Robert took full advantage of the economic situation it was a time of boom. This meant that the demand for ships to transport coal, iron and steel along the Tees, around the country and the wider world was high. Like others in the area, Ropner’s ship building company not only made him very wealthy, but provided jobs for the local people and became an essential part of the Tees Valley’s industrial story and identity. His contribution to British industry earned him a Baronetcy in 1904 – one of the highest honours awarded by the British Crown.
Robert lived in Preston Hall in Stockton, which is now Preston Park Museum & Grounds. In the 1890s he gave the land which makes up Ropner Park in Stockton to the place and people who had welcomed him as a penniless teenager.
Image courtesy of Preston Park Museum and Grounds