Yates and Haywood
James Yates, who was born in 1779 was the great nephew of Samuel Walker I.
Having trained as a model maker with the Walker family, at the age of 28 he moved to their Gospel Oak ironworks in Staffordshire, but returned to Rotherham some six years later.
In 1823 he entered into partnership with Robert Sandford and took over the Walker’s foundry business, but did not occupy the Walker premises. The partners chose a site, named the New Foundry, on Greasbrough Road, formerly established by Clay and Co. This site was subsequently bought in 1801 by Ebenezer Elliott, but the business which he carried on there ended in bankruptcy.
By 1825 30 men and boys were employed in the business, one of whom was Mr Owen. By 1832 Mr Owen had become a partner in the business. Having bought the models of general goods they commenced the task of rebuilding the foundry business.
The business at this time manufactured smaller items such as spades, shovels and frying pans, but as the business expanded kitchen ranges and stove grates were predominantly manufactured.
In 1831 a forge for the manufacture of large wrought iron forgings for marine engine works was added where, amongst other products, paddle wheel shafts weighing up to 18 tons were forged.
During the following years the partnership acquired more new premises including a forge in Masbrough Street. The original New Foundry was renamed the Phoenix Works.
In 1838 after a vast expansion of the business had taken place the partnership split and James Yates took over the foundry on the Phoenix site together with the Rotherham Foundry and the business continued to expand and prosper.
In addition to cast iron products, James Yates patented and manufactured beautiful letters in China in brilliant colours which were used as sign boards, and adorned shop fronts.
Yates Haywood and Co was formed in 1846 when George Haywood and John Drabble entered the partnership. George Haywood had been apprentice at a Sheffield iron foundry and later a designer and model maker at a firm whose designs helped establish their reputation as artistical designers. The company also began manufacturing early gas cookers.
An Exhibition of a magnificent stove or fire place for the Whistle Jacket Room at Wentworth Woodhouse was put on display to the public before its installation at the great house.
In 1851 the company displayed a selection of their products at the Great Exhibition in Hyde Park which was retained and displayed 100 years later at the Festival of Britain in 1951.
New land was leased at this time to provide for expansion of the business and a new factory was built which was named the Effingham Works after the Earl of Effingham who owned the land.
The Effingham Works were said to have the longest frontage in Europe.
John Guest described the business as producing “a vast range of articles down from the most elegant design and exquisite finish, to the plainest and simple articles of utility; from the ornamental fire places, fire irons and fenders which have to challenge admiration in palatial halls and require all the modellers and mechanics taste dexterity and skill down to the pot grate of the humblest home”.
Indoor furniture included ornamental tables in the richest style of the French and Italian taste with festoons of flowers and scroll work , ornamental umbrella and hat stands, table ornaments and flower pot stands. Outdoor furniture was similarly ornate. Garden sofas and tables constructed to represent rustic work represented by rough stems and trees tied by cords.
The company had a large London Establishment, Dyer’s Hall Wharf near London Bridge which supplied both the home market and also “the uttermost parts of the earth”.
After the retirement of James Yates in 1874 the company became a limited company in 1879
Although a wealthy and successful businessman, James Yates was no stranger to tragedy.
In 1841 his son, James Yates jnr died in the Masbrough boatyard disaster along with the son of his partner George Haywood.
James Yates resided at Oakwood Hall and had Oakwood Grange built for his daughter and son in law Robert Bentley Shaw-Yates.
Following his death from shingles, neuralgia and exhaustion in 1881, James Yates was laid to rest in the plot he had acquired for his family in Moorgate Cemetery. Only 3 of the possible 36 spaces are occupied; James Yates himself, his second wife Betsy and his son in law.
The grave is surrounded by blue iron railings made in the foundry he had started nearly 60 years earlier.