Henry Bessemer Bicentenary
This house near Hitchin was the birthplace of Henry Bessemer, the inventor and pioneer of industrial steelmaking, and is the focus of a series of international events to celebrate his bicentenary in 2013. Built Heritage Consultancy were employed to uncover the complex history of the building, and provide visitors with information on its development. The lack of written sources meant that visual analysis of the building’s features was essential in order to date the various parts, and understand the alterations made over the centuries. Our work suggests that the core of the present building has elements dating to the 16th century, although the original house has been remodelled by several later builders. Stylistic dating techniques proved essential in establishing the ages of doors and mouldings, enabling a set of alterations carried out by Bessemer’s father in the early 19th century to be identified which will be of particular interest to visitors during the celebrations.