Well, I haven’t had time to do very much over the last few days. I did order a book of old photos of Rawmarsh and Parkgate, though, which looks interesting (Around Rawmarsh and Parkgate by Anthony Dodsworth).
From flicking through it, I have discovered that
- Parkgate increased rapidly in size over 50 years or so from 1823
- Between 1853 and 1861 the Parkgate works was the only one in the country capable of producing huge rolled armour plate for naval ships
- Workers flocked to Parkgate from all over the country but especially from iron-producing counties like Staffordshire
- The name Parkgate is first recorded in a will of 1559 and is likely to refer to a gate to nearby Aldwarke Hall (the hall was demolished in 1899)
- The original ironworks was developed from 1823 on a site to the west of the main Rotherham to Rawmarsh Road, adjoining Taylor’s Lane
- The works relocated in the 1860s to the opposite side of the road to a larger site alongside the LMS Railway
There doesn’t seem to be any mention in the book of the takeover of the works by the Birmingham Tin Plate Company in 1832. I’m interested in this because it does seem possible that James Williams moved there c. 1837 from the Wednesbury area because of this connection (although it could just be coincidental).