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ROTHERHAM'S INDUSTRIAL PAST
The town of Rotherham was founded in the early Middle Ages establishing itself as a key Saxon market town, lying on a Roman road near a forded part of the River Don. The College and new parish church of All Saints made Rotherham an enviable and modern town at the turn of the 16th century. The college was dissolved in 1547 in the reign of Edward VI, its assets stripped for the crown.
The region had been exploited for iron since Roman times, but it was coal that first brought the Industrial Revolution to Rotherham. Iron and later steel became the principal industry in Rotherham, surviving into the 20th century. The massive Templeborough steelworks (now the Magna Science Adventure Centre) was, at its peak, over a mile long, employing 10,000 workers, and housing six electric arc furnaces producing 1.8 million tonnes of steel a year. The operation closed down in 1993.
In the 19th century, other successful industries included pottery, brass making and the manufacture of cast iron fireplaces. Milling grain into flour was a traditional industry in Rotherham, formerly in the Millmoor area, hence Rotherham United F.C.'s nickname "The Millers". Flour milling continued at the Rank Hovis town mill site on Canklow Road until September 2008.