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British Industrial History

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Richard Varden

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Richard Varden (c1812-1873)

c1812 Born in Southwark the son of James Kitely Varden and his wife Jane Bolton. Brother to John Varden

1844 Appointed engineer for the Oxford, Worcester and Wolverhampton Railway.

1847 July 8th. Married at Old Swinford, Worcestershire, to Elizabeth Susannah Medwin

1848 Member of the ICE

1851 Visitors at 28 George Street, St. Pancras: Richard Varden (age 39 born Middlesex), Civil Engineer. With his wife Elizabeth Varden (age 35 born Worcestershire).[1]

1871 Living at Sleaford Grange, Peopleton, Worcs: Richard Varden (age 59 born Southwark), Landowner Farmer Fruit Grower and Brick Maker. Farm 120 acres 3 men and 1 boy. Garden 120 acres employing 23 men + 3 boys + 3 Women. Brick Yard 2 acres employing 3 men and 1 boy. With his wife Elizabeth S. Varden (age 54 born Hardlebury, Worcs.) and their two daughters Elizabeth J. Varden (age 22 born Worcester) and Catharine H. Varden (age 19 born Worcester). Two servants.[2]

1873 May 5th. Died. Formerly of Worcester and late of Seaford Grange near Pershore, Architect, Surveyor and Civil Engineer. Probate to his widow Elizabeth Susanna Varden.


1873 Obituary.[3]

We regret to record the death of Mr. Richard Varden, of Seaford Grange, Peopleton, in this county, which took place on Monday evening at Foregate-street, in this city, where the deceased gentleman had been temporarily residing whilst undergoing medical treatment. Mr. Varden was 62 years of age.

By profession he was a civil engineer, and about 30 years since was associated with his brother, the late Mr. John Varden, in laying out the line of the Oxford, Worcester, and Wolverhampton Railway in this district, a project which they materially assisted to promote, and the successful completion of which was in no small degree attributable to their persevering energy.

Mr. Richard Varden remained connected with this undertaking for several years, and subsequently he purchased an estate in the parish of Peopleton. This he converted into a fruit farm, and many of our readers are acquainted with the remarkable success which attended his efforts in this direction, and which his skill, energy, and enterprise fully merited. It is unnecessary to refer at length to the services which Mr. Varden rendered to the cause of agriculture in this district, inasmuch as they are well known to our agricultural readers, and have been justly appreciated by them.

Mr. Varden was among the first in this county to recognise the importance of Chambers of Agriculture, and he took an active part in the formation and working of the Worcestershire Chamber. The interest he manifested in subjects affecting the agricultural community, and his thorough knowledge of the matters which claimed the attention of the Chamber, procured his election on the Council, which position he filled for many years to the entire satisfaction of the general body of members. The sound judgment which he brought to bear in the deliberations of the Council, and the very able and lucid manner in which he expressed his opinions at the general meetings, caused those opinions to be held in high esteem, and he was frequently deputed to attend the meetings of the Central Chamber, where he worthily represented the views of the local chamber. By his death the agriculturists of the county have lost an intelligent, zealous, and public-spirited promoter of their interests, and the Council of the Worcestershire Chamber a friend and colleague whose valuable co-operation they always heartily welcomed.

Mr. Varden was also a member of the Upton Snodsbury Highway Board, in which capacity his punctual and energetic discharge of duty, and his wise counsels, so commended him to the esteem of his colleagues and the confidence of the ratepayers that on the death of Mr. Hunt he was unanimously chosen to fill the office of vice-chairman. He originated the East Worcestershire Chamber of Agriculture, was a member of the Pershore Bench of Magistrates, and in other positions devoted his time and talents to the public service. He was highly respected alike in public and in private life, and his memory will be cherished by a large circle of friends.


See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. 1851 Census
  2. 1871 Census
  3. Worcester Journal - Saturday 10 May 1873