The collection comprises a miscellany of correspondence (including drafts of copies of outgoing letters), with notes, engineering drawings, etc. Many of the notes and calculations are written in Rastrick's private cipher. Major correspondents include the London shipping iron merchants Henckell & Du Buisson; the 2nd Earl of Powis; John (later Sir John) Gladstone [father of W E Gladstone]; the lawyer, estate manager and politician James Loch and [?his son] George Loch; and Rastrick's sons and employees. Topics covered include the canal and railway interests of Rastrick and the other correspondents, as well as the iron industry. Most of the letters were dispatched to or from London or the industrial areas of South Wales and the West Midlands.
John Urpeth Rastrick papers
- This material is held at
- ReferenceGB 96 AL340
- Dates of Creation1800-1855
- Name of Creator
- Language of MaterialEnglish
- Physical Descriptionc565 items
Scope and Content
Administrative / Biographical History
John Urpeth Rastrick was born at Morpeth in Northumberland on 26 January 1780, the son of John Rastrick, an engineer to whom he became articled in 1795. In about 1801, he was working at the Ketley Iron Works in Shropshire and, in or after 1805, he joined in partnership with John Hazledine (soon succeeded by Robert Hazledine) of Bridgenorth, Shropshire. During this time, Rastrick assisted in the construction of the locomotive 'Catch me who Can' for Richard Trevithick in 1808, and in 1814, he took out a patent for a steam engine and soon started experimenting with steam traction on railways. His first major work was the cast iron road bridge over the Wye at Chepstow (1815-1816). In 1817 Rastrick left that partnership, to join with James Foster, in about 1819, at the iron works which then became known as Foster, Rastrick & Co., at Stourbridge, Worcestershire. His association with railway engineering began in 1822 when he became an engineer for the Stratford and Moreton Railway. Rastrick became an active supporter of railway proposals put before Parliament, an adviser to railway companies, and a designer and builder of locomotives - the 'Agenoria' and 'Stourbridge Lion' for example. He acted as surveyor or engineer to parts of a large number of lines, among them the Liverpool & Manchester (1829 onwards), the Manchester & Cheshire Junction (1835 onwards), and the series of lines later known as the London, Brighton & South Coast Railway (1836 onwards). About 1847, he retired from engineering work, although he continued to occupy himself with railway business, and was active in a number of arbitrations concerning railway disputes. He retired to Sayes Court, Chertsey, Surrey and died on 1 November 1856.
See hard copy catalogue
Conditions Governing Access
Open for research. 24 hours notice should be given before a research visit.
Purchased in 1965.
Other Finding Aids
T D Rogers, The Rastrick Papers, University of London Library (1968)
Conditions Governing Use
Copies may be made, subject to the condition of the original. Copying must be undertaken by the Palaeography Room staff, who will need a minimum of 24 hours to process requests.