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Workforce of Parkgate Iron and Steel Co., Rotherham (1901)

Edwardian workers react to the camera at one of Rotherham's major employers.

Non-Fiction 1901 3 mins Silent

Overview

Factory workers made a popular subject for Mitchell and Kenyon, but the reaction of some of these workers differs from those seen elsewhere. Smiles are in abundance, but there's some hostility, too, notably from the youth giving the cameraman a V-sign (a cinema first?), although we're spared his accompanying language. Note the pair fighting in the background, possibly egged on by the showmen.

The Parkgate Ironworks was founded in 1823, and renamed Parkgate Iron and Steel Co. in 1888. By 1901 it employed over 6,000 people, making it one of the largest employers in the Rotherham area. Its workforce included many children as half-time workers, which accounts for their numbers here. The works closed in 1982 and the site is now occupied by Parkgate Shopping centre. This film is thought to have been shown at the annual Rotherham Statis, the local Wakes fair, where the Parkgate workers would have had the opportunity of seeing themselves on screen.