Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Thomas Clarke Worsdell (1788-1862)

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Thomas Clarke Worsdell (1788–1862)

1788 December 3rd. Born at Hayes, near Bromley, son of Thomas Clarke Worsdell (1748–1826), a market gardener, later an innkeeper, and his wife, Elizabeth Carter (b. 1750).

c.1800 the family moved to London where Thomas Clarke senior found employment at a coaching inn.

On leaving school Thomas was apprenticed to coach builders Howe and Shanks of Little Queen Street, Long Acre, London.

1807 Married Elizabeth Taylor (1784–1863) in London.

1809 Birth of his son Nathaniel Worsdell

c.1812 he moved to north Lancashire where he continued to work as a coach builder.

By 1816 he had joined the Society of Friends.

1819 Birth of son Thomas Worsdell

1821 Birth of his son George Worsdell

1827 Thomas established a coach building business with his son Nathaniel in Liverpool, which soon achieved a high reputation for the quality of its work. Through Quaker influence he was introduced to George Stephenson and with him planned the first carriages for the Liverpool and Manchester Railway.

1828 Thomas became superintendent of coaching for the Liverpool and Manchester Railway; built large numbers of coaches, as well as tenders for the Rocket and other locomotives, and a variety of goods wagons. Stephenson called him "the best coach builder I ever knew".

1837 January: left England to take up the post of locomotive, carriage, and wagon superintendent on the Leipzig and Dresden Railway, returning after about four years as carriage inspector successively at Manchester, Euston, and Hull, where he was joined by his son George.

1847 He retired from railway work (London and North Western Railway) and settled at Nantwich.

1862 April 18th. Died at his home, 7 Welch Row in Nantwich.

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