Webb, Francis William 1836 - 1906

Webb, Francis William (1836–1906), civil engineer and local politician, was born at Tixall Rectory, Staffordshire, on 21 May 1836. In his mid 30s he was appointed the head of the locomotive department of the London & North Western Railway (LNWR). A position that he held for 30 years. A prolific inventor and technical innovator, Webb was not without controversy. Cost saving decisions made - with the best intensions - would blight some of his creations.

His innovations included the use of steel and the implementation of more modern tools and production processes. Many of these new design and build techniques were to be found at his local Crewe works, which Railway Magazine called the ‘most famous works in the world’ under Webb’s leadership.

He was also a key figure in Crewe politically, serving as mayor twice as well as being a major benefactor of the Webb Orphanage, an institution set up to look after the orphaned children of the deceased parents of employees of the LNWR. He died in Bournemouth in 1906.