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British Industrial History

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Frederick Wragge

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Frederick Wragge ( -1886)

1886 Obituary [1]

Mr. FREDERICK WRAGGE, who died at his residence, Park Cottage, Stone, on the 14th December 1886, had been for many years one of the foremost men in the iron and coal industries of North Staffordshire, having been for a quarter of a century Chairman of the Coal and Ironmasters' Association of that district, which position he held until the time of his decease.

Belonging to a Derbyshire family, Mr. Wragge commenced his business career in the office of Messrs. Tootal Brothers, at Manchester.

At the age of twenty-five he was appointed secretary to the Matlock and Buxton Railway, in which capacity he was brought into direct contact with Mr. George Stephenson and Mr. (afterwards Sir Joseph) Paxton. His intimacy with the latter gentleman subsequently led to his receiving an important post in connection with the erection of the Great Exhibition of 1851.

On the lease of the Matlock and Buxton line to the Midland Railway, Mr. Wragge became the responsible home manager for the Army Works Corps in the Crimea. In this position he made the acquaintance of Earl Granville, by whom he was appointed manager of the Shelton collieries and blast furnaces, near Stoke-on-Trent, an office which he filled for the long period of thirty years.

Apart from the prominent position which he held as Chairman of the North Staffordshire Coal and Ironmasters' Association, Mr. Wragge took an active part in the public affairs of that district. He was one of the promoters of the North Staffordshire Exchange in 1859, and when that institution was resuscitated in 1874, after having been allowed to lapse for some years, he was again one of its most influential leaders.

For a long period he was an active member of the North Staffordshire Chamber of Commerce, of which he ultimately became the president, and on the occasion of his decease the Chamber adopted the following resolution:— "That the Council records the deep sense of the loss sustained by the North Staffordshire Chamber of Commerce by the death of Mr Wragge, who for two years so ably filled the office of President, and who brought to the duties of that post the same great ability, clear judgment, unvarying courtesy, and thorough impartiality which ever distinguished him in his career as a public man, and makes his untimely death a cause of mourning to the district which he so long and so faithfully served."

From 1860 till April 1863, Mr. Wragge was Chairman of the Stoke-on-Trent Board of Guardians, of which he sat as a member for twenty-five years. He was Chairman of the School Board of the borough of Hanley from its establishment in 1871 until the time of his decease, and in that capacity he presided over its deliberations with exceptional ability and the best results, and draughted the clause by which the religious instruction, not of the Hanley Board alone, but of those of other districts, was guided. He was one of the senior members of the Hanley borough bench, and in 1874 he was made a justice of the peace for the county of Stafford.

Mr. Wragge was an excellent administrator and man of business, methodical in his habits and punctual in all Isis engagements. He only once missed attending the quarterly meetings of the Iron Trade at Birmingham during the thirty years of his connection with the Shelton works, and in every important movement projected over that period for the benefit of the commerce and industry of North Staffordshire he took an active part. He was firm, but just and considerate, in his dealings with the workmen, with whom he had but few disputes; and the general amity of their intercourse is attested by a resolution adopted by a mass meeting of the employees on the occasion of his death, when they placed on record "the admiration and respect which his uniform justice and benevolence in connection with the relations of capital and labour engendered in the minds of those whom he employed."

Mr. Wragge was one of the original members of the Iron and Steel Institute on its establishment in 1869. He had also for some years been a member of the Board of Management of the British Iron Trade Association, and at the time of his decease, was President of the North Staffordshire Mining and Mechanical Engineers.

1886 Obituary[2]

"The Late Mr. Frederick Wragge.— The Times announces the death of Mr. Frederick Wragge, which occurred last week at his residence, Park Cottage, Stone. Mr. Wragge had been for thirty years the chief agent for Lord Granville in North Staffordshire. He had also been president of the North Staffordshire Chamber of Commerce, and at the meeting of the Chamber held on Wednesday last at Hanley, a resolution was passed to the effect that the death of Mr. Wragge was a cause of mourning to the district which he had so long and faithfully served. He was also the first president of the North Staffordshire Ironmasters’ Association, an office which he had held for thirty years continuously up to his death. In early life Mr. Wragge, when secretary of the Matlock and Buxton Railway, was brought into contact with George Stephenson and Paxton, and he subsequently acted for the Government as engineer and inspector of works in connection with the first International Exhibition, and then as manager for the Army Works Corps in the Crimea. He resigned this last post on his appointment to the management of the North Staffordshire property of Lord Granville. Mr. Wragge was at the time of his death chairman of the Hanley School Board, on which he had sat since 1870; he was one of the magistrates for the borough of Hanley, and a justice of the peace for the county of Staffordshire. Mr. Wragge was sixty-five years of age at the time of his death."

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