Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Mexborough to Sprotborough (5)

This is the fifth in a series of postings which will include some old photographs taken along the South Yorkshire Navigation. Today the navigation is used for leisure, however for many years it was an essential service for fledgling businesses during the early days of the industrial revolution.  Eventually overtaken for speed and carrying capacity by the railways. The railways like the waterways has since shrunk over time. Starting with the privations brought about by the Beeching axe. Now the navigation has a mostly leisure and historical perspective. That harks back to a far different era.

Mexborough to Sprotborough 

Thomas Barron, the firm was established in 1850, when Thomas and Joseph Barron and a number of partners purchased an existing flint-glass works at Mexborough. (The Barrons originated from Hunslet in the parish of Leeds, where they had been involved in glassmaking, and arrived at Mexborough after working in the trade in Castleford.) The business was successful, ('Collars and cuffs and a glance at the newspaper were not much in their line in those days', reported the local newspaper admiringly some sixty years later) but the other partners left the partnership to establish the south Yorkshire Glass Bottle Works at Swinton, leaving the Mexborough business in the possession of Thomas and Joseph Barron. The brothers dissolved their partnership in 1864, and split the ownership of the works into two firms. 

The little working Hamlet of Levitt Hagg once relied upon limestone quarrying and lime burning. The lime was then transported up or down the river Don to Hull or Sheffield until the Railway was built in 1849.

The history of Levitt Hagg is fascinating. In the eighteenth century limestone quarries opened in South Yorkshire to provide building materials. John Battie began quarrying operations. He had entered the quarrying business because the growth in population in the 18th century had created a demand for stone to build more houses. In 1750 quarrying operations started at the base of Warmsworth Cliffs in the Don Gorge near Sprotbrough and  the hamlet of Levitt Hagg was established to house the quarry workers and workers employed in the boat yard.  As well as quarrying operations, barges intended for  use on the canals were built on the river side close to the village, the first one being completed in 1886.

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