Mark Firth - Encyclopedia




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MARK FIRTH (1819-1880), English steel manufacturer and philanthropist, was born at Sheffield on the 25th of April 1819, the son of a steel smelter. At the age of fourteen Mark, with his brother, left school to join their father in the foundry where he was employed, and ten years later the three together started a six-hole furnace of their own. The venture proved successful, and besides an extensive home business, they soon established a large American connexion. Their huge Norfolk works were erected at Sheffield in 184 9, and still greater were afterwards acquired at Whittington in Derbyshire and others at Clay Wheels near Wadsley. The manufacture of steel blocks for ordnance was the principal feature of their business, and they produced also shot and heavy forgings. They also installed a plant for the production of steel cores for heavy guns, and for some time they supplied nearly all the metal used for gun making by the British government and a large proportion of that used by the French. On the death of his father in 1848 Mark Firth became the head of the firm. In 1869 he built and endowed "Mark Firth's Almshouses" at Ranmoor near Sheffield, and in 1875, when mayor, he presented to his native place a freehold park of thirty-six acres. He founded and endowed Firth College, for lectures and classes in connexion with the extension of university education, which was opened in 1879. He died on the 28th of November 1880, and was accorded a public funeral.

Firuzabad, a town of Persia, in the province of Fars, 72 m. S. of Shiraz, in 28° 51' N. Pop. about 3000. It is situated in a fertile plain, 15 m. long and 7 m. broad, well watered by the river Khoja which flows through it from north to south. The town is surrounded by a mud wall and ditch. Three or four miles north-west of the town are the ruins of the ancient city and of a large building popularly known as the fire-temple of Ardashir, and beyond them on the face of the rock in the gorge through which the river enters the plain are two Sassanian bas-reliefs.

The river leaves the plain by a narrow gorge at the southern end, and according to Persian history it was there that Alexander the Great, when unable to capture the ancient city, built a dike across the gorge, thus damming up the water of the river and turning the plain into a lake and submerging the city and villages. The lake remained until the beginning of the 3rd century, when Ardashir, the first Sassanian monarch, drained it by destroying the dike. He built a new city, called it Gar, and made it the capital of one of the five great provinces or divisions of Fars. Firuz (or Peroz, q.v.), one of Ardashir's successors, called the district after his name Firuzabad ("the abode of Firuz"), but the name of the city remained Gar until Azud ed Dowleh (Adod addaula) (949-982) changed it to its present name. He did this because he frequently resided at Gar, and the name meaning also "a grave" gave rise to unpleasant allusions, for instance, "People who go to Gar (grave) never return alive; our king goes to Gar (the town) several times a year and is not dead yet." The district has twenty villages and produces much wheat and rice. It is said that the rice of Firuzabad bears sixtyfold. (A. H.-S.) Firuzkuh, a small province of Persia, with a population of about 5000, paying a yearly revenue of about 50o. Its chief place is a village of the same name picturesquely situated in a valley of the Elburz, about 90 m. east of Teheran, at an elevation of 6700 ft. and in 35° 46' N. and 52° 48' E. It has post and telegraph offices and a population of 2500. A precipitous cliff on the eastern side of the valley is surmounted by the ruins of an ancient fort popularly ascribed to Alexander the Great.

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