Steel, Peech and Tozer: Henry Steel had been born in 1830 or 31 and his father had died at an early age. Growing up in the hard school of life, by his twenties he was working in the betting industry alongside Henry Peech. As he became more prominent in the business, so his list of clients became wealthier and he was friendly with Edward VII, who once stopped a ceremonial procession to get out of his carriage, cross the street and start talking to Henry. Throughout his life he was renowned for his sound business dealings and shrewd judgement of character. By the time he bought into the steel industry he had amassed a considerable private fortune. He was responsible for the companies policy of ploughing back profits and building up large financial reserves.
William Peech was a long time friend of Henry Steel’s from the betting business. Their family relationship cemented by marrying each other’s sister. Though investing in the new company in 1875, he took little active role in the running of the steelworks, whilst his five sons would all have distinguished careers with Steel, Peech and Tozer.
Edward Tozer, born 1820 in Clifton, came from Bristol where his father was a brewer. As a young child he had moved with his mother to Sheffield, when his father had died, where she opened a school. Aged 11 he started work for Sanderson Brothers on West Street, Sheffield and for the next 44 years learnt all there was to know about managing and running companies, until in 1875 he joined up with Henry Steel. Between 1871 and 1881 he served as a Sheffield Councillor, Mayor, Alderman and Master Cutler and there is no doubt that his presence added to the firm’s local prestige.