John Ramsbottom (1814—1897)
Ramsbottom started as Locomotive Superintendent with one of the constituent companies of
the LNWR and continued in the same position on its formation. As the other divisional superintendents
'retired' his area of responsibility increased until in 1862 he took charge of
the entire system. His major achievement was the great expansion and development at
Crewe, not only of the Locomotive Works but the town itself. However, not only did he exand the works but
after Trevithic's fairy relaxed management style Ramsbottom established working methods and processes
more suited to a major manufacturing facility, especially keen on the benefits of standardisation. He was responsible for two World
firsts: In 1864 he opened the steelworks, the first railway 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 Locomotives - such as the Safety valve but also in 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)
son - very much a designer, inventor and first-rate production engineer. At the age of 2X he
was in charge of the draughtsman department having much to do with locomotives that would later be rebuilt
under his direction as CME. After a few years as works manager he left Crewe and the LNWR, with the blessing
of the chairman, to the Bolton Steel Works a company that was mainly involved with mill engines.
There he became an expert in the manufacture and use of steel, knowledge that was used on his return
to Crewe. 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
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.
He was much maligned after retirement, both by the company and many later writers. More attention having been paid to the sagas of chain brakes and compound locomotives than his many achievements.
Anyone who wishes to read a description of his time at Crewe in the context of the period is advised to read the excellent articles by Michael Rutherford in Backtrack - especially the series "Handing on the Baton: From Frank to George", started November 2002, Volume 16 no.12.