Iron and steel works near Barrow-in-Furnes, 1867.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
The plate is from the Illustrated London News (Vol 67/2 p 421). The Barrow Haematite Company's works was one of the first to produce Besemer steel, named after the creator of the technique, Henry Besemer (1813-1898), on a grand scale. At full blast its 11 furnaces turned out a quarter of a million tons of pig iron each year. Besemer converters changed half of this into steel, quadrupling its market value. The steel works turned Barrow-in-Furnes, formerly a quiet fishing village, into a town of 15,000, which Gladstone prophesied would rival Liverpool.