This article is reproduced with kind permission from the Barrow Hill and Hollingwood Website,
http://barrowhillandhollingwood.info/ We would encourage you to visit this website, it contains a wealth of imformation about the local area both current and historical.
Richard Barrow (1787 - 1865)
The Barrow Family were gentry from Southwell
with very strong connections to the Church of
England. Richard’s father, also Richard, was vicar
choral of Southwell and Master of the Free
Grammar School whilst his uncle, William Barrow,
was the Archdeacon of Nottingham. Richard’s
brother, James, was the Rector of South Lopham
in Norfolk, brother William was the MP for
South Nottinghamshire and elder brother George
Hodgkinson Barrow was a solicitor before taking
on the forge at Staveley.
Both Richard and his younger brother John had
made their fortunes as London merchants trading
to Spain, Portugal and China. Richard Barrow
retired from overseas trade in 1840, a very rich
man. Whilst his brother and partner John retired
to a country estate, Richard went into a new
venture and joined his brother George at
Staveley. He took over control of the business,
signing a new lease on 28th February 1843 which gave him control of all the mines and beds
of coal and ironstone in the manor of Staveley. This was at the height of the industrial
revolution, when coal was in great demand and the coming of the railways suggested that
fortunes could be made.
By 1862, Barrow was the owner of the largest collieries in Derbyshire capable of producing
800,000 tons of coal from the five shafts and one of which raised 1,100 tons of coal in a
single twenty four hour period. Barrow used the iron from his three foundries to produce
castings of every description and in 1862 he produced the 4,000 tons of girders needed for
the great exhibition centre without any problems in three months - such was the size of the
Richard Barrow was not quite the kindly, Pickwickian gentleman seen in this portrait, rather
he was a man of iron determination and outstanding business ability who built a great
industrial empire. He was at times ruthless; challenged by the miner’s union in 1844 he
flooded a pit rather than meet them on their own terms. The business became The Staveley
Coal and Iron Company” in July 1863, a public company, and Richard Barrow was its first
chairman and largest shareholder. At this time the company employed 3,000 workers, the
collieries raised some 1,000,000 tons of coal per annum and the foundries and furnaces
produced 20,000 tons of castings.
The village of “Barrow’s Hill” was named after him.