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British Industrial History

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William Orme Foster

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William Orme Foster (c1815-1899), head of the firm of John Bradley and Co, nephew of James Foster

c.1815 Born in Stourbridge

1841 An ironmaster, living in Kingswinford with his mother, Charlotte[1]

1853 Inherited his uncle's £700,000 estate; under his stewardship, John Bradley and Co. continued to grow.

1881 A magistrate and ironmaster, living in Shifnal with his family[2]

1899 After his death, his son, William Henry Foster (1846-1924), took on the company.

1899 Obituary [3]

WILLIAM ORME FOSTER died on September 29, 1899, at the advanced age of eighty-five years. He was the head of the firm of Messrs. John Bradley & Company, and held a very high position among the ironmasters of South Staffordshire. The firm's principal works are at Stourbridge, where they were established more than a century ago, but they also had other works in different parts of the Staffordshire and Shropshire ironmaking districts.

Mr. Foster was one of the Members for the old Parliamentary division of South Staffordshire from 1857 to 1868. He was also High Sheriff for the County of Wexford in 1876, and for Shropshire in 1883. He was a generous supporter of all public works of importance in the districts with which he was associated, and one of his benefactions took the form of a church, vicarage, schools, and schoolhouse for the parish of Wollaston, where many of his work-people resided. At his death the gross value of his estate was £1,000,000. He was an original member of the Iron and Steel Institute.

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