Graham Trust explains more about the Liverpool and Manchester Board members

Resource Type: Audio | Posted on 5th August 2011 by Liam Physick

Graham Trust explains the importance of Liverpool and Manchester, explaining why a railway was built to link the two cities. He also mentions the early life of John Moss, discusses the members of the Railway’s Board of Directors, and notes how the project united Whigs and Tories, slaveowners (like Moss) and abolitionists

Interviewee: Graham Trust

Interviewee Gender: Male

Date of Interview: 16th March 2011

Interview Transcript

Jenny: One of my interests is, really, the Liverpool and Manchester Railway, why do you think it happened in this region and, you know, maybe there’s a part of Moss’s history in particular that explains that.

Graham: The, I think it’s important to bear in mind that there were all sorts of railway projects, all over the country, around about this time. The Liverpool and Manchester, I think, the reason why it was the, the most important one of that era, was that the port of Liverpool was, had been, booming, and getting bigger and bigger and busier and busier as, as, it has to be said, slave-produced produce from the Americas and West Indies was pouring into the port and things were pouring into the port from all over the world, and Manchester was growing enormously as a cotton town, the canals had, had enabled all of this, all these raw materials, which were coming from Liverpool, there was a system of canals taking these raw materials down to the Potteries and the Midlands, the North West was a major part of the Industrial Revolution, and that’s really why – it wasn’t inevitable that a railway was made in, in this part of the country, but that is why it was so needed.

Jenny: It started here, yeah.

Graham: Yeah.

Jenny: In particular, then, Moss, was, had he always lived in Liverpool, or had he been brought here because of the, sort of, growth here.

Graham: He, he was born in Rainford Gardens, which is round about Mathew Street . . .

Jenny: Oh, right.

Graham: . . . and he, in later childhood he moved out to St. Anne’s Street, which is near Scotland Road, which was very, very fashionable in those days, I’m sure people would still say it’s fashionable and, by the time he got involved with the Liverpool and Manchester in, as I say, round about 18, well it was 1821, he was living out in the leafy, well it wasn’t even a suburb, a leafy . . .

Jenny: Countryside?

Graham: Otterspool, countryside . . .

Jenny: Yeah.

Graham: . . . outside Liverpool, but he was a banker, and his business was in Dale Street, his bank, which he opened in 1807, was in Dale Street, and he was from a wealthy family as well, and wealth tends to bring influence, so he was a top, one of the top Liverpool merchants so, that’s . . .

Jenny: And can you talk much about the other directors, I mean, we’ve covered James and Sandars?

Graham: Yeah. Sandars, as I say, was a corn merchant, James, he, he wasn’t a director as such, he was the surveyor of the, the first surveyor of the land, the first engineer. Unfortunately, James had some serious financial problems and he was twice sent to debtors’ prison, they had debtors’ prisons in those days . . .

Jenny: Yeah.

Graham: . . . his brother-in-law was owed a fortune by him, and because of that, again, it was still, in 1824, in the spring of 1824, the Liverpool and Manchester started, the board started to distance themselves from William James, and that is when Stephenson came in. The other board members (coughs), there was a guy called Lister Ellis, who was a Whig – Moss was a Tory – in those days, Tories and Whigs were almost like armed factions . . .

Jenny: Right.

Graham . . . there was a, such, such a, at least an antipathy between them . . .

Jenny: So it was rare that they would become, like, partners?

Graham: Well, this is the incredible thing about it, you had Whigs and Tories, people like Moss, who owned slaves, and Charles Lawrence who was the, who eventually became the chairman, Moss was the first chairman, but he became a vice-chairman, sorry, a deputy chairman, Charles Lawrence, John Moss, big slave owners, you had the likes of James Cropper and William Rathbone, who were anti-slavery people, but they were all working together on this project, so they put aside all these major differences to, to work together for this, for one common purpose, so, it just shows you, if they’re prepared to put such diametrically opposed views to rest, and this was a very important thing that they, they were doing, they, they obviously felt it was the right thing to do.

Jenny: Yeah.

Graham: . . . they, they did it.

Tagged under: liverpool and manchester railway, liverpool, slavery, john moss, joseph sandars, industrial revolution

Categorised under: The Station & Railway Pioneers

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