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British Industrial History

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William Wainwright

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William Wainwright (1833-1895)

1865 William Wainwright, Locomotive Department, Great Western Railway, Worcester.[1]

1871 Living at Rainbow Villa, Claines, Worcs: William Wainwright (age 31 born Leeds), Mechanical Engineer, Superintendent of Locomotive and Carriage Department G.W.R. With his wife Jessie Loudon Wainwright (age 32 born Scotland) and their children; John William Wainwright (age 9 born Claines, Worcs.); Lennox Wainwright (age 8 born St. Martins, Worcs); Harry Smith Wainwright (age 6 born Claines, Worcs.); Jane Maude Wainwright (age 4 born Claines, Worcs.); and Edmond Gordon Wainwright (age 2 born Claines, Worcs.). One servant.[2]


1895 Obituary [3]

WILLIAM WAINWRIGHT was born at Leeds on the 2nd of August, 1833, and served an apprenticeship of seven years at the works of E. B. Wilson and Co, engineers, of that city.

In 1854 he entered the service of the Oxford, Worcester and Wolverhampton Railway Company. His ability was soon recognised and he rapidly rose to the position of foreman, and, in 1860, to that of Superintendent of the Locomotive and Carriage Department.

Upon the amalgamation of that line with the Great Western Railway Company in 1863, he was appointed Superintendent of the Locomotive and Carriage Department for the Worcester division, which post he held for ten years.

Mr. Wainwright left the service of the Great Western Railway Company in 1873 and for nearly five years was Manager of the Worcester Carriage and Wagon Co, in which capacity he was responsible for the construction of large quantities of rolling-stock for many of the principal railways in England and abroad, and also of bridges and agricultural machinery.

In January, 1877, however, he returned to his old work as Chief Out-door Assistant of the Carriage and Wagon Department of the Midland Railway. During the five years he was at Derby he had charge of some 1,500 men.

Mr. Wainwright’s connection with the South Eastern Railway began in April, 1882, when he was appointed Chief Carriage and Wagon Superintendent to that Company. That post he held for thirteen years, during which period he partially revolutionized the coaches on that system, bringing them up to modern requirements. Perhaps the best type of coach designed by him is the combined family and invalid carriage, which has been highly approved by the medical profession. He also introduced some excellent saloon cars, and under his management gas took the place to a great extent of oil-lamps.

Mr. Wainwright suffered for some years from bronchial affection. In the spring of 1895 he spent two months at Falmouth, from which place he returned to Ashford apparently much improved in health. He resumed his usual duties, but unfortunately took a chill which, rapidly developing into acute pneumonia, proved fatal on the 21st of May, after only two days’ illness.

Mr. Wainwright’s career is sufficient indication of his ability as an engineer. In disposition he was methodical, straightforward and amiable; and, whilst serving his employers with zeal, he was equally careful to be just and considerate to those under him. He was elected a Member of the Institution on the 24th of May, 1887.



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