Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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James Harford

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James Harford (1734–1817), iron and tin plate manufacturer and merchant,

1734 Born the son of Truman Harford (1704–1750), merchant and manufacturer, and Mary Taylor of Baldock, Hertfordshire, and grandson of Charles Harford (1662–1725), a merchant, of Bristol.

1756 he married Anne Summers, daughter of his business partner, Richard Summers; they had six sons and four daughters.

1768 Harford's central industrial concern was the Melingriffith forge and tin plate works near Cardiff, which had been established by Bristol merchants about 1750, where he became a partner about 1768.

By the 1770s he was in partnership with John Partridge senior and John Partridge junior (c.1736–1816), Quaker ironmasters of Ross, Herefordshire, and Monmouth. This was presumably Harford, Partridge and Co.

1793 Harford, Partridge and Co had become partners of Jeremiah Homfray at Ebbw Vale ironworks, introducing capital for expansion.

1795 Harford and his younger brother John Harford (1736–c.1816), with his son Richard Summers Harford and Samuel Harford (1766–1838), were major figures in the Melingriffith enterprise. Goods were exported under the auspices of James Harford and Co., merchants, of Bristol.

1796 Harford, Partridge and Co became the sole owner of Ebbw Vale ironworks. James Harford as senior partner and his brother John as managing partner expanded Ebbw Vale from one blast furnace to four.

1805 the nearby Pen-tyrch furnace was bought, and both enterprises were enlarged.

1808 the Melingriffith partnership was dissolved, as the Harfords concentrated on more recently acquired, larger ironworks.

1812 Melingriffith and Pen-tyrch were transferred to a group led by Richard Blakemore (b. 1775), the grandson of John Partridge senior.

c. 1817 Harford, Partridge and Co acquired the adjacent Sirhowy Iron Works (much to the anger of another ironmaster, Richard Fothergill, who had his own plans to renew the lease). This site too was expanded, from two furnaces to five.

The period of greatest growth in the Harford iron fortunes ensued, under the management of Richard Summers Harford. Output at Ebbw Vale in 1805 had been 3664 tons; from the two combined works it was 10,425 tons in 1823 and 26,020 in 1830.

Harford also had interest in the Redbrook furnace, Monmouth forge, Newent forge, and New Weir Forge in the Wye valley; and the Machen and Basaleg forges near Newport, Monmouthshire.

See Also


Sources of Information

  • Biography of James Harford, ODNB [1]