A Short History of Rotherham


Rotherham, now a large town that lies in South Yorkshire was founded by Angles. Angles were part of the Germanic people who inhabited Britain after the Romans left in 407 AD.

Angels started Rother-ham, a settlement that would later grow to become a small village by 1086, a year history recognizes as the time of the Domesday Book. Rother ham literary means the Village by the Rother. No more than 100 people lived in that village at the time.


A town would later emerge out of Rotherham by the 13th C. Weekly markets and annual fairs become common. The population grew to several hundreds of people and this went on all through the centuries that followed. So did the town, it flourished by the day.

The Chantry Chapel, now a significant historical feature in Rotherham today was built during the century that followed this early civilization, precisely in 1483.

In between the 14th C and the 18th C, civil war erupted. Royalists become rulers until 1644. By the 18th C, rapid change had already taken place and the town was now flourishing in the iron trade.

Industrialization and the Creation of Amenities

Over the 18th and the 19th C, the iron industry went on a rapid growth. Not even the population was left behind. It grew. Come 19th C, the iron and steel industry was at its peak.


All types of manufactured goods were made. Over the 18th C, so many amenities also came into being. A water company was created. Gas light come into existence. A railway line reached the town. Rotherham Hospital was opened.


A new form of administration was formed headed by a mayor. Both the Boston Park and Clifton Park opened at the time.

Clifton Park Museum and a public library, the first one at the time, were also opened.


Domination of the Steel Industry, Increased Population, and Improved Amenities

More than 60,000 people occupied Rotherham in 1901. Steel was still a flourishing industry and even though the depression that ripped through many world economies in the 1930s took a toll on the town and the steel industry too, the domination would not stop until the end of the century.

1903 was the year an electric tram ran across the streets of Rotherham and this was followed a few years later by the town’s first cinema. Other amenities kept coming up including, council houses, Rotherham Central Library, and the Arts Centre. Not forgetting to mention even The York and Lancaster Museum.

As the 20th C closed its curtains, traditional industries in the town dipped.

Rotherham Today

Rotherham currently enjoys a population of approximately 257,280 people (2011 census). More service industries have come up.  More arts and cultural attractions are in place, like Magna Science Adventure Centre, and some world class hotels.

Rotherham is also not left behind when it comes to sports, film, and art.  Not to mention that it’s now the largest town and an economic center in the Sheffield Urban Area.