Scunthorpe, including Ashby, Brumby, Crosby & Frodingham which together in 1936 became the Borough of Scunthorpe owes its growth from the early 1860’s down to one single factor, Iron-ore.
Rowland Winn the eldest son of Charles Winn of Nostell Priory was central to that growth. Rowland Winn recognised similarities between local ore and that mined in Cleveland. The ore was used by land workers, who called it Marl, they burnt the ore with lime & coal and spread the ashes on the land to kill a weed called Maidens Hair, if too much coal was used the stoned melted and turned to clinkers. Winn had came across the ironstone to the east of Scunthorpe in 1854, he had a sample sent to an analytical chemist in Hull who confirmed iron at 11% iron content.In 1958 he came across the ore further north , this proved to be of a higher content. Winn invited ironmasters to experiment with the ore in 1859 & 1860; despite an overwhole low iron content and a variable quality a market was soon established. The first ore was mined in July 1860 by opencast mining with the overburden being removed by hand to reveal the ironore seam. George Dawes who owned Ironworks in Elsecar, Denby Dale & Milton was the main customer for the ore, Winn encouraged Dawes to build an Ironworks to make pig-iron at the ironfield itself. So in 1862 the commencement of the building of Dawes brothers Trent Ironworks began. On 26th March 1864 the Trent Ironworks cast its first iron.
Other Ironworks followed, in 1864 construction of Frodingham Ironworks began with their first blast-furnace being ‘blown-in’ in May 1865. A third Ironworks, the North Lincoln Ironworks blew-in their first blastfurnace in May 1866. In 1872 two small hand charge blast-furnaces came into operation at the Redbourn Hill Iron & Coal Co. The Appleby Ironworks ‘blow-in’ their first blast-furnace in 1876.The Lincolnshire Iron & Smelting Co started production in 1873 but by 1883 had ran into financial difficulties it was bought by Redbourn Hill Iron & Coal Co and renamed Lindsey Ironworks. In 1910 site clearing for the building of John Lysaght’s Iron & Steelworks commenced, construction work began in 1911 with three blast-furnaces being ‘blow-in’ and in production in 1912.
The first steel to be produced in the area was by the Frodingham Iron Company by the basic process of Gilchrist Thomas.
Maximillan Mannaberg who hailed from Moravia in the Czech Republic came to Britain in 1884 to build a steelmaking plant near Glasgow, having previously built a plant in India for the British government. In the late 1880’s he came to Frodingham Ironworks to use the basic open hearth steel process in a new steel plant, the building of which was purchase secondhand and had originally been constructed for the Antwerp Exhibition. On the 21st March 1890 the first steel was cast. Mannaberg went on to become the Managing Director of the Frodingham Iron & Steel Co.