John Ramsbottom (1814—1897)
Ramsbottom was appointed Locomotive
Superintendent at Crewe in 1857, at the direct request of LNWR
Chairman, Richard Moon . In 1862 he was promoted to Chief Mechanical
Engineer (CME ) for the entire system. His major achievement was the
great expansion and development at Crewe, not only of the Locomotive
Works but the town itself. He was responsible for two “World
firsts”: In 1864 he opened the steelworks, the first to operate
on a commercial scale, and designed the water troughs first installed
at Mochdre; they were latter moved to Aber, North Wales, to enable
the ‘Irish Mail’ meet the
average speed required by the GPO. He originated the 18in
narrow-gauge system servicing the Works and held many patents
relating to steel-making and fluids. His health failing, he retired
in 1871 but lived a further twenty years being professionally active
until he died.
Francis W Webb (1836–1906)
Ramsbottom was succeeded by Webb in 1871.
A clergyman’s son - very much a designer, inventor
and first-rate production engineer, he often got involved in
trialling his developments himself. He continued developing Crewe
Works, and was very interested in the civic affairs of the town of
Crewe, becoming mayor in Queen Victoria’s Jubilee year, 1887.
He not only took an interest in the company hospital but instituted a
separate hospital in the town for non-railway people, and chose the
charming and varied names borne by LNW passenger locomotives.
He fell ill and retired in 1903, dying all too early in Bournemouth. In
his will he was generous in founding the Webb Orphanage at Crewe;
remembering nursing, church and educational institutions. Gardening
was a fond interest. A complex man, with very great capabilities,
deep sensitivity and tolerance yet sometimes an unapproachable
martinet, blind to the faults of his later compound locomotives.