Blue plaque for Joseph Rhodes 190 years after it was founded

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An engineering firm that was founded 190 years ago has been given an award.

Joseph Rhodes was honoured by Wakefield Civic Society with a blue plaque, presented to the firm by the city’s mayor, Coun Sandra Pickin.

Chairman Ian Ridgway said: “I was delighted to accept the honour and I thought it fitting to have the blue plaque unveiled by the mayor, particularly as the company’s founder, Joseph Rhodes, and his son William Rhodes were both mayors of Wakefield in 1865 and 1903 respectively.

“The award offers local recognition which we often miss because we are generally better known in the foreign markets where we sell our machinery, as opposed to the city where the company has been established for 190 years.”

The company, which is part of parent company Group Rhodes, was founded by Joseph Rhodes who built his first machine in a small Wakefield shop in 1824.

It went on to open its first foreign office in Paris in 1910 and in 1921 the firm moved to its current eight-acre site at Belle Vue.

Civic Society president Kevin Trickett said: “We had a long list but Joseph Rhodes just stood out to us.”

Group Rhodes, which employes 245 people, exports around a third of its multi-million pound turn over to more than 30 countries.