Forged over 140 Years Day 4

Day 4: Innovators, Illustrators and Creative Consett: inspiration from steel

Thursday 10 September, 2020 at 6.30pm

The Founding Father: William Jenkins: His Family and Consett

Dr Jennifer Aston, University of Northumbria

The role that William Jenkins played in the Consett Iron Company cannot be overstated. As well as bringing much needed stability and modernisation to the firm, he also established the community of Consett, building an infrastructure of schools, hospitals, and churches. In this presentation however, I want to focus on William Jenkins as a man, examining his life with his family and how, through his extended kinship network, his influence stretched far beyond County Durham. In shedding light on the overlooked and underestimated role played by the women of the Jenkins family, namely William’s wife Rosina and their daughters Edith, Constance, Bertha and Alexandra we can see how one man – a ‘Captain of Industry’ – was supported in his efforts to shape iron and steel manufacturing and wider society as well as the town of Consett.

Dr Jennifer Aston is Senior Lecturer in History and Director of the Institute of Humanities. Jennifer joined Northumbria University in 2017, having previously held the EHS Eileen Power Research Fellowship at the Institute of Historical Research and research positions at the universities of Oxford and Hull. Her research interests include gender and small business ownership, bankruptcy, and the law. She is the author of Female Entrepreneurship in Nineteenth-Century England: Engagement in the Urban Economy (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016), and co-editor of Women and the Land 1500-1900 (Boydell & Brewer, 2019) and Female Entrepreneurs in the Long Nineteenth Century: A Global Perspective (Palgrave Macmillan, 2020). has recently begun a new research project using previously unexamined petitions heard before the Court for Divorce and Matrimonial Causes to explore divorce in England and Wales, c.1857-1923.

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