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An In Person & Online Presentation by David Boursnell

William Bragge’s life illustrates the mix of religious beliefs, intellectual curiosity, entrepreneurship, manufacturing development and civic responsibility that were a feature of the Industrial Revolution.

Born in 1823, the son of a Birmingham jeweller, Bragge did an engineering apprenticeship in Birmingham which led to a career as both a civil and a locomotive engineer. In 1852 he went to South America, where he built railways and gas works in both Brazil and Argentina.

He returned to England in 1858 a wealthy man and was able to buy a partnership with John Brown and Co in Sheffield. After helping with the company’s expansion into Bessemer steel and armour plates he travelled widely, negotiating contracts with governments in Russia and elsewhere. He used his travels to build up large collections including tobacco materials, illuminated manuscripts, ethnographic objects, geology and precious stones – many of the items are now in the collections of major museums around the world.

In the 1870s, after his year as Master Cutler, Bragge devoted himself more to civic activities and the promotion of Free Libraries and technical education in Sheffield. He was the prime mover in the establishment of the Weston Park Museum in the City.

Bragge’s wife Martha died in 1877, after what appears to have been a protracted illness, and he then moved back to his native Birmingham, where he was involved with the establishment of the English Watch Co. as well as involving himself in civic activities until his death in 1884.

About the Venue

An in-person and webcast (zoom) meeting.

As previously the meeting will start at 6:30 pm and tea and coffee will be available from 6:00 pm and we look forward to welcoming you to what we hope will be an interesting series of talks and discussions.

For those of you who are uncertain about attending in-person meetings at present, we are also pleased to announce that all this year’s programme of talks will also be available as a live webcast.

Kelham Island Museum has advised that although no social distancing restrictions will be in place for the meeting, we will need to keep a detailed register of attendees.  To assist with this and to gauge demand for the in-person talk it would be very helpful if you could let us know if you wish to join us using the Eventbrite link below.  Similarly, if you would like to join us online please book using the Eventbrite link below.  We are very happy if you wish to “hedge your bets” and book for both the in-person and online talks at this stage and make a final decision nearer the time.

A group of members and guests will be meeting for a pre-talk meal and if you wish to join us please let me know so that I can advise them of the probable numbers.

All Newcomen evening meetings are free and open to all and if you are aware of any non-members who may be interested in this talk please feel free to forward this email to them.

Please Note:-  The parking arrangements at the Museum have changed and the car park between the Museum and the river is now closed and is being used by the Museum Cafe and Bar as an outdoor seating area.  Details of the new parking arrangements can be found at www.simt.co.uk/kelham-island-museum/plan-your-visit

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