Rotherham Probus Club

by | 7 March 2024 | Probus, Rotherham, Social Group

The Rotherham Probus Committee has been busy compiling an ambitious programme for 2024 for its members. The launch of its weekly talks and outings were announced at its January AGM.

Probus Communications Officer David Wadkin commented that people want a varied programme of talks delivered in comfortable surroundings. The Probus Club is centrally located with a large, free car park – possibly one of the reasons they have recently seen more enquires and visitors in attendance.

The feedback has been extremely encouraging. Visitors are encouraged to come along and meet other members and experience at first hand the interesting talks on offer (a full programme of meetings can be found at

The first talk of the year revealed a fascinating past of Rotherham’s Park Gate Iron and Steel Company. Established in 1823, its engineering was of the highest quality and world class!

The cast iron produced at Parkgate was extraordinary. Over 30,000 iron plates were made for Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s ocean linear The Great Eastern here in Rotherham. The design was cutting edge and included a double-hull that was first of its kind for a hundred years. The technology at Park Gate was pushed to its limits. When launched, The Great Eastern was six times the size of any ship ever made or afloat and remained so into the 20th century!

The Royal Navy also benefited from the quality of iron made in Park Gate. The armoured cruiser The Black Prince could only be built in 1861 due to the technology and expertise of manufacturing armoured plating that could only be made in Parkgate. No other ironworks in Britian could compete so naturally the Admiralty relied entirely on Park Gate for armoured plating used in its entire fleet.

Even Sheffield, before it become known as the ‘Steel City’, originally relied on Rotherham to experiment with Henry Bessemer’s new method of rolling steel before it became established in Sheffield.

Member feedback on this talk included the words ‘captivating’ and ‘fascinating’. The good news is that the Probus Club will have regular Tuesday morning meetings covering similar topics of interest at the Broom Methodist Church. They look forward to your visit!