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British Industrial History

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Thomas Webster Rammell

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Thomas Webster Rammell (c1814-1879), civil engineer

c.1814/6[1] Born in the Isle of Thanet, Kent, son of Gibbon and Elizabeth Rammell[2]. Presumably brother of Charles Rammell.

He became an engineer, working for the Metropolitan Board of Health. He was a close friend of Henry Austin, son-in-law of Charles Dickens.

In 1849 he was commissioned to conduct an inquiry into the "sewage, drainage and supply of water and the sanitary conditions of the inhabitants" of the North Devon town of Barnstaple.

1850 The recommendations of his report were read to Queen Victoria in Council at Buckingham Palace[3]

1850 Following an enquiry carried out by Thomas Webster Rammell, inspector of the General Board of Health, on the petition of one-tenth of the ratepayers, the Merthyr Tydfil Local Board of Health was established[4].

Further enquiries were conducted of a similar nature.

1855 Dissolution of the partnership with John Lister[5]

1857 He published "A New Plan for Street Railways".

1859 Thomas Webster Rammell and Josiah Latimer Clark established the Pneumatic Despatch Co to establish an underground tube network in central London[6]. Eventually the company laid down a system of lines from Euston Station to Holbrook and to the General Post Office.

1860 Thomas Webster Rammell gained a patent on improvements to pneumatic railways and tubes[7].

1865 Rammell believed that the pneumatic system was capable of moving more than goods traffic so constructed an experimental line in the grounds of the Crystal Palace for passenger traffic. This line included severe curves and a 1 in 15 gradient. The carriage was reported as roomy, commodious, and well ventilated. As a result a proposal was developed for a line between Waterloo station and Whitehall[8].

1865 T. W. Rammell and Sir Charles Fox were engineers for the proposed underground line from a terminus at Great Scotland Yard under the river to Waterloo. The first part, under the Thames Embankment to the river, was to be in brickwork; under the river it was to be continued in watertight iron-tubing, encased in cement and laid and fixed in a channel to be dredged out of the bed of the river; on reaching the southern shore, the line was to be carried in brickwork under College Street and Vine Street to a terminus on the north side of Waterloo Station. The works were commenced in the autumn of 1865, but were eventually abandoned because of financial problems[9].

1874 Married

1879 Died as the result of diabetes.

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. Genes Reunited [1]
  3. London Gazette [2]
  4. National Archives [3]
  5. London Gazette [4]
  6. The Times, 4 October 1876
  7. London Gazette Issue 22792, 27 November 1863
  8. The Engineer 1865/06/16
  9. Underground London by Stephanie Smith, 2004