John E. Stead

Born: John Edward Stead was born at Howden-on-Tyne in 1851. His father was Rev. W.Stead, a Free Church minister who had previously worked in the Stead family’s cutlery workshop in Sheffield. His mother was Isabella Jobson from Warkworth. John had three sisters and five brothers. The oldest of the brothers was the journalist William Thomas Stead who drowned in the Titanic.

Educated: Due to poor health John was educated at home by his father, and then became an apprentice analytical chemist with John Pattinson of Newcastle. Whilst employed at Bolckow and Vaughan’s Gorton Works, which at that time lay just outside the Manchester boundary, he went to chemistry and engineering evening classes at Owens College. He was awarded an honorary Doctorate from the University of Leeds in 1911, and similar awards from Manchester and Sheffield Universities.

Married: John Stead married Elizabeth Mary Livens.

Family: John and Mary had two sons: Frederick Arnold and John Kenneth.

Home: Dr. Stead made his home at “Everdon” on Kirkleatham Road in Coatham.

Known for: In 1871 J.E.Stead was employed as an analytical chemist at Bolckow and Vaughan’s Gorton Works. When the works closed in 1875 he was transferred to the company’s Middlesbrough Works. In 1876, John Stead entered into partnership with his employer as Pattinson and Stead. They began a Metallurgical Laboratory in Middlesbrough, which is said to have attained a worldwide reputation. He was President of the Cleveland Institution of Engineers in 1895-96, a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1903, and President of the Iron and Steel Institute in 1920. Over four decades he published more than 80 scientific papers, mostly on metallurgy. His earliest papers were on phosphorus in Cleveland ironstone and how it might be removed. He is regarded as one of the founders of modern metallurgy. In 1929, his son gave “Everdon” to the people of Redcar to turn into a cottage hospital. It was known as the Stead Memorial Hospital. It was demolished in 2013.

Died: Dr.John Stead died at his home at Everdon, Coatham on 31st October 1923 after a long illness.

Further Information: “Metallurgist of Distinction: A Biography of John Edward Stead, F.R.S.” Peter H.Scholes in Cleveland Industrial Archaeology Society Research Report 11. (2014)