Richard Barrow (1787-1865)
Richard Barrow had made his fortune as London merchant before investing in the family business ‘The Staveley Forge’. He took over control of the business in 1843.
By 1862, Barrow was the owner of the largest collieries in Derbyshire. He 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 company’s resources.
He took over control of the Staveley Forge from his brother George and laid the foundations of what was to become one of the largest coal and iron companies in the country, the Staveley Coal and Iron Company. By 1863 it was a public company and Richard Barrow was its first Chairman and largest shareholder. At this time the company employed 3,000 workers. He persuaded his friend, Charles Markham to come to Staveley to be his chief engineer and managing director.
The business became The Staveley Coal and Iron Company in July 1863. It was a public company and Richard Barrow was its first chairman and largest shareholder. At this time the company employed 3,000 workers.
Barrow was a philanthropist and greatly concerned with the welfare of his workers, and in 1852 began to construct housing, a church, a school and workers dining hall which formed the village called Barrow Hill, named after him.
George and Richard Barrow lived at Ringwood Hall and between 1853 and 1865, under Richard’s direction, the gardens were landscaped and a series of glasshouses were built. It was important to him that the gardens could be shared and seen by the local community and, on Sundays, the gardens were opened up to local workers and their families.
Today, the Barrow Hill Roundhouse, (built in 1870) is famous as the last surviving railway roundhouse in the UK with an operational turntable, and brings many visitors to the village which Barrow built.