Stenlake Publishing - F. W. Webb: In the right place at the right time

F. W. Webb: In the right place at the right time

Author : John Chacksfield FRAeS, FBIS, AFAIAA, C.Eng
ISBN : 9780853616573
Cover : paperback
Price : £11.95

F.W. Webb was one of the great railway engineers of the 19th century. When still in his early thirties he was appointed head of the locomotive department of the London & North Western Railway and retained the position until he retired over 30 years later. It was a time of great expansion, innovation and technical progress on the railways in general, and he ensured that the LNWR led the way. He was a pioneer in the use of steel for instance, designed new machine tools, and improved production processes. He was also a prolific inventor, with numerous patents to his credit. He was responsible for Crewe works, with all its functions, products and ramifications, of which locomotive design and maintenance were only a part. Under his leadership the works was expanded to the level at which the Railway Magazine described it as ‘the most famous works in the world’. F.W. Webb’s contribution was immense and not for nothing was he known as the ’King of Crewe‘

Inevitably in such an important position held for such a long period of time errors of judgement were occasionally made. More accurately, decisions were made with the best of intentions which were seen later to have been errors (hindsight is a wonderful thing), and some have led to controversy on which views are still expressed today.

In view of Webb’s importance, it is surprising that no biography has ever been published. Now at last John Chacksfield, an experienced biographer of railway engineers, has tackled the task with energy and enthusiasm. At the outset, the author resolved to take an impartial stance on controversial matters and to form judgements based only on the balance of evidence. He has produced a thoroughly readable account which will become essential reading for anyone interested in the railway history of the 19th century, as well as containing much of interest for LNWR specialists.

A5 format, 144 pages, 126 illustrations.

F. W. Webb: In the right place at the right time

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