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Until the early nineteenth century, Clay Cross was a small village but increasing demand for coal and other minerals trebled the population by 1840.
1837 While driving a tunnel for the North Midland Railway, George Stephenson discovered both coal and iron, which together with the demand for limestone, caused him to move into Tapton Hall, near Chesterfield, and set up a business as George Stephenson and Co.
Stephenson's workers' houses were of high quality for their time, having four rooms compared to the normal two, and a school was provided. By 1850 there were three chapels, a church and an institute - but no constable.
The Clay Cross Coal and Iron Works were started by George and Robert Stephenson in connection with Lord Wolverton, George Hudson, Joshua Walmsley, Morton Peto, and others. Gradually all their interests were acquired by William Jackson.
When George Stephenson died in 1848 his son, Robert, took over
1852 Robert left the company which took the name Clay Cross Co.