Charles Markham (1823-1888)

(c) Chesterfield Museum & Art Gallery; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

Portrait: Chesterfield Museum

Charles Markham was born on 1st March, 1823. He was the son of Charles Markham and Eliza Packharness of Oundle, Northamptonshire.

Charles did not follow in the family tradition of solicitors but started his career as an engineer. He worked for the Great Eastern Railway Company before taking up a job as Assistant Superintendant with the Midland Railway Company in Derby. Whilst there, he worked out a way of allowing coal to be fired instead of coke in locomotive fire boxes, saving the Midland Railway thousands of pounds each year (£50,000). He impressed Joseph Paxton, one of the Directors, who was soon to become his father-in-law when Charles married his daughter, Rosa, in 1862.

In 1863-4, he was persuaded by his friend, Richard Barrow, to leave the railway and come to Staveley and become his Chief Engineer and Managing Director at his newly formed Staveley Coal and Iron Company.

Charles and Rosa left their home at Belper and came to live at Brimington Hall in 1864, and later moved to Tapton House. They had three sons, Charles Paxton, Arthur and Ernest, and two daughters, Violet and Geraldine.

Charles died at Tapton House on 30th August 1888 and was succeeded at Staveley by his eldest son, Charles Paxton Markham.

© Sandra Struggles