Francis William Webb (1836-1906), English Railway Engineer

Submitted by Jill Lawler (member no 659 )

Frank Webb was the third of five children born to the Rector of Tixall in Staffordshire.  Two of his brothers also became clergymen but Frank became an engineer during the great age of railway expansion and development in Britain.  He enjoyed a long association with Crewe, beginning his career there as a 15 year old apprentice; later becoming an alderman of county and city councils and twice Mayor of Crewe.  He was Vice-Chairman of the Institutions of both Civil and Mechanical Engineers.

Frank was an innovator, noted chiefly for his work in locomotive design, steel manufacture, and the application of electricity to points and signalling.  He was a prolific inventor, taking out many patents for improved machinery and locomotives.  Many of his papers and patents are listed on this website should you wish to read more.

He never married - possibly connected with the quote I found describing him as ‘imperious and irritable’!  He was, however, an important benefactor to the orphanage in Crewe and aided the establishment of a city park there.  He died shortly after retiring to Bournemouth but his locomotives ran on for many years.

F. W. Webb Webb compound locomotive Frank Webb Avenue, Crewe
F. W. Webb A Webb compound locomotive Frank Webb Avenue, Crewe

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