Robert, who was educated at Clifton College in Bristol, was a hard worker and knew his trade. He remained at Clough Hall until March 1854 when he went into a partnership with Francis Stanier at Silverdale. Their venture was extremely successful and in 1857 they bought the lease of the Childerplay Colliery on the Kyperseley Hall Estate, then owned by John Bateman. Shortly afterwards Stanier died leaving Robert to continue. Between 1857 and 1858 Robert extended the mine and raised the capital to build a forge at the Black Bull. He deepened existing shafts and increased priduction from 18k tons in 1857/58 to 24k tons in 58/59 and to 159k tons in1863. To accommodate the workforce he built houses in villages such as Brindley Ford as well as schools, infirmaries, churches and pubs.
His shrewd investments paid well and at the peak of the 'Heath Empire' Robert Heath & Sons owned 28 coal and iron mines, eight blast furnaces, 114 puddling and ball furnaces, 14 rolling mills and 33 heating furnaces together employing about 5000 people. By now Robert was known as 'Old Bob' and he began handing over control to his sons, Robert, James and Arthur. This allowed him to persue his political and social interests.
Robert bought Biddulph Grange from James Bateman (1811-1897) (son of John) in 1871. James bateman had moved to Biddulph Grange from nearby Knypersley Hall about 1840 and using money inherited from his father's caol and steel business had built up a 'world class' garden for the display of his extensive plant collection with the help of his friend, the painter, Edward William Cooke. The house was burned down in 1896 and rebuilt by the architect Thomas Bower.
Interestingly the National Trust team which restored the high Victorian garden at Biddulph was led by Julian Gibbs #3024 on the family tree.
After his death Robert's sons built in their father's memory Heath House, a convalescent home in Llanfairfechen, Wales for the working men of North Staffordshire.
|1843||Married Ann BEECH in (by licence) Tunstall, Staffordshire|
|1844||Birth of daughter Mary HEATH|
|1848||Birth of son William HEATH|
|1849||Death of father Robert HEATH|
|1851||Birth of son Robert HEATH|
|1852||Birth of son Sir James HEATH JP MP|
|1856||Birth of son Col. Arthur Howard HEATH MP|
|1857||Birth of daughter Alice Jane HEATH|
|1860||Birth of daughter Florence (Flo) Gertrude HEATH|
|1861||Death of mother Jane PLANT|
|1866||Birth of son John Everard HEATH|
|1872||Death of daughter Mary HEATH|
|1872||Death of son William HEATH|