How the Industrial Revolution (kind of) started at City University

Descendents of Sir Henry Bessemer after a blue plaque was unveiled in his honour at City University.

Descendents of Sir Henry Bessemer after a blue plaque was unveiled in his honour at City University. Picture: Karen Hatch - Credit: Archant

The man who invented “the single most important contribution to the Industrial Revolution” has been honoured with a blue heritage plaque.

Mayor of Islington Cllr Una O’Halloran unveiled a plaque for Sir Henry Bessemer in Northampton Square, Finsbury, where he once lived.

Today, this happens to be the main entrance to City University, which is also hosting an exhibition celebrating his work.

Bessemer (1813–1898) invented the “Bessemer Process”, which converts cast iron into steel and made the mass production of steel possible. Without it, the advancements in shipping which sustained the Industrial Revolution could not have taken place.

His descendants visited the unveiling last Wednesday, and Prof Paul Curran, president of the university, said: “We were delighted. It’s especially significant given City’s tradition of research and education in engineering.”


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