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British Industrial History

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William Mitchell Acworth

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Sir William Mitchell Acworth KCSI (22 November 1850 - 2 April 1925) was a British railway economist, barrister and politician.

The third son of the Reverend William Acworth of the Hall, South Stoke, near Bath, Somerset, and Margaret née Dundas, he was born at Rothley, Leicestershire, where his father was vicar in 1850.

He was educated at Uppingham School and Christ Church, Oxford. He graduated with a masters degree in modern history in 1875

In 1889 he wrote Railways of England followed in the following year by Railways of Scotland. These two books comprised a series of descriptive articles of the railways, but his later work concentrated on the economics and statistics of the industry.

He visited the United States where he studied the statistical methods used on the railroads there, and on his return wrote his third book, Railways and the Traders (1891), which was critical of the accounting practices of the British railway companies.

From the mid-1890s he lectured at the newly formed London School of Economics on railways.

In 1905 he published his fourth book The Elements of Railway Economics, which was widely used as a textbook.

In 1919 he gave evidence to the United States Congress before the Joint Committee on Inter-State and Foreign Commerce. His testimony formed the basis of his fifth and final book, State Railway Ownership, was published in 1920.

He died suddenly at his London home at The Albany, Piccadilly, aged 74.

1925 Obituary [1]

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