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George Senior (1838-1915)

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George Senior (1838-1915), chairman of George Senior and Sons

1867 Birth of son Albert Senior


The new Lord Mayor, or "Our George," as he is familiarly known, is a fine type of the self-made man. He is not ashamed of the ranks from which he sprung; in fact, he is never quite so happy as when, slipping into reminiscent mood, he forgets his success, and remembers only the days of boyhood, and the long years of struggle that followed. Many of the younger business men of to-day sigh for the openings which were so common thirty or forty years ago, but Mr. George Senior gives one the impression of being a man who would come out on the top under any conditions. Sound common-sense, keen foresight, readiness to seize every opportunity, and a warm, generous nature are his predominant characteristics.

'Sheffield people do not need be told who he is, or how he reached his eminent position in the manufacturing life of the city; but when a man becomes Lord Mayor of a place of the importance of Sheffield, his position assumes the more than local, and his career has an interest for thousands outside the borders of the municipality of which he is the head. Mr. George Senior has had a life-long association with the manufacture of steel. Skilled metallurgists talk learnedly of their science, and it beyond dispute that their observation and research have wonderfully benefited industry. But Mr. Senior is not of their number, although has high admiration for the work of the theorist. His knowledge has been gained in the hard school of practical experience, and what he does not know of steel-making is not worth knowing. He began young.

'There were no school attendance officers in his boyhood, and at eight years of age he was helping his father to make nails in the village of Bradfield, where he was born in the year 1838. His grandfather was in the same line, but both men clung tenaciously to old-fashioned methods, and were, as a result, pushed to the wall by more progressive competitors. At the age of 13 Mr. Senior was apprenticed to Mr. George Parkin, steel manufacturer, of Kenyon's Old Forge, at Middlewood, near Sheffield, as a hammerman. After spending about 11 years there, he went to Brown, Ellis, and Bragge, the forerunner of John Brown and Company, Limited. He had not been there long when he was offered and accepted the position of working manager to Joseph Peace and Company, at Neepsend Rolling Mills, where he had charge of all the hammers. Here he remained nine years, and then in 1872 he started on his own account at Pond's Forge, and went from success to success, until now George Senior and Sons, Limited, are the largest importers of steel in the country.

'The business is a private limited for family reasons, and in its management Mr. Senior has the co-operation of his two sons, Mr. Albert Senior and Mr. George Edward Senior. The new lord Mayor is also chairman of the Tinsley Rolling Mills Company, a director of the South Yorkshire Navigation Company, and also of a colliery in Wales; whilst as a shareholder he has an interest in number of iron and steel concerns. He was also director of the Electric Light Company from the time of its formation until it was municipalised. Parting with the concern was not all his taste. Having stuck to it all through the experimental stage at a large personal monetary risk, he winced at handing it over to the Corporation, when the day of good dividends had been reached, and larger ones loomed ahead. But he accepted the inevitable, and soon became reconciled to the new order of things, so much so that he is a member of the Electric Light Committee, on which his experience of the undertaking has proved highly useful.

His connection with the City Council has been as honourable to himself as it has been useful to the ratepayers. He is strong believer in Conservative principles, and in an unobtrusive way he has rendered useful service to his Party. His attachment to it, however, has not been of the slavish order, and when something done or said with which he does not agree he never hesitates to give utterance to the thoughts that arise in him. He entered the City Council 12 years ago without a contest as a representative of the Park. On the rearrangement of the wards following the extension of the boundaries, he chose to seek a seat in Neepsend, and on the lst instant he headed the poll in a triangular contest. Many people imagined that he would be allowed a walk-over, in view of the fact that he was to be the next Lord Mayor, but in this thought Radical hunger for power was overlooked. Mr. Senior made no grievance of the matter, but carried on his fight with cheerful optimism. The Council could not afford to part with a member like him. He is one of the most level-headed men upon that body. His speeches are good in matter, but their chief charm is a refreshing originality, which has made him quite a character among the City Fathers. As Chairman of the General Purposes and Parks Committee he has been a distinct success, and he is entitled to some of the credit for the improved state of the parks and recreation grounds. He has also served on the Watch Committee and the Water Committee, and has represented the Corporation on the governing body of University College, being attached to the technical department. Mrs. Senior, the new Lady Mayoress, is a lady of homely tastes, warm-hearted, and generous. All who know her are confident she will discharge the duties her office with kindliness and quiet dignity. ……'

1915 Notice of death

1915 'Alderman George Senior, head of the firm Messrs. George Senior and Sons (Limited), Pond's Forge, Sheffield, died on Saturday at the age of seventy-seven. He had occupied the offices of Lord Mayor of Sheffield and Master Cutler.' [2]

1915 Obituary [3]

GEORGE SENIOR, chairman of George Senior & Sons, Ltd., Pond's Forge, Sheffield, died on July 4, 1915, in his seventy-eighth year.

He started his business life as a nailmaker in his father's workshop, but was subsequently apprenticed with Mr. George Parkin, of Kenyon's Forge, Middlewood.

From Middlewood, he went to Sheffield, obtaining employment at the works of Brown, Ellis & Bragg, now John Brown and Company. He was engaged there when the first armour-plate was rolled.

After staying at these works for two years, he went as forge manager to the Merchant Works of Joseph Peace & Company, Neepsend. From Neepsend he went to Pond's Forge, the works with which he was associated for the remainder of his life. The works then belonged to Mr. Davidge, and Mr. Senior went as manager, but in 1872 he took over the forge, first as tenant, and eventually as owner. He reconstructed the works and laid down new plant, so that it soon ranked as one of the great works which have sprung up since Sheffield because a centre for the heavy steel industries.

In 1901 he was elected Lord Mayor of Sheffield.

He became a member of the Iron and Steel Institute in 1881, and during the Sheffield meeting in 1905 he served on the Local Reception Committee, and received the members at his works.

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. Sheffield Daily Telegraph, 9th November 1901
  2. Western Times, Tuesday 6th July 1915
  3. 1915 Iron and Steel Institute: Obituaries