Thomas Savin

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Thomas Savin
Thomas Savin.jpg
Died23 July 1889(1889-07-23) (aged 62–63)
Oswestry, Shropshire, England, United Kingdom

Thomas Savin (1826 – 23 July 1889) was a British railway engineer who was the contractor who built many railways in Wales and the Welsh borders from 1857 to 1866. He also in some cases was an investor in such schemes.


Early life

Savin was born in Shropshire at Llwynymaen near Oswestry in 1826. [1] He married in 1852 Eliza Hughes with whom he had two sons who survived him. He initially worked in Oswestry running a mercery business in partnership with Edward Morris, who subsequently purchased then sold the Van lead mines. [2]

Shropshire County of England

Shropshire is a county in England, bordering Wales to the west, Cheshire to the north, Staffordshire to the east, and Worcestershire and Herefordshire to the south. Shropshire Council was created in 2009, a unitary authority taking over from the previous county council and five district councils. The borough of Telford and Wrekin has been a separate unitary authority since 1998 but continues to be included in the ceremonial county.

Oswestry Town in Shropshire, England

Oswestry is a market town and civil parish in Shropshire, England, close to the Welsh border. It is at the junction of the A5, A483 and A495 roads. It is one of the UK's oldest border settlements.

Mercery initially referred to silk, linen, and fustian textiles imported to England in the 12th century.

Railway contractor

In 1857 Savin formed a partnership with David Davies to build the Vale of Clwyd Railway. The partnership was the principal contractor for many of the lines that became the Cambrian Railways. [1] The partnership was dissolved in 1860. [3] He also had an interest in or worked on a number of secondary and minor railways, including the Brecon and Merthyr Tydfil Junction Railway, the Hereford, Hay and Brecon Railway, the narrow gauge Corris Railway, the Kington & Eardisley Railway [4] and the Bishop's Castle Railway. [5]

David Davies (industrialist) Welsh industrialist and Liberal politician, born 1818

David Davies was a Welsh industrialist and Liberal politician who sat in the House of Commons between 1874 and 1886. Davies was often known as David Davies Llandinam. He is best remembered today for founding Barry Docks.

The Vale of Clwyd Railway was a standard-gauge line which connected the towns of Rhyl and Denbigh via St Asaph in North Wales.

Cambrian Railways owned 230 miles (370 km) of track over a large area of mid-Wales. The system was an amalgamation of a number of railways that were incorporated in 1864, 1865 and 1904. The Cambrian connected with two of the larger railways to give connections to the North West of England, via the London and North Western Railway; and with the Great Western Railway for connections between London and North Wales. The Cambrian Railways amalgamated with the Great Western Railway on 1 January 1922 as a result of the Railways Act 1921. The name is continued today in the route known as the Cambrian Line.

Savin's bankruptcy in 1866 led to the stalling of the Aberystwith and Welsh Coast Railway, which became a part of the Cambrian Railways.

Aberystwith and Welsh Coast Railway transport company

The Aberystwith and Welsh Coast Railway was a standard gauge railway built in 1863 connecting major towns around Cardigan Bay in Wales.


Savin owned a number of industrial companies across Wales. He was the owner of the Cooper's Lime Rocks limestone quarry at Porthywaen in 1872, which suffered from a significant accident. Kegs of gunpowder were hauled up the incline to the magazine in the quarry. As the most recent set of kegs were being moved into the magazine, an empty wagon broke loose and collided at high speed with one of the kegs. The resulting explosion killed six workers employed by Savin. [6]

Limestone Sedimentary rocks made of calcium carbonate

Limestone is a carbonate sedimentary rock that is often composed of the skeletal fragments of marine organisms such as coral, foraminifera, and molluscs. Its major materials are the minerals calcite and aragonite, which are different crystal forms of calcium carbonate (CaCO3). A closely related rock is dolomite, which contains a high percentage of the mineral dolomite, CaMg(CO3)2. In old USGS publications, dolomite was referred to as magnesian limestone, a term now reserved for magnesium-deficient dolomites or magnesium-rich limestones.

Gunpowder explosive once used as propellant in firearms

Gunpowder, also known as black powder to distinguish it from modern smokeless powder, is the earliest known chemical explosive. It consists of a mixture of sulfur (S), charcoal (C), and potassium nitrate (saltpeter, KNO3). The sulfur and charcoal act as fuels while the saltpeter is an oxidizer. Because of its incendiary properties and the amount of heat and gas volume that it generates, gunpowder has been widely used as a propellant in firearms, artillery, rockets, and fireworks, and as a blasting powder in quarrying, mining, and road building.

Cable railway railway that uses a cable, rope or chain to haul trains

A cable railway is a railway that uses a cable, rope or chain to haul trains. It is a specific type of cable transportation.

Politics and other interests

David Davies had entered active politics in 1865 when he unsuccessfully fought at Cardiganshire in the General Election. Later that year Savin was briefly mentioned as a possible Liberal candidate for Brecon. [7] Savin served in local politics in Oswestry, to whose borough council he was elected in 1856, became Mayor of the town in 1866, and was alderman from 1871 until his death. He left the Liberal party and became a Conservative because of his support for Benjamin Disraeli's stance over Bulgaria and Turkey against Russia in the 1870s. [2]

1865 United Kingdom general election

The 1865 United Kingdom general election saw the Liberals, led by Lord Palmerston, increase their large majority over the Earl of Derby's Conservatives to more than 80. The Whig Party changed its name to the Liberal Party between the previous election and this one.

Liberal Party (UK) political party of the United Kingdom, 1859–1988

The Liberal Party was one of the two major parties in the United Kingdom with the opposing Conservative Party in the 19th and early 20th centuries. The party arose from an alliance of Whigs and free trade-supporting Peelites and the reformist Radicals in the 1850s. By the end of the 19th century, it had formed four governments under William Gladstone. Despite being divided over the issue of Irish Home Rule, the party returned to government in 1905 and then won a landslide victory in the following year's general election.

Brecon was a parliamentary constituency in Wales which returned one Member of Parliament to the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom and its predecessors, from 1542 until it was abolished for the 1885 general election.

Savin served in the volunteer force as lieutenant in the Montgomeryshire Rifles and was captain of the 15th (Oswestry) company of the Shropshire Rifle Volunteers in 1864. He was also a Fellow of the Royal Horticultural Society and Associate of the Institution of Civil Engineers. [2]

Royal Horticultural Society registered charity in the UK which promotes gardening and horticulture

The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), founded in 1804 as the Horticultural Society of London, is the UK's leading gardening charity.

Institution of Civil Engineers independent professional association, headquartered in central London

The Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) is an independent professional association for civil engineers and a charitable body in the United Kingdom. Based in London, ICE has over 92,000 members, of whom three quarters are located in the UK, while the rest are located in more than 150 other countries. The ICE aims to support the civil engineering profession by offering professional qualification, promoting education, maintaining professional ethics, and liaising with industry, academia and government. Under its commercial arm, it delivers training, recruitment, publishing and contract services. As a professional body, ICE aims to support and promote professional learning, managing professional ethics and safeguarding the status of engineers, and representing the interests of the profession in dealings with government, etc. It sets standards for membership of the body; works with industry and academia to progress engineering standards and advises on education and training curricula.

Later life

Savin died at his home, Ivy House, in Salop Road, Oswestry on 23 July 1889 and was buried in Oswestry Cemetery, aged 63, on 26 July (Section D, Grave 34). [8]

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  1. 1 2 "Biographies of chairmen, managers & other senior railway officers". STEAMINDEX. Retrieved 19 February 2018.
  2. 1 2 3 "Oswestry. Death of Mr. Thomas Savin" . Shrewsbury Chronicle. 26 July 1889. p. 7.
  3. "No. 22525". The London Gazette . 2 July 1861. p. 2751.
  4. Greene, Miranda (2003). "The Kington and Eardisley railway". Hereforshire Council - Herefordshire Through Time. Retrieved 20 February 2018.
  5. Oppitz, Leslie (March 2005). "The Bishop's Castle Railway". BBC. Retrieved 20 February 2018.
  6. "Fearful Gunpowder Explosion at the Porthywaen Lime Works". The Cambrian News. 7 June 1872. p. 6.
  7. "Editorial". Welshman. 6 October 1865. Retrieved 24 November 2014.
  8. "Savin, Thomas". Oswestry Cemetery Project. Retrieved 20 February 2018.