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iron trade

Image of High Street, Swindon

Williams family of Swindon

The family of Isaac and Sarah Williams (nee Baldwin) moved to Swindon, Staffordshire between 1869 and 1871, moving from Lower Mitton (Stourport) in Worcestershire to Wolverhampton between 1861 and 1863 and then to Swindon, a small village in Staffordshire, near to Dudley.


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Swindon ironworks

This is Swindon in Staffordshire, not the other, much larger one in Wiltshire.

I have been browsing through Around Pattingham and Wombourne in old photographs and thought I’d note the following information about the ironworks. Hopefully, this will help me unpick the movements of the Williams family between Swindon, Wolverhampton and Wilden.


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Books and maps about Parkgate

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).


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Stephen Summerhill’s occupation

I know from the baptisms/birthplaces of his children that Stephen Summerhill moved from Saul, Gloucestershire to Tipton, Staffordshire sometime between 1822 and 1825. I’m trying to establish where he might have worked as it looks as if he might have been at Springvale Furnaces (later Bilston Steelworks) c. 1833, a tin shearer at Wilden by 1841, a tin shearer at Wolverhampton by 1851 (living in St Matthew’s district), at Farfield, Kidderminster in 1861, still listed as a tin shearer at the age of 69.


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