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British Industrial History

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Phoenix Bessemer Steel Works

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An area of land, almost a crescent shape through Masbrough and Ickles, on the edge of the town of Rotherham, became well known in the late 18th / early 19th centuries through its involvement in iron and steel making and there could be found the works of many of the towns iron masters. Situated between the main turnpike road linking Rotherham and Sheffield and the River Don was built the Phoenix Works, a leading manufacturer of large iron forgings, made using water powered tilt hammers. It is known that the works made forgings for marine engines, shafts for use in paddle steamers and crank axles etc.

The business was then almost solely confined to the manufacture of rails, and in the early forties, the days of the great railway boom, manufacturers of railway material were doing well.

1871 As a change to their product base, making steel through the use of the Bessemer process, Mr. Thomas Hampton and Mr. Radcliffe of the firm Hampton, Radcliffe and Co. started the Phoenix works.

1872 Hampton and Radcliffe sold the works to the adjoining Phoenix Bessemer Steel Co., Ltd.

1875 The company failed and the assets were purchased by Henry Steel, Senior, William Peech and Mr. Hampton. The price paid for the establishment, tools, and plant (several additions had been made to the works), was something under £50,000. A limited company was formed with a capital of £70,000. The new company became known as Steel, Peech and Hampton, taking its name from those of the directors.

1881 Listed as Steel, Tozer and Hampton of Phoenix Bessemer Steel Works, Ickles, Rotherham and Steel Street, Sheffield. Boiler Plate Manufacturers. [1]

1883 Mr. Hampton left and was replaced by Edward Tozer, the company changing its name to Steel, Peech and Tozer.

Later Steel, Peech and Tozer employed 7,200 people and were one of the principal constituent members of The United Steel Companies, Ltd., which was formed, shortly after the 1914-18 war, to create an undertaking which would be substantially self-supplying in raw materials, and which, by eliminating duplication of processes, would be more efficient.

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. 1881 Kelly's Directory of West Riding of Yorkshire