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Thomas
Jessop

1804 - 1887

Toledo Factory
Thomas Jessop was born on 31st January 1804 in Blast Lane, Sheffield. The family was a large one, he had three brothers and four sisters. His father was a partner in a small crucible steel-making business, in Blasts Lane.

Thomas was apprenticed to Billy Jenkinson, an edge tool maker but in the early 1820's, his father's business was expanding and Thomas and his brothers were taken into partnership. The family firm became William Jessop and Sons.

The expansion of markets in America in the 1830's provided the Jessops with a large amount of business. The firm produced cutlery steel for this market. As a result of the expanding business, Jessop's took over several local works until, by the end of the 19th Century, Jessop's Brightside Works was the biggest in the UK. They also had another site at the Soho Works.

In 1863, Thomas became Master Cutler of the Company of Cutlers in Hallamshire and also Mayor of Sheffield. He was re-elected as Mayor in 1864, at the time of the Sheffield Flood which killed 240 people.

The deaths of his father and brothers left Thomas in sole charge of the business by 1871.

In 1875, Thomas provided the funds to buy land and build a hospital for women. The hospital opened in 1878. He also supported the setting up of Sheffield Technical School in 1884.

In 1885, Jessop's became a limited company. Thomas continued to act as the chairman of the board of directors until he retired.

Thomas Jessop died at his home in Endcliffe on 30th November 1887 and was buried in Ecclesall Parish Church.

Jessop Tomb

The Jessop Family Tomb in All Saints Church, Ecclesall

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Page last updated on 20th April 2003