ROTHERHAM: Geographical and Historical information from the year 1829.
"ROTHERHAM, is a small but flourishing and respectable market-town in the parish of its name, in the wapentake of Strafforth and Tickhill, and in the liberty of Hallamshire, 159 miles from London, 49 from York, 47 from Manchester, 12 from Doncaster, and six from Sheffield. The town is situated partly on the declivity of a hill and partly in a valley on the river Don, at its confluence with the Rother, and enjoys great facilities of water carriage, to all the great manufacturing towns in Yorkshire and Lancashire. The chief importance of this place is derived from the extensive iron-works at the village of Masbrough, nearly adjoining the town, in this parish. The period of the first establishment of these celebrated works was about the year 1752, by the late Samuel Walker, Esq. who, at the age of twelve years, was left an orphan, with two brothers and four sisters, destitute of property and almost of education, but by attentive industry, and being blessed with superior natural talent, be was soon enabled to commence a school. But this was not congenial to his mind, and he shortly, assisted by his brothers Aaron and Jonathan, commenced a small foundry, in which his genius truly and successfully developed itself, and was, in the course of time, rewarded with a princely fortune, and his manufactures justly esteemed the most extensive in Europe. He died in May, 1782, in the 66th year of his age, after bestowing numerous benefactions on the charitable institutions belonging to the town. Less business is at present done at these works than formerly; this is attributable to the number of similar establishments which have arisen in various other parts of the kingdom, and not to the quality of the articles manufactured being held in less estimation. During the late war, a great proportion of the cannon, &c. for the use of the army, were manufactured here; also several large iron bridges particularly that over the Thames, called Southwark bridge as well as those of Sunderland, Yarm and Staines; and the several establishments in the parish at this period give employment to numerous mechanics, and cause a circulation of money to a very considerable amount. Although the iron trade of Rotherham is its staple, yet there are other branches of high respectability, comprising chymical, oil, and glass works; large malting concerns, a starch manufactory, roperies, &c. &c. The places for divine worship here are the parish church, built in the reign of Edward IV. a spacious Gothic structure, dedicated to All Saints; the dissenters' chapel, erected in 1705; and the Methodists', re-built in 1805, which has a school attached to it for thirty poor children. The most prominent of the charitable institutions are a fret, grammar school, endowed by the King; a charity school, supported by the donations of the benevolent from time immemorial, besides others of minor importance. A relief from commercial and trading pursuits is given by the establishment of an excellent subscription library, containing upwards of 2,000 well selected volumes. The weekly market is on Monday, and there is also a cattle market every second Monday. The fairs are Whit-Monday and December the first. The population, according to the returns for 1821, amounted to 3,548."
[Transcribed from Pigot's National Commericial Directory for 1828-29 ]
by Colin Hinson ©2007