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10th August 1857 - Coniston Railway Act

Following several false starts dating back to 1846, it was not until 1857 that the nominally independent Coniston Railway Company was authorised to build a standard gauge line from Broughton to Coniston.

The Coniston Railway Act received Royal Assent on 10th August 1857, but the independence was no more than a manoeuvre to raise risk capital from the copper mine owners in the area at a low rate of interest. Of the £45,000 capital, £20,000 was to be subscribed by Lady le Fleming, Lord of the Manor of Coniston, and John Barratt, James Humbleton and Joseph Mason, lessees of the mines, at a fixed initial dividend of 2%.

On 27th August 1857, shortly after the passing of the Act, a shareholders’ meeting was held at the Waterhead Inn, Coniston. Those present, according to the Minute Book, were Lord Burlington, Messrs’ Nicholl and Eddy (all Furness Railway Directors), James Ramsden (the FR Secretary and Manager) and J R McClean (the FR Consulting Engineer). The meeting closed, to re-open as a Directors’ Meeting, at which Ramsden was appointed Secretary and the civil engineering partnership of McClean & Stileman as Engineers.

Thereafter the Coniston Railway meetings were in fact no more than appendices to the meetings of the Furness Railway Directors and Shareholders.

PGW 08/16 - (With help from “The Coniston Railway” published by the CRA)