A new process of making iron, using a blast furnace and a forge, both powered by water, was introduced into the Weald in the 1490s, and spread to other parts of England and Wales from the 1550s. This book provides a history of every ironworks of the charcoal blast furnace period, except the Weald. It also covers early coke ironworks (built before 1815) and water-powered bloomeries (of the previous technology). After introductory material on the industry generally, each chapter deals with the ironworks of one district, including also other water-powered mills processing iron, steel furnaces, early ironworks powered by steam engines, and a few other works. Blade mills (and cutlers wheels), which provided the initial cutting edge for tools are not included in those areas where they are ubiquitous. The period covered is an era in the technology of an important industry in Great Britain.
Peter King has studied the history of the iron industry for nearly 40 years, obtaining a doctorate on its economic history from the University of Wolverhampton. He had published many articles mostly on the history of iron and other metals, transport, mills, and local history.
‘The proposed gazetteer will provide a ready source of reference for a period of significant industrialisation and be of value to any researcher in that field.’ Dr Peter Claughton, University of Exeter‘
[T]he book contributes a great deal to what is known about the early modern iron industry locally, regionally and nationally. I would rate the contribution as very great, and of assistance to anyone in the future investigating the industry at any of those three levels, either empirically or more theoretically.’ Mr Philip Riden, University of Nottingham
‘This is a very significant piece of original work. … [The author] has seen beyond the regional borders that limit some previous work.’ Peer Reviewer