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W. & S. Butcher


   
 

William Jessop and Sons, Limited - Sheffield, UK


 
  Death of Mr. Thomas Jessop by Sheffield Independent, 10/01/1887

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NOTE:  I received this extensive obituary, published in Sheffield Independent, as a clipping from Geoffrey Tweedale.  It is an excellent review of Jessop's life and success of his company.  It is also fascinating review of events occurring in Sheffield during large chunk of time in 19th century.  Geoffrey, as always, I am very grateful for your contribution.  Thank you! WK.

Another of Sheffield’s foremost citizens is dead! At the mature age of eighty-three, has passed away from our midst, Mr. Thomas Jessop, a name familiar as a household word; a name that will long be held in fragrant remembrance amongst us.

It would have been well, people are apt to think, could we have had spared to us for years to come so noble an example of an upright, honourable, kind-hearted, generous citizen; but, as he often remarked at recent gatherings at which he was present, “I cannot expect at my time of life to be with you on many more occasions.”

He had long felt the infirmities of age creeping upon him; but he remained as bright, and cheery, and as full of spirits as ever. Indeed, it was characteristic of him to look on the sunny side of life; not alone when ripe experience, and wealth, and honours had come to him, but when his position had to be won.

His cheerfulness and buoyancy of spirit remained undisturbed almost to the last, though he had been confined to his house for many weeks, and had more than once looked death in the face. His illness commenced with an attack of asthma, an old enemy of his, which his vigorous constitution had enabled him previously to resist. But this attack was more serious than any before, and his condition became critical from the fact that there were evident signs of failing strength.

For the last six weeks he had scarcely or ever been able to occupy his bed for two nights in succession, the difficulty of breathing making it necessary that he should occupy a sitting position. But in spite of this he rarely or ever lost his spirits, or was other than he has always been to his relatives and friends. Mr. Jessop died yesterday afternoon at his residence, Endcliffe Grange. During his illness he has been attended by Mr. W. Favell.

Mr. Jessop will be remembered as one of Sheffield’s most energetic, enterprising, successful manufacturers; as one who took the deepest practical interest in all that concerned the welfare of her people; as one who gave most nobly and generously to all movements that commended themselves to him as deserving of support; but not less will he be remembered for his kindness of heart and for his altogether unostentatious and unassuming demeanour. In this respect he was, indeed, a model man.

He abhorred display and laudatory references to himself more than can be described. Again and again was he appealed to by enterprising journalists for the “story of his life,” but always without success.

To one such request he replied, “No, sir, that’s not in my line. Come and see my pictures; that will be much better than listening to anything I can tell you about myself.” On another occasion, when appealed to on the same point, he answered, “There’s now’t about myself worth telling.”

Then, with a merry twinkle in his eye, he continued, “Did I ever tell you about that workman of mine and his milk bill?” “No!” “Well he was an unsteady chap, and one week he had no wages at all to draw. When the milkman called on the Monday morning for his money, the wife said she had not got any.

The fact was Mr. Jessop could pay his men their wages on Saturday!” the venerable old gentleman shook with laughter at the idea of being in such an impecunious state. Mr. Jessop outlived most of his contemporaries. It will be noticed in the following sketch of his career how many of those with whom he was associated in early and middle and even later life have passed away. And now, full of years and full of honours, he himself has gone over to the great majority.

Mr. Jessop was born on the last day of January, 1804, and was one of a numerous family. His father, Mr. William Jessop, who was a practical steel melter, married one of two sisters, daughters of Mr. Taylor, a steel manufacturer in the town; and Mr. Joseph Gillott, the eminent pen maker, married the other sister.

Mr. William Jessop had four sons - Montague, Thomas, Sydney, and Henry, and several daughters.

The father, during the earlier part of his married life, was a member of a firm of steel manufacturers who carried on business in a small way, and his sons Montague and Sydney, when old enough, were taught his trade and worked under him in the steel furnace.

Thomas was apprenticed to an edge took maker in youth who, in after years, was known as “Old Billy Jenkinson,” acting as his striker, and Henry went into the office of Mr. Samuel Bailey, then a merchant in the town.

About the year 1830, father and sons commenced business on their own account in Furnival Street, under the style of William Jessop and Sons; and then and there were laid the foundations of a firm who success in making steel has scarcely been excelled. The father, Montague, and Sydney attended to the practical part of the business, and Thomas and Henry devoted their attention to the commercial department.

They started with the determination to make only steel of the best quality, believing that in the end their interests would be best served by such a course. Things prospered with them, and being men of enterprise, they determined to endeavor to establish themselves abroad as well as at home.
 


 
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