John Healey MP has unveiled a new blue plaque to honour a steel pioneer, Charles James Stoddart, and celebrate 200 years of Parkgate.
Charles was a former office boy at Park Gate’s base in Westminster and was moved to Rotherham by the company in 1864 to work at the heart of the steel making business.
Charles went on to serve the company for over 50 years – finally becoming managing director. He also held the role of Mayor of Rotherham four times and in 1907 became the very first Freeman of the borough.
The plaque, which was organised by Rawmarsh and Parkgate Local History Group and Rotherham Civic Society, was unveiled at Sir Charles’ former home, Granby House, which is now a children’s nursery.
Wentworth and Dearne MP, John Healey, said: “I can think of no better way to celebrate 200 years of Parkgate than the unveiling of the blue plaque in honour of one of its pioneers, Sir Charles James Stoddart.
“Under his stewardship Parkgate Steelworks built some of the best steel in the world, much like now, it made world beating steel that others look to for lessons on how to build.
“The new plaque commemorates his legacy and draws together the past, the present and the future of Parkgate.”
Charles was also the first president of the original Rotherham Town football club.
He died in 1913 and thousands of people lined the streets of Rotherham during his funeral. As his cortege made its way to Moorgate Cemetery it was followed by workers from Parkgate Steelworks.
The plaque has been unveiled as part of the Parkgate 200 celebrations which commemorates 200 years since the Parkgate area was established and celebrates its rich industrial history and heritage.
Rawmarsh East Councillor David Sheppard said: “It’s vital that we celebrate our local history and it’s great that we now have a permanent memorial to Charles Stoddart in Parkgate.
“The plague unveiling is part of the Parkgate 200 celebrations and there aren’t many places around the country that can pinpoint the moment when they first began. So, it’s special for Parkgate to have this date, 1823, when the first ironworks and small steelworks were built and it’s an important reminder of our industrial heritage.”
Tony Dodsworth from Rawmarsh and Parkgate Local History Group said: “This is the first time we’ve had a visual representation of the history of Parkgate.
“Charles Stoddart is a really good example of someone who came to Parkgate and made good. Hopefully people will see the plaque, wonder what it is and find out more about his story.”