Samuel Beale – 1860

Samuel Beale – 1860

The Beale connection


Within the parish of Rawmarsh, on the northern edge of Rotherhamlies the district of Parkgate. By the side of the Greasborough branch of the Don Navigation, two Sheffieldironmasters, Charles Sanderson and a Mr Watson, leased from the Earl Fitzwilliam 2,000 square yards of land, upon which they intended to erect ironworks and produce wrought–iron bars and various iron castings. By 1832, Sanderson, by then the sole proprietor, was bankrupt and the firm was taken over by a Birminghamsyndicate who held a mortgage on the premises as security for iron supplied. Sanderson’s and Watson’s original company was renamed the Birmingham Tin Plate Works, the iron works becoming the Park Gate Ironworks. The first blast furnace on the site was erected in 1832,[1] with iron ore mostly being supplied by Earl Fitzwilliam from his south Yorkshire estate, which as well as being immensely rich in coal, also contained considerable amounts of clayband ironstone.

Following a further sale, and name change to the Park Gate Manufacturing Company, the company eventually finished up in the hands of two well-known West Midland entrepreneurs and financiers, Charles Geach, a director of a large engineering concern, (The Patent Shaft and Axletree Company), and Samuel Beale, chairman of the Midland Railway Company. Both men were well connected with the Midland Bank, Geach in fact being one of the advisors to a group of Birminghammanufactures involved in the setting up of a new joint-stock bank, in which, by 1859, Beale was the largest independent shareholder.[2] Geach died in 1854, the works carried on under the Beale family, (there had been some inter-marriage between the families) until, on 31st March 1864, the “Park Gate Iron Company, Ltd,” took possession from the former owners, “Samuel Beale and Company.”[3] The company remained though, firmly in the hands of the Beale (and Geach) family.[4]


The late 1850’s were difficult times in south Yorkshire. Coal, and not ironstone, was the main prize to be won from the local mines, and this obviously created difficulties for the ironmasters. Industrial unrest in the area added another dimension to the problem.[5] Beale thus became interested in developments in north Lincolnshire; in fact, he was the first to try the Frodingham stone, this in the Park Gate blast furnaces, confirmed by Roland Winn in a letter to his father of February 17th 1860: “Roseby has closed a bargain with Beale for 100 acres of ironstone. I am sorry to say we have only got 1/- per ton for it, instead of 1/6d or even 1/3d. Beale found out somehow what Dawes was paying and as the latter had recently won a contract by undercutting Beale, he vowed he would not be bested by Dawes again. He said as he was the first to try the ironstone (which he was) that he ought to have the same terms as Dawes.” NPC3/1/6(446)


The trials at Rotherhamwere successful: by an agreement of 16th February 1860, Beale had agreed to lease 102 acres in Frodingham Parish.[6] Rent charge was £550 per annum, royalty on ironstone was 1/- per ton, and the lease was to run for 30 years. (NP C2/32/10 26)



West Riding Archive Service Leeds: NP C2/32/10


Copies of the correspondence between Roland Winn and John Roseby describe the way the history of the lease progressed:


3rd January 1862: John Roseby writes to Roland Winn from the Park Gate works: I have seen Mr Sanderson, the Works Manager, and all they will offer for the calcined stone is 9/- shillings per ton of 21 cwt.[7] They do not propose to work their own stone until the spring.

NP C3/1/6


24th May 1862: J Roseby ( from the Winns Ironstone Mine company offices) to R Winn: I have met with Mr Beale, Mr Sanderson and the young man who is to manage their affairs here, today. We have fixed the site for their railweay, they are to commence work immediately. NPC3/1/6.


25th June 1862:  I have suggested to Mr Beale the following charges for shipping from the Trent Jetty; wagon hire 6d per wagon

Use of jetty 1d per ton

Shipping 1¾d per ton  ( that is loading vessels)

Total 8¾d per ton.

The cost of maintaining the jetty        for the last 6 months has been 3.69 pence per ton.[8]



1st April 1864: Beale give power to construct a line between Gunhouse junction and the Trent Jetty. This power does not seem to have been exercised.[9]


30th October 1864: J. Roseby to R. Winn, Mr Sanderson thinks they will never get good pig iron from the Park Gate furnaces due to the state they are in. He proposes to suggest to his directors that they approach Mr. Winn for a site on which to erect four blast furnaces near to their present lease. I fear this would greatly anger Mr Adamson if he gets to hear of it : he was in a fearful temper over us letting his chosen plot to Mr Beale some years ago. NP/C3/1/6 .


15TH January 1865; John Roseby to Roland Winn, I am sorry to have to report that the Park Gate company do not now plan to build furnaces at present. I think now we should consider Beales royalty. I am sure we could reasonably double his rents under the circumstances.



[1] Mumford, Iron and Steel Town, pages 78/79.

[2] Holmes, A. R. and Green, E.  Midland, 150 years of banking business, especially pages 15, 16 & 37. The bank was in fact the Birmingham and Midland, known for ever after as the plain ‘Midland’

[3] Guest, J, Relics and Records. Page 93.

[4] Holmes and Green, op.cit., page 31

[5] Machin, The Yorkshire Miners, page 277-292



[7]  There had been some suggestion from Roseby that calcining should be done on the Trent bank. Calcining was a process of burning the ore in ‘clamps with the intention of driving out moisture and some impurities.

[8] Traffic to the jetty would run over the Gunhouse brsnch.

[9] Nostell Priory Papers catalogue number C3/5/3/1 (919) is an account book recording shipments by the Park Gate Iron Company from Frodingham to their works at Rawmarsh, near Rotherham. The ledger gives the name of the vessel, the captain, and the tonnage carried from 1859 to 1862. It categorically gives the place of shipment as the Trent Wharf, Gunhouse. There is no mention of the so-often quoted ‘Chatterton’s Wharf’ or any other location. In fact, it is as well to record here and now that the present author, despite an extensive search, has yet to come across the location of ‘Chatterton’s Wharf’ on any map or plan.

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