|Kevin Tennent addresses the delegates|
The first panel session of the day was about business networks. Helen Bates's (University of Leicester) subject was John, Second Duke of Montagu’s instigation and development of commercial enterprises between 1720 and 1750. He was responsible for the expansion of the iron ore industry in Furness and had links to other companies in the iron industry and ironmasters around the nation. John Scott of the Postal History Society then talked about the impact of the postal reforms in 1839-40, which included a reduction in the cost of post. This made mailing for commercial purposes viable for the first time, but it also led to the development of the phenomenon of junk mail.
The final session of day one featured Stephen Murfitt (University of York) who looked at the patent system and English railway technology during the Industrial Revolution. He revealed how Britain's patent system was one of the oldest in the world, which meant that by the 1770s if you submitted a patent it had to be quite detailed to be approved . This was a system where detailed technical knowledge was vitally important. The final speaker of the day was Shane Kelleher, who is Museum Archaeologist at the host organisation of the workshop, the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust. The Ironbridge Gorge was for him a 'project based landscape.' In the eighteenth century, under the stewardship of four generations of the Darbys, the industrial landscape of area developed, with their ironworks business developing many features that can be found in modern industrial concerns.
In the second session of the day Alison Kay, Assistant Archivist at the National Railway Museum, talked on the life of Timothy Hackworth and his archive which is held at the museum. Hackworth was one of the pioneer locomotive builders of the early nineteenth century and was born only four years after George Stephenson. However, his career and work have been somewhat overshadowed by that of the Stephensons, despite his acolytes continuing to defend him after his death. Elizabeth Marsh (University of York) then talked about Joseph Dodds, the disgrace of a Pioneer of the Cleveland Iron Trade. Dodds had a very colourful career, rising to become a master of the iron industry. He was active politically, campaigning for the Liberals, and was involved in over forty public organisations. But in 1889 the dream fell apart and he fled from charges of embezzlement and fraud.
|Diane Deblois and Robert Harris|
The A2SN workshop on the 29th and 30th of May was a huge success, its purpose was more than fulfilled. By bringing volunteer-led societies, academics, archivists and museum professionals together, ideas were stimulated, knowledge was exchanged, collections were discovered and our knowledge of business history was advanced. No doubt future workshops will have the same positive outcomes and should not be missed!
A2SN wants to extend its warmest thanks to Dr Matt Thompson, Senior Curator, at Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust for providing a wonderful venue and absolutely terrific support.