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Charles Cammell

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Cammell, Charles (1810-1879) of Charles Cammell and Co, steelmaker

1810 Born at Hull

1845 October. Married Marianne the widow of John Wright of Birmingham [1]

1861 Living in Norton, Derbyshire, manufacturer and merchant of steel and iron, with Mary A Cammell 45, Charles D W Cammell 14, Alice Maude Cammell 12, Bernard E Cammell 10, Minard A Cammell 6, Archibald A Cammell 4 and his niece Mary H Cammell 40[2]

1871 Living in Buriton, Hants with Mary Ann Cammell 54, Charles D W Cammell 24, George Henry Cammell 19, Archibald Cammell 14[3]

1879 Died.

1879 January. Obituary [4]


1879 Obituary [5]

Charles Cammell was born at Hull, in 1810, and was apprenticed to an ironmonger there.

On the expiration of his apprenticeship, in 1830, he removed to Sheffield, and was engaged by Messrs. Ibbotson, of the Globe Works, in the capacity of a commercial traveller, in which he proved eminently successful.

In 1837 he commenced business on his own account, in partnership with Messrs. Thomas and Henry Johnson, under the firm of Johnson, Cammell and Co, as steel and file manufacturers and merchants, in Furnival Street.

The business prospered, and in 1845 the firm established the Cyclops Works, in the vicinity of the railway station, outside the town. The land at first taken was under 2 acres in extent; but the works there now cover nearly 11 acres.

Several changes took place in the constitution of the firm, and in 1861 Charles Cammell and Co. commenced the manufacture of rails and railway material, and, two years later, of armour plates.

In 1864 the business was converted into a limited company, Mr. Cammell being appointed chairman. Since the establishment of the Company its business relations have widely extended, and it now occupies one of the foremost positions among the limited companies in the country, owning or leasing several iron and steel works and collieries.

For many years before his death Mr. Cammell took no active part in the affairs of the company. Mr. Cammell was elected an Associate of this Institution on the 5th of June, 1849.

He was extremely industrious, hard-working, plodding, and pushing, and to these qualities a good deal of his success was due; but it was due also in very great measure to his being associated with those who thoroughly understood the practical part of the business, and who aided him in its development. He died in London on the 12th of January, 1879.


1880 Obituary [6]

CHARLES CAMMELL was born in Hull on 10th January 1810, and died in London on 12th January 1879, having just entered his seventieth year.

After serving an apprenticeship to an ironmonger in Hull, he came to Sheffield in 1830, and entered the service of Messrs. Ibbotson, of the Globe Works, as commercial traveller.

In 1837, in conjunction with Messrs. Thomas and Henry Johnson, he started business in Furnival Street, as steel and file manufacturers, under the style of Johnson Cammell and Co.

In 1845, finding their premises insufficient, they removed to some fields near the Sheffield and Rotherham railway station, now occupied by the enormous Cyclops Works.

In 1852 Mr. Thomas Johnson died, and Mr. Edward Bury became a partner in the works. He retired in 1855, and the firm then assumed the style of Charles Cammell and Co.

In 1861 the manufacture of rails and railway material was added; and in 1863 that of armour plates. The business had now grown so large as to necessitate further extension and development of the works.

Accordingly in 1863 additional works were erected at Grimesthorpe, near Sheffield : and in 1864 the firm was converted into a Limited Company, Mr. Cammell taking the position of chairman, which he retained to his death. Under his management, and that of Mr. George Wilson as managing director, the success of the Company, in all departments, was continuous and brilliant.

In 1865 they acquired the Yorkshire Iron and Steel Works, at Penistone, and in 1873 the Oaks Colliery, near Barnsley, thus becoming the possessors of their seen raw material.

The present position and business of the Company may be thus described. At the Cyclops Works, covering nearly eleven acres, are manufactured all kinds of crucible steel, Bessemer steel, and iron. Armour plates are also made here, and have been rolled to a thickness of 24 in., and to a weight of 45 tons. A special product is Mr. Alexander Wilson's compound armour plate, consisting of an iron plate with a steel face welded on to it (see Proceedings 1879, p. 64). So much success has attended the development of this process, that the Admiralty and the War Department have definitely adopted the system in place of iron alone.

At the Grimesthorpe Works, railway springs, tyres, and buffers, steel forgings, and steel boiler-plates are manufactured upon a large scale. In the forge are several heavy hammers, one of 25 tons weight, which is used in the forging of heavy gun-blocks, marine and mill engine-shafts, &c.

Here also is the steel foundry, one of the largest in the kingdom, capable of turning out steel castings up to 35 tons weight, and having amongst other appliances a travelling crane to lift 60 tons. The Penistone Works are entirely devoted to the production of Bessemer steel from the converter, and its manufacture into rails, axles, tyres, forgings, and ship-plates. The collieries comprise about 1,100 acres, and are capable of raising about 10,000 tons of coal per week, the greater part of which is consumed at the various works of the Company. Exclusive of these, the total area of land occupied by the works of the Company is nearly 60 acres. Between 5,000 and 6,000 men are employed, and the weekly production of iron and steel amounts to fully 3,500 tons.

For some years before his death Mr. Cammell had retired from the active management of the business, but he continued to attend the directors' meetings, &c. His whole heart was in his works, neither politics nor local matters interesting him greatly; and his success was mainly due on the one hand to his unwearied industry and perseverance, and on the other hand to his skill in selecting partners and subordinates specially qualified to assist him in the development and carrying on of his enormous business.

He became a Member of the Institution in October 1847, the first year of its existence ; but he never took any part in the proceedings.


1878 Obituary [7]

Mr. CHARLES CAMMELL.- This well-known steel manufacturer died at his residence in London on Sunday, the 12th January. Mr. Cammell was a self-made man. He was born at Hull, and was apprenticed to an ironmonger there. Shortly after the termination of his indentures, in the year 1830, he left the busy Humber port and went to Sheffield—then a comparatively small, although a rising town. At this time he had not five pounds as the sum total of his worldly possessions, and was known to but few persons in the town of his adoption. He became one of the travellers of Messrs. Ibbotson & Co., of the Globe Works, and remained with that well-known house for a period of seven years, during which time he achieved a reputation for excellence in all those qualifications which serve to secure success "on the road." Certain changes in the firm which had so long employed him rendered. it advisable that Mr. Cammell should leave their service, and he resolved to embrace the opportunity thus afforded for beginning business on his own account. In this venture he was joined by two gentlemen named Johnson—one of whom had also been engaged at the Globe Works. As Johnson, Cammell, & Co., the young partners made a beginning in Furnival Street, Sheffield, and by perseverance, and the production of an undeniable article, they soon established a considerable business in steel, files, and other local products. In the course of a few years the firm found their premises too small, and resolved, therefore, to migrate into a part of Sheffield now known as Carlisle Street, and surrounded by miles of buildings, but which was then, 1845, almost entirely devoid of bricks and mortar. In this locality was started the Cyclops Works, which then comprised under two acres of land, but which now covers over eleven acres, besides being but the centre of several branches much larger than itself. After several minor changes in the constitution of the firm it became, in 1855, Charles Cammell & Co., and had by then grown to be one of the foremost concerns in the town.

In 1861, Mr. Cammell began the manufacture of rails and railway materials generally, and in 1863 he resolved to embark in the important enterprise of rolling armour-plates, which had just before been begun by his neighbour and business rival, Mr. (now Sir John) Brown. These gigantic industrial strides met with the most flattering success, but the scope of the business became so comprehensive that, in 1864, the concern was made a "Limited" Company with a capital of £1,000,000 sterling, of which £800,000 has been paid up, besides the issue of £400,000 in debentures. Of this large sum Mr. Cammell received £200,000 as goodwill, besides certain stipulations as to the use of his name and patents, and was naturally elected chairman of the company, which post he held up to the time of his death. The success of the company, as most people are aware, has been most marked; and the progress of the works, and the processes carried on thereat, have been fully commensurate with the enterprise and skill of the management.

In addition to the Cyclops Works (in which two adjoining establishments, the Howard and Agenoria Works, have been absorbed) the company also owns the Grimesthorpe Works, which cover 21 acres; the Penistone Works, which stand on 25 acres; and the Oaks Colliery, where the workings extend over about 1100 acres, and where the output is, or can be made, equal to over 1000 tons daily. The practical head of the concern, we may say, is Mr. George Wilson, who has been connected with it for over thirty years, and who married one of Mr. Cammell's daughters. Mr. Cammell retired from active business pursuits many years ago, and resided chiefly at Norton Hall, within a stone's throw of the churchyard in which Chantrey the sculptor is buried. Besides being the owner of this fine residence and its extensive park and grounds, Mr. Cammell purchased an estate of 2000 acres at Ditchingham, in Hampshire, and the Brookfield Manor estate in North Derbyshire. By extensive purchases he became lord of the manor of Norton, a large and pretty village three miles from Sheffield.

At his decease he was 70 years of age.


See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. The Derby Mercury, Wednesday, October 29, 1845
  2. 1861 census
  3. 1871 census
  4. The Sheffield & Rotherham Independent, Tuesday, January 14, 1879
  5. 1879 Institution of Civil Engineers: Obituaries
  6. 1880 Institution of Mechanical Engineers: Obituaries Minutes of the Proceedings
  7. 1878 Iron and Steel Institute: Obituaries