Mr John Lancaster MP, Coalmaster and Ironworks Owner 1815-1884.
Mr John Lancaster was born on the 19th September 1815 at Radcliffe, near Bury in Lancashire.
The Patricroft Colliery.
In 1841 Mr Lancaster became the manager of the Patricroft Colliery.
Miss Euphemia Gibson.
In 1841 Mr John Lancaster married Miss Euphemia Gibson of Johnston, Glasgow, Scotland.
In 1847 he became the mineral agent for Lord Mostyn at Mostyn Colliery.
Earl Granville’s Ironworks.
During the first part of the 1850’s Mr Lancaster was the manager of Earl Granville’s Ironworks and Collieries at Shelton, Staffordshire.
Shire Oak Colliery.
In 1855 Mr Lancaster managed the Shire Oak Colliery in Worksop, Nottingham.
Kirkless Hall Ironworks.
In 1860 Mr Lancaster built five blast furnaces at Kirkless Hall Ironworks, Lancashire.
Geological Society and Member of the Institute of Mechanical Engineers.
In 1863 Mr Lancaster became a fellow of the Geological Society, a Member of the Institute of Mechanical Engineers.
In July 1864 Mr Lancaster contested Wigan as prospective M.P.
The Wigan Coal and Iron Company.
In 1870 he became chairman of the Wigan Coal and Iron Company.
Member of Parliament.
Between 1868 and 1874 was M.P. for Wigan.
West Cumberland Iron and Steel Works.
Between 1870 and 1884 was the chairman of the West Cumberland Iron and Steel Works.
In late 1860 Mr Lancaster bought Bilston Grange, a Victorian mansion in 175 acres of land at Dunchurch, Rugby, Warwickshire.
Apart from the industrial activities John Lancaster owned his own yacht called the “Deerhound” a three-masted sail and steam vessel, 190 tons with a 70 horse power engine, captained by Mr Evan Parry Jones. The Deerhound yacht was built in 1858 at the John Laird shipyard at Birkenhead for the Duke of Leeds and soon after purchased by Mr John Lancaster. Mr Lancaster and his family used to sail around the Mediterranean Sea for leisure.
The C.S.S. Alabama and the U.S.S. Kearsage Incident 1864.
During one of these leisurely trips in 1864 he stopped of at Cherbourg, France to attend the inauguration of a new casino, the Casino Bains de Mer, he got caught up in the sea battle between the C.S.S. Alabama captained by Captain Raphael Semmes and the U.S.S. Kearsage under the control of Captain John Ancrum Winslow just off the coast of Cherbourg.
During the American Civil War the Confederate Ship Alabama had been at sea on raiding missions during which time had sixty-five interceptions and claimed over $6,000,000, ($123,000,000) in today’s money and had to dock at Cherbourg for repairs and rest. The Union Ship Kearsage had been sent to find and destroy her and soon located her
On 19th June 19th 1864 they met just off the coast of France. Capt Winslow of the Union Ship wanted to blockade the Confederate Ship in the port, though Captain Semmes refused to be held in a stalemate and sailed out to confront the Kearsage, a sea battle in the latter years of the American Civil War followed.
The U.S.S. Kearsage defeated and sank the C.S.S Alabama after a fierce battle and John Lancaster in the Deerhound who witnessed the battle first hand sailed to the rescue of Captain Semmes and the other survivors of the Alabama where they gratefully accepted his help rather than be taken prisoners by the U.S.S. Kearsage, after safely all on board Mr John Lancaster took them to Southampton, England.
At Southampton, Captain Semmes upon leaving the Deerhound presented John Lancaster’s son with one of his officers swords and a pistol in remembrance of the occurrence and the kind treatment he and his men had received on board the yacht.
The Lancaster Family and Crew.
The Lancaster family and crew of the Deerhound June 19th 1864. Mr John Lancaster; Mrs John Lancaster; Miss Catherine Lancaster (daughter); Master John Lancaster Jr (son); Master Robert Lancaster (son); Master G. G. Lancaster (son); Miss Wilson (niece) and Miss Brown (Maid):
Captain Mr Evan P. Jones; Robert Hughes, (Mate); Harry Adams (A.B.S.); Mr J Page (A.B.S.); Mr John Roe (A.B.S.); Mr Robert Broderick (A.B.S.); Mr William Roberts (Steward); Mr Robert Durham (Cook); Mr William Bell (Engineer); Mr William Jones (Fireman) and Mr Robert Ferris A.B.S. (Marshall Fireman):
Jefferson Davis – President of the Confederate States of America.
In March 1865, apart from the gifts given to Mr Lancaster by Captain Semmes Mr John Lancaster also received a letter of thanks from Mr Jefferson Davis (President of the Confederate States of America) with a resolution vote of thanks from the C.S.A. Congress.
After the Alabama rescue the Deerhound Yacht was sold to Sir George Stuckley and on the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869 was the first British yacht to sail through the canal. She was sold to a company in Zambia and she eventually foundered of the coast of Zambia, Africa in a storm.
The Blaina Collieries and Works.
In March 1878 the John Lancaster Co took over the Blaina Collieries and Works.
The Red Rose Yacht.
In March 1880 Mr John Lancaster paid a visit to Newport, South Wales. He arrived at the Alexandra Dock on his yacht “The Red Rose”. He had been electioneering as Liberal candidate for the Wigan area and had stopped off to see an old friend Mr E. H. Carbutt, the Liberal candidate for the Monmouthshire Boroughs and to take on bunker coal for a cruise to the Mediterranean.
Mr Lancasters yacht “The Red Rose” was one of the finest yachts belonging to the Royal Yacht Squadron, the members of which club were alone allowed to fly the St George’s Ensign. She was built in 1873 especially for Mr Lancaster and was 500 tons B.M. The yacht could steam at 16-17 knots per hour. The grand saloon was fitted with with wall panels of polished walnut and maple, the ceiling was painted silver grey with gold beadings and a lobby furnished with polished pine. The was a ladies saloon and also a grand smoke-room built in such a position that it had commanding views from all points of the compass.
The Later Years.
On the 21st April 1884, Mr John Lancaster sadly passed away at his home at 58 Fitzjohns Avenue, Hampstead, London just weeks after coming home from holiday in the Mediterranean. The Lancaster Company lived on and flourished under the directorship of family members.
In 1888 the Messrs J. Lancaster & Co with Messrs Spier took over the lease of the Cwmtillery and Roseheyworth Collieries.
In 1891 the company under the directorship of Mr John Lancaster junior established the Arael Griffin, Six Bells Colliery and later, streets – both Lancaster Street’s, Six Bells and Blaina were named in his honour.
The following is a link to the construction of Lancaster Street Six Bells, Abertillery.
Link to – Lancaster Street.