then the custom 
at all the north-country collieries to burn 
at the pit mouth the immense accumula- 
tions of small coal or " duff, " which was 
obtained as the residue of the screening 
process. The waste of fuel thus permitted 
was enormous. Coal was then comparatively 
a drug in the market. Only the finer qualities 
were used for manufacturing and domestic 
purposes. Many thousands of tons that would 
now command 6s to 10s per ton, and even 
more, were deliberately burned to waste ; and 
coalowners were glad to allow the " duff" or 
small coal to be taken away free of cost. Nay 
more, they endeavoured in many cases to 
make contracts with ironmasters and others 
to deliver the coal for Is 6d to 2s per ton, or 
a fraction over the cost of carriage. In these 
circumstances Mr. Morrison had no difficulty 
in making arrangements for the supply of an 
almost unlimited quantity of " duff," and we 
have been informed that the whole of the 
despised and rejected material from Earl 
Durham's collieries was placed at his disposal 
on merely nominal terms. Having made 
these advantageous arrangements, he subjected 
the "duff" to his new washing process, which 
consisted in raising the coals by means of 
buckets attached to endless chains, and then 



JAMES MORRISON. 305 

precipitating them into a basket, where an 
agitator forced through the coal a stream of 
water sufficient to precipitate them again (by 
reason of their lightness and their near 
approach to the same specific gravity as 
water), over the spout into a wagon, the 
pyrites and heavier articles sinking to the 
bottom, and being let off by a valve con- 
structed for the purpose. The cost of wash- 
ing a ton of coals in this way was only about 
IJd, and Mr. Nicholas Wood estimated that 
the percentage of loss, depending on their 
degree of purity and on their size, was in duff 
of the Button Seam about 22 per cent. ; in pea 
small and duff, about 18 ; and in rough small, 
about 14 per cent. After the small coal had 
thus been purified, it was admirably adapted 
for the manufacture of coke, yielding from 50 
to 58 per cent, of that material. To this 
purpose it was converted by Mr. Morrison, 
who established coke manufactories on a large 
scale, and made extensive contracts with iron- 
masters for the supply of that necessary com- 
ponent in blast furnace practice. The result 
was a grand success. Able to manufacture 
coke at from 4s 6d to 5s 6d per ton, Mr. 
Morrison made large contracts to supply it 
to ironmasters for more than double that 
amount. For coke, even when it was the 
greatest drug and most unmarketable, was 
seldom sold at less than 7s 6d per ton ; and 

T 



306 PIONEERS OF THE CLEVELAND IRON TRADE. 

at the present time, as ironmasters know to 
their cost, it cannot be had under 42s to 45s 
per ton. For several years after he had 
initiated this lucrative process, Mr. Morrison 
found himself rapidly amassing wealth. He 
established works at Coxhoe, Thornley, Wigan, 
in Lancashire, and Staveley, in Derbyshire. 
He became probably the largest coke manu- 
facturer in the world. None could compete 
with him, far less undersell him ; so that he 
was almost without a rival. This was prob- 
ably the greatest achievement of his life ; it 
was at any rate the stepping stone of the 
events that are to follow. 

In 1859 Mr. Morrison commenced the 
Ferryhill Ironworks, erecting three blast 
furnaces, each 55 feet in height. Five years 
later he amalgamated his interest in these 
and other works in the county of Durham 
with the owners of the Rosedale estate. Since 
then the amalgamated concerns have been 
carried on under the style of the Rosedale and 
Ferryhill Iron Company (Limited). 

Many of our readers will be aware that Mr. 
Morrison's partners are Mr. George Leeman, 
member for York city, and chairman of the 
North-Eastern Railway Company, and Alex- 
ander Clunes Sheriff, M.P. for Worcester, and 
formerly general manager of that company. 
About the year 1860 these gentlemen acquired 
the Rosedale estate, and large adjoining 



JAMES MORRISON. 307 

royalties of ironstone. It was a magnificent 
speculation, and in view of the results that 
followed, it seems wonderful that it was not 
developed at an earlier period. Iron is known 
to have been made in this district six hundred 
years ago ; but it was not till 1834, in modern 
times, that the peculiar properties of the 
minerals of Rosedale Abbey received attention, 
nor was it until Messrs. Leeman and Sheriff 
acquired their royalties that it was worked 
on a scale of any importance. These gentle- 
men came upon an immense basin or quarry 
of magnetic ironstone, about 120 feet in thick- 
ness, and known to all the metallurgists and 
mineralogists of the North as Rosedale 
magnetic ore. Among its many other singular 
properties this stone, although attracted by 
the magnet, before calcining, will only, with 
some very rare exceptions, attract iron itself. 
It contains from 48 to 50 per cent, of metallic 
iron, whereas the best part of the main seam 
of the Cleveland ironstone proper contains no 
more than 33 per cent. The Rosedale ore is 
thus much more valuable than that of the 
Cleveland district proper. The magnetic 
ironstone of Rosedale Abbey has been a fertile 
subject of discussion among scientific men 
during the last twenty years. It has been 
treated on by the late Mr. Nicholas Wood, by 
Mr. J. Bewick, and by Mr. John Marley, of 
Darlington ; and it is the subject of an in- 



308 PIONEERS OP THE CLEVELAND IRON TRADE. 

teresting discussion in Spon's " Dictionary of 
Engineering," published in 1869. It appears 
so suddenly and is all at once developed to 
such an immense thickness that it is unlike 
anything else of the same kind that has ever 
been found in the North of England. Opinions 
differ very materially as to its origin. Mr. 
Bewick propounded the theory that it was of 
volcanic origin, but Mr. Isaac Lowthian Bell 
and other able mineralogists have disputed 
this idea. In any case, there the wonderful 
formation is ; and we have mainly to deal 
with the fact that it has been a source of 
immense profit to the proprietors. From the 
time that the present proprietors took pos- 
session in July, 1864, until midsummer of 
1870, they had landed about 500,000 tons of 
the magnetic ore of Rosedale West ; and in 
the previous three and a-quarter years, from 
April 1861, about 250,000 tons had been 
raised. Since, 1870, however, mining opera- 
tions have been greately extended. New 
drifts have been opened on the East Rosedale 
estate, and at the present time the output of 
ore averages from 2,500 to 3,000 tons per 
day. 

From the mines at Rosedale to the furnaces 
at Ferryhill is an easy and natural transition, 
although much more natural than easy, the 
stone having to be carried by a route so 
circuitous as to remind one almost irresist- 



JAMES MORRISON. 309 

ably of poor Dick Swiveller's ill-fated attempt 
to get across the street. There are now eight 
furnaces erected at Ferryhill, and other two 
are in course of being built. And such 
furnaces ! Two of them are 80 feet in height, 
and 18 feet bosh ; other four are 81 feet 
high, and 21 feet bosh ; while the remaining 
two are 103 feet in height, and 31 feet bosh. 
The two latter are the largest furnaces in the 
world. Even their great height is, however, 
to be eclipsed by that of two new furnaces, 
which will tower to an altitude of 105 feet ! 
A few parenthetical comments on this subject 
of blast furnace dimensions may both interest 
and instruct the reader. 

The first blast furnace built in Cleveland, 
was like the Staffordshire and Scotch furnaces, 
carried to the height of only 42 feet. Up to 
the year 1858 there was a gradual increase 
in size, the highest furnace then built being 
56 feet in height, by 16 feet 4 inches bosh. 
In 1864 Mr. Thomas Vaughan built a furnace 
81 feet in height and 19 feet bosh. By this 
time the advantages of an increased height 
in the blast furnace were scientifically under- 
stood. It was found at first that the larger 
furnaces yielded better results than the 
smaller ones ; but the precise character of 
these advantages was rather guessed at than 
strictly formulated. Now it is acknowledged 
on all hands that it means an economy of fuel 



PIONEERS OP THE CLEVELAND IttON TRADE. 

varying from 6 to 10 cwts. of coke, in addition 
to increasing the production proportionately 
to the size of the furnace, and improving the 
quality of the iron, which is now more highly 
carbonized and more uniformly soft through- 
out than it formerly was. The discovery of 
these advantages led to a revolution in blast 
furnace practice that has had no parallel since 
the time when Neilson substituted hot for 
cold blast about 1830. Since 1858, nearly 
every original furnace built in the Cleveland 
district has been demolished, and furnaces of 
nearly double their size, and more than double 
their capacity, have been erected in their 
stead. It is difficult to comprehend all that 
this revolution involved. It represented in 
the first place an enormous loss in the substi- 
tution of new for old plant; it led also to 
the prevalence of incertitude and groping as 
to possible results which has not yet been 
completely overcome. There is still a great 
conflict of opinion as to the effects of high 
blast furnaces, and the exact height to which 
they can advantageously be carried. Much 
depends upon the kind and quality of the 
burden used in the furnace. Thus, the Dur- 
ham coal makes exceedingly hard coke, which 
is capable of bearing a great burden in the 
blast furnace ; whereas, in Scotland, where 
splint coal is used in its raw state, all attempts 
hitherto made to increase the height of the 



JAMES MORRISON. 311 

blast furnace have resulted in failure ; excep- 
tion being made, of course, in favour of 
Ferrie's self-coking furnace, where the raw 
coal becomes coked in passing down a series 
of chambers at the top of the furnace, before 
reaching the body, where the real work of 
smelting is done. Mr. Morrison, at the 
Ferry hill Works, has carried the argument in 
favour of high blast furnaces to its extremest 
limits. His 103 feet furnaces are eight feet 
higher than the next largest furnace in Cleve- 
land, and when we say Cleveland we mean, 
of course, the whole world, for nowhere else 
have blast furnaces been carried to anything 
like the same height. The results obtained 
in these monster furnaces have apparently 
convinced Mr. Morrison that he has not yet 
reached the limit of height to which furnaces 
may be built with advantage, seeing that he 
is now building other two which are to be 
carried to an altitude of 105 feet. Ironmasters 
will watch these furnaces with eager interest, 
many of them being incredulous of the wis- 
dom which has actuated their construction. 
The cubical capacity of the new furnaces will 
be close on 50,000 feet ; that of the first fur- 
nace built at Middlesbrough by Messrs. 
Bolckow and Vaughan was only 4,566 feet. 
Extremes meet here with a vengeance ! But, 
after all, the increase of height and capacity 
in the blast furnaces of Cleveland only sym- 



312 PIONEERS OF THE CLEVELAND IRON TRADE. 

bolises and illustrates the advances made by 
the district in every phase of material pro- 
gress within the period under record. 

The weekly production of the eight furnaces 
now blowing at Ferry hill is about 3,500 tons. 
When the two new furnaces are blown, the 
weekly make of pig iron will be little short of 
5,000 tons per week, or a larger make than 
any other establishment in the North of 
England. The works have everything within 
themselves. They have lately drawn a large 
portion of their supplies of coke and coal from 
Thrislington and Coxhoe Collieries, both of 
which are the property of the company. 
Limestone is quarried on the company's 
" liberty" about a couple of miles distant from 
the works. Loam, sand, and fire clay are 
also found in abundance on the company's 
ground, and within easy access of the works. 

But the mechanical appliances of Ferryhill 
are scarcely less wonderful than the furnaces. 
The largest blowing cylinder measures 10ft. 
lOin. by 10ft. 6in., and we are not surprised 
to learn that it is one of the largest in the 
world.. Altogether the apparatus that actuate 
these immense works are on a scale worthy 
of them ; and it may be said of the concern 
as a whole that it is a fitting monument to 
the enterprise of its proprietor. 

Besides his interest in the Rosedale and 
Ferryhill Iron Company, Mr. Morrison is the 



JAMES MORRISON. 313 

owner of collieries in Northumberland and 
works at Staveley in Derbyshire. He is a 
partner in the Manvers Main (South York- 
shire) and the Renishaw (Derbyshire) Iron- 
works ; and in other ventures of a smaller and 
less prominent kind he is more or less 
interested. 

For a number of years Mr. Morrison has 
been a member of the Newcastle Town Council, 
and has taken an active part in its deliber- 
ations. He has filled the civic chair for two 
successive years. In politics Mr. Morrison is 
a Radical. This fact will scarcely be credited, 
perhaps, by those who heard or read a speech 
which he delivered more than four years ago, 
at a meeting of the North of England Iron- 
masters' Association, held in Newcastle. He 
was reported to have said that technical edu- 
cation was not for the working classes, that 
there must be " hewers of wood and drawers 
of water," and that he liked to see the shoe- 
maker sticking to his last, and the blacksmith 
attending to his forge, adding an expression 
which created some scandal at the time. For 
this speech Mr. Morrison was severely taken 
to task by several papers of that day ; 
but as he afterwards explained it away, we 
may charitably conclude that it was only 
an after dinner flourish, and that he holds 
opinions more in harmony with the genius 
and instincts of advanced Liberalism. In 



"314 PIONEERS OF THE CLEVELAND IRON TRADE. 

political movements, as such, Mr. Morrison 
lias, however, taken little part. Nor has he 
been prominently identified with any of our 
learned and scientific societies, although his 
name will be found on the rolls of the Iron 
and Steel Institute, of the North of England 
Institute of Mining and Mechanical Engineers, 
and of other societies of a kindred character. 
In 1846, Mr. Morrison was married to Miss 
Taylor, a daughter of the late Mr. Thomas 
Taylor, of Earsdon. He has a family of three 
-sons and two daughters. 






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