Grantham at Work
People and Industries Through the Years
Series: At Work
- John Pinchbeck
15th October 2019
The Lincolnshire town of Grantham was historically an important market town and centre of the wool trade, benefitting from its position on the Great North Road, the main north–south route through England, now the A1. The Industrial Revolution and the arrival of the canals and railways transformed Grantham as new industries were established in the town. Engineering companies arrived, giving employment to many in the town. Some were of national importance such as blacksmith Richard Hornsby’s business repairing carriages and agricultural machinery, which later, as Ruston Hornsby, moved into steam engine production, pioneered the steel plough, produced an early oil engine and created one of the first tracked vehicles. Other companies followed specialising in traction engines, tractors, dumper trucks, cranes, road rollers and aircraft cannon, as well as brewing and a food-canning factory. However, the post-war decline of manufacturing industries has led to the closure of these factories in recent decades and today Grantham is characterised by such diverse industries as food processing, distribution, services and healthcare.
Grantham at Work explores the working life of this Lincolnshire town, its people and the industries that have characterised it. This book traces the story of Grantham’s growth in the nineteenth century following the arrival of the railways and its development from a market town to a centre of industry, through two world wars and the changes in recent years as many of the old manufacturing industries have gone, to be replaced by new businesses today.