Richard Barrow (1787 – 1865)

Barrow watermarked

Portrait: Chesterfield Museum

Richard Barrow was born on 20th July 1787. He was the son of Richard Barrow, Vicar Choral at Southwell Collegiate College, Nottinghamshire, and Mary Hodgkinson.

When he was in his early twenties, he lived in London where he was in partnership with his younger brother, John, as a sea merchant, trading with Spain, Portugal and China.

In 1840, at the age of fifty three, he retired  and could have enjoyed a wealthy lifestyle, but instead came to run his elder brother George’s failing iron foundry at Staveley Forge.

BH Forge wm

The Barrows lived at Ringwood Hall.

By 1843, Richard Barrow was laying the foundations of what was to become one of the greatest Coal and Iron Companies in the country. He cleared out the out-dated iron works, built two new furnaces and opened a number of coal mines

He built a village, overlooking the works, for his workforce, and named it Barrow’s Hill, after himself.

He built Speedwell Terrace at Staveley and named it after one of his ships.

In 1863-4, he formed the Staveley Coal and Iron Company and persuaded his friend, Charles Markham, to leave his job with the Midland Railway in Derby and come to Staveley to be his Chief Engineer and Managing Director.

Richard Barrow never married. He died on 10th January 1865 aged seventy seven years. He was buried in the same tomb as his brother, George Hodgkinson Barrow, at the side of Staveley Church Tower.

©Sandra Struggles