John Urpeth Rastrick

Infobox Person
name = John Urpeth Rastrick


caption =
birth_date = birth date|1780|1|26|mf=y
birth_place = Morpeth, Northumberland
death_date = death date|1856|11|1|mf=y
death_place = Chertsey, Surrey

John Urpeth Rastrick (January 26 1780 – November 1 1856) was one of the first English steam locomotive builders. Partnering with James Foster, he formed Foster, Rastrick and Company, the locomotive construction company that built the "Stourbridge Lion" in 1829 for export to the Delaware and Hudson Railroad in America.

Rastrick was born in Morpeth, Northumberland, to John Rastrick and Mary (Urpeth). He attended local public schools; at age 15, in 1795 he was apprenticed in his father's engineering practice. In 1802 he was hired by the Ketley Iron Works in Shropshire.

After five years at Ketley, Rastrick partnered with John Hazledine, in Bridgnorth, Shropshire. While at Bridgnorth, Rastrick helped Richard Trevithick develop his ideas for the high pressure steam engine and locomotive, and later he was to testify in a parliamentary enquiry that he had built the locomotive that had been demonstrated in London in 1808. He also produced much equipment for Trevithick's abortive South American adventure.

On April 1 1814, he was awarded UK patent number 3,799 for his steam engine design. Rastrick oversaw the construction of the Chepstow Bridge, which opened in 1816. The partnership between Rastrick and Hazledine was a troubled one, ending in a dispute in 1817.

He worked independently for a short period, but in 1819 he formed a partnership with James Foster, and he moved his family to Stourbridge.

Foster, Rastrick and Company, the new company manufactured an extensive range of products from blast furnaces, and rolling mills, wrought iron rails, 'bearers' (beams) for some of the famous buildings of the age, etc., including the first steam locomotives for the Delaware and Hudson Canal Company in 1829.

In 1829 Rastrick was commissioned with James Walker to report on the economics of using either rope haulage or locomotives on the new Liverpool and Manchester Railway. After extensive travels to view the early railways of the age their report favoured rope haulage on economic grounds! They did however include the rider that there were some benefits to locomotive haulage not least their probable technical improvement. Given such a marginal judgement the directors of the company decided to hold a competition to test the locomotives on offer. Rastrick was one of three judges at the Rainhill Trials of 1829 which conclusively proved the benefits of Stephenson's 'Rocket' locomotive. Rastrick's diaries and notebook of the trial are valuable records of the performance of locomotives of that era.

Rastrick left the Foster, Rastrick & Co. partnership in 1831 to become an independent civil engineer. He worked on numerous railway project of the period and in 1835 worked with John Rennie to obtain parliamentary approval for the London and Brighton Railway. He then became consultant engineer, overseeing the railway's construction.

He also constructed a number of adjoining railways to the London and Brighton Railway which were eventually amalgamated into the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway.

Rastrick retired from active life in 1847, moving to Sayes Court, Addlestone, Chertsey in Surrey which was an eight bedroom mansion in 25 acres of grounds. His death in 1856 occurred there on November 1.

Family

During his partnership with John Hazledine, Rastrick married Sarah Jervis (or Jarvis) on December 24, 1810 at Codsall, Staffordshire. He had six children: John, was born on April 10 1811; Sarah, who was baptized on June 2 1813; Mary, baptized January 30, 1818; Henry, baptized January 30, 1818; Frederick James born c1820; George, baptized June 10, 1821.

References

* " [http://www.steamindex.com/people/engrs.htm Brief biographies of major mechanical engineers] ". Retrieved February 9 2005.
* Bedwell, Carolyn (2002), " [http://www.kylenano.demon.co.uk/rastrick/jur-summary.html John Urpeth Rastrick] ". Retrieved April 4 2005.
* Bedwell, Carolyn (2002), " [http://www.kylenano.demon.co.uk/rastrick/jur-chron.html John Urpeth Rastrick - Chronology] ". Retrieved April 22 2005 — family details, additional dates.
* Senate House Library, University of London, " [http://www.aim25.ac.uk/cgi-bin/search2?coll_id=1695&inst_id=14 John Bradley & Co (Stourbridge) Ltd., Ironfounders] ". Retrieved April 22 2005 — verifies Foster family connections
* Dendy Marshall, CF, The Rainhill Locomotive Trials of 1829. From the Transactions of the Newcomen Society, 1929 Vol 9 — includes excerpts from Rastrick's own notebooks.

External links

* [http://www.newcomen.com/excerpts/rainhill/index.htm Newcomen Society paper]


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