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Thursday, 20 December 2012

Men of Steel

My latest feature for the January issue of BBC Who Do You Think You Are? magazine focuses on researching Sheffield steel-worker ancestors.  Technological innovations in steel-making such as the Bessemer process transformed the fortunes of towns like Sheffield and Barrow-in-Furness.

In Sheffield, the Lower Don valley was a hive of industry, bustling with noisy, smoky iron and steel works. In 1872, three Sheffield works had Bessemer converters: Henry Bessemer & Co,
John Brown & Co. and Charles Cammell & Co. Men and boys worked in the large steel firms.
This was an especially interesting feature for me to write, because my Hollis ancestors lived in Sheffield.

Images from the author’s collection:
Bessemer converter at work. Work and Workers, T.C. and E.C. Jack Ltd., c.1920.
Scene in a Bessemer steelworks.   How It Is Made, Thomas Nelson & Sons, c.1910

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