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British Industrial History

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Frederic William Rafarel

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Frederic William Rafarel (1837-1903)

of Cwmbran Nut and Bolt Works, near Newport, Monmouthshire.

1903 Obituary [1]

FREDERICK WILLIAM RAFAREL was born at Barnstaple on 26th February 1837, and was educated at the Grammar School at Colyton.

About the age of fifteen, he entered the employment of the Great Western Railway Co. at Paddington under Mr. Gibson, the superintendent of the carriage department.

In the spring of 1863, he obtained the appointment of paymaster of a fleet under command of Captain Sherard Osborn, which the British Government sent out to assist the Chinese Government in suppressing piracy on the coast of China.

On his return to England about two years later, he joined the Patent Nut and Bolt Co. at their London Works, Smethwick, near Birmingham, and was placed in charge of the prime-cost department. He was promoted to the position of assistant to the managing director, Mr. F. G. Grice, at the Cwmbran Iron Works and Collieries of the Company in 1867, and continued in the position under Mr. E. J. Grice, who succeeded his brother as managing director.

On the death of Mr. E. J. Grice in March 1899, he was appointed general manager of the Cwmbran Iron Works and Collieries, a position which he held up to the time of his death, retaining the appointment on the works being taken over by Messrs. Guest, Keen and Co. in July 1900, and later by Messrs. Guest, Keen and Nettlefolds in February 1902.

During his thirty-six years' service with the company at Cwmbran Works the works were very largely extended and developed. In 1885 he invented a metallic railway sleeper and method of fixing rails.

He was a member of the Monmouthshire and South Wales Coal Owners' Association and of the Newport District Board of the same Association, and a member of the Hartley Colliery Trust. He was a magistrate for the County of Monmouth, and he took a large interest in local matters, being a member of the Pontypool Board of Guardians, and Chairman of numerous local public bodies for a number of years.

His death took place at his residence at Cwmbran, Monmouthshire, on 2nd Juno 1903, at the age of sixty-six, after a long illness, from bronchial asthma and an affection of the heart.

He became a Member of this Institution in 1868.

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