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British Industrial History

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James Foster

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James Foster (1786-1853) was the son of Henry Foster (1743-1793), maker of iron goods, who was stepfather of John Bradley and owned a one-third share in John Bradley and Co.

1818 James Foster oversaw the construction of two new blast furnaces at Bradley's Stourbridge Iron Works, thereby controlling all stages of iron production.

1818 Foster leased mines at Wombridge with an obligation to build two blast furnaces within 18 months.

1819 John Urpeth Rastrick formed a partnership with James Foster as Foster, Rastrick and Co at Stourbridge.

1819 James Foster went into partnership with John Urpeth Rastrick to expand John Bradley and Co's involvement in machinery production. John Urpeth Rastrick became the managing partner in the firm of Bradley, Foster, Rastrick and Co, iron-founders and manufacturers of machinery, at Stourbridge, Worcestershire, taking the principal engineering part in the design and construction of rolling-mills, steam-engines, and other large works[1]

1824 a third blast furnace was added at Wombridge

1825 The original two Wombridge furnaces produced over 5,000 tons.

1828 Stourbridge ironmaster James Foster bought Madeley Court and began mining in the area.

1831 Foster, Rastrick and Co was dissolved; its assets were absorbed into the Stourbridge Iron Works of John Bradley and Co where James Foster was the major partner.

1831 Foster bought the Calcutts Ironworks and mines from the executors of Alexander Brodie and shut most of the furnaces as they were outdated but continued to use the mines for supplying ironstone and lime to his foundry[2].

1837 Foster bought out his two partners in the Wombridge and the associated Hadley works but the Windmill farm inclined plane (in Madeley) was apparently unable to raise fully laden boats, thereby restricting the supply of the Wombridge works with his own coal

1837 James Foster became the sole owner of John Bradley and Co. The Stourbridge Iron Works continued to produce rods, bars and wires while the foundry worked on specialist rolling machines.

1843 Foster built three blast furnaces at Madeley Court to replace those at Wombridge, which perhaps had already been closed. All the Madeley Court pig iron was sent to Foster's ironworks in Staffordshire and Worcestershire, to be blended with other types, for the manufacture of high quality bar.

1853 James's nephew, William Orme Foster (-1899), inherited the £700,000 estate and, under his stewardship, John Bradley and Co. continued to grow.

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. 1857 Obituary of John Urpeth Rastrick
  2. Broseley Local History Society, Journal No. 28, 2006
  • Administrative/Biographical history of John Bradley and Co, Senate House Library, University of London [1]
  • Stourbridge & Its Historic Locomotives, by Paul Collins (Dudley Leisure Services. 1989))
  • 'Wombridge: Economic history', A History of the County of Shropshire: Volume 11: Telford (1985), pp. 291-296 [2].