Thomas Jessop (1804-1887)

On the article I wrote on Sheffield's Jessop's Hospital for Women, I could not help but notice the prominent role played by Thomas Jessop in establishing and funding the Hospital at Leavygate Road.

Thomas Jessop, was born on 30th January 1804 at the family home in Blast Lane, Sheffield. The family was a large one - Thomas had three brothers and four sisters. The family house was situated next to William Jessopís works which he had established in 1793, the company, taking the name of the partners, Mitchell, Raikes, and Jessop. It should be pointed out that Blast Lane at the turn of the nineteenth century bore no comparison to what it was later to become - an a classic Victorian urban slum. At the time the company was started the area was predominantly rural.

Thomas was initially apprenticed to a local edge tool maker called Billy Jenkinson, but with the expansion of his fathers business Thomas and his brothers to be taken on as partners in 1830.  Thomas and his brothers joined the business in 1830 and just two years later the small crucible steelmakers became William Jessop & Sons.

With expanding markets in the United States especially for the company's cutlery steel, the business moved to a site in the Brightside area of Sheffield in 1845and later a works at Kilnhurst, was added.



The Brightside works eventually covered 30 acres and included the site of the former water works. Following the deaths of his father and brothers, Thomas was in sole charge of the business by 1871. The company which was originally established in 1793 became a Limited Company in 1875. .

The Jessop works at Brightside became one of the biggest steelworks in the country and in 1875 the firm became a limited company with a share capital of £400,000. Jessops specialised in Crucible steel for cutlery, edge tools, and engineering and also gained a reputation in America, particularly for cutlery steel.

Jessop was a well known public figure and held many important civic posts including Master Cutler (1863), Mayor (1863-4), Alderman (1864), Town Trustee (1862) and JP (1863). As Mayor in 1864 Jessop had to deal with the aftermath of the great Sheffield flood. He became treasurer of a compensation fund of around £50,000. Jessop was also a member of Sheffield's first town council when the town became a corporate borough in 1843.


Thomas Jessop died on 30th November 1887 and is buried in Ecclesall All Saints Parish Churchyard in Sheffield.

The funeral received extensive coverage in the local press. The Sheffield & Rotherham Independent (Sheffield, England), dated Monday, December 05, 1887 printed the following report


Thomas's  last resting place in Ecclesall Churchyard Sheffield - taken March 2012


 Name  Relation Marital Status Gender Age Birthplace Occupation
 Thomas  JESSOP  Head   Married   Male   77   Sheffield, York, England   Magistrate Retired Steel Manftr 
 F.Y.JESSOP  Wife   Married   Female   63   Liverpool, Lancashire, England    
 Catherine MAKON  Serv   U   Female   31   Monaghan Glebe   Cook (Dom) 
 Elizabeth STANLEY  Serv   U   Female   16   Carlton, Nottingham, England   Housemaid (Dom) 
 Lucy DURRAN  Serv   U   Female   23   Greasbro, York, England   Housemaid (Dom) 
 Maria COOK  Serv   U   Female   23   Sheffield, York, England   Chamber Maid (Dom) 
 Elleanor NORBURN  Serv   U   Female   24   Rotherham, York, England   Cook (Dom) 

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This page was last updated on 12/03/12 10:56