Bölckow, Henry William Ferdinand (DNB00)

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BÖLCKOW, HENRY WILLIAM FERDINAND (1806–1878), ironmaster, the son of Heinrich Bölckow, of Varchow, in the grand-duchy of Mecklenburg, by his wife Caroline Dussher, was born at Sulten, in Mecklenburg, 8 Dec. 1806. About 1821 his parents placed him in a merchant's office at Rostock. There he made the acquaintance of a gentleman at Newcastle-on-Tyne; at his suggestion came to England, and went into business with him in 1827. He liked England; was made a naturalised British subject; in 1841 selected the town of Middlesborough as the seat of his future operations; entered into partnership with Mr. John Vaughan; erected blast furnaces and commenced the manufacture of iron. Soon after this period Mr. Vaughan discovered the Cleveland ironstone mines. The success of their business in a short time enabled them to multiply their works: they acquired collieries, limestone quarries, machine works, gasworks, and brickfields; and Middlesborough became a centre of such great importance that it received a charter of incorporation in 1853. Bölckow was elected the first mayor. The population of the town had then risen to 40,000, and the production of ironstone to 4,000,000 tons per annum. Bölckow presented to the inhabitants the Albert Park, at a cost of more than 20,000l. (11 Aug. 1868). In the following year he spent 7,000l. in the erection of the St. Hilda's schools. When the town was granted parliamentary representation, Bölckow was unanimously elected the first member, 16 Nov. 1868, and held that position until his death. In 1871 the firm of Bölckow & Vaughan was formed into a limited liability company with a capital of 3,500,000l., the founder of the business becoming chairman of the company. Bölckow collected a fine gallery of pictures, nearly all of them being by living French and English artists (Athenæum, 22 Nov. 1873, pp. 664–6). He died at Ramsgate 18 June 1878, and was buried in Marton churchyard on 22 June. He married first, in 1841, Miriam, widow of C. Hay, who died in 1842, and secondly, in 1851, Harriet, only daughter of James Farrar, of Halifax.

[English Cyclopædia, Biography, Supplement, 1872, pp. 273–4; Practical Magazine, i. 81–90 (1873), with portrait; Times, 19 June 1878, p. 11, col. 4; Illustrated London News, lxxii. 613 (1878).]

G. C. B.