Robert Williams

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Robert Williams c1900
Robert Williams c1913

Robert Williams was born at Minffordd in a house on the Up side of Quarry Lane, opposite Lottie's in 1865. He was the son of Job Williams, lately Minffordd crossing Keeper.

He started work as an Apprentice Fitter about 1881 and is shown as such in the 1881 census living at Minffordd Crossing House (note this is possibly not the house now known as Lotties). He rose to become the last, resident, Loco Superintendent of the old FR Co, taking over not only the office from William Williams (1835) (no relation) in 1909, but also his residence at No. 3 Boston Lodge Cottages.

He married Annie in 1904 and they had a son, Robert Charles, in 1906

From September 1915, Williams oversaw the adaptation of parts of Boston Lodge to serve as a National Shell Factory and he was retained by the Ministry of Munitions to manage the factory. Hugh Hughes deputised for him in regards the company business

At the end of February 1919 he asked to be re-instated as Loco Superintendant, to which the board agreed that he would be re-instated, at a salary of £2 10/- (£2.50) per week, plus war bonus, of £5, from April 1st.

In early November 1922, he was instructed, by Colonel Stephens to visit and inspect the NWNGR stock then stabled at Dinas. In 1923, he was off on company business again, this time to Wake's Geneva yard at Darlington. Gowrie, from the NWNGR had been here unused since 1918. Although wanted by some FR people, its purchase was not sanctioned.

In 1924, a 'spy' by the name of Corfield for the Colonel took a trip on James Spooner and the resulting report brought a reprimand, blaming Williams for not using the available labour to its best advantage

During the General Strike of 1926, it was Williams and the apprentices who keep the trains running. Unfortunately, whilst there was a steady decline in business, there was also a decline in the condition of the loco stock. Williams was retired by Stephens in November 1927. Morris Jones who had come back into the company employ in July 1926 was put in charge of the Works in his place in January 1928.

For a character sketch of Robert Williams (or "Toby Jug" as he was nick named behind his back) see Dan Wilson's rendering of Reg Crick's telling of life as an apprentice and how while the cat was away the mice would play.[1]

Census Entry for 1881[edit]

An entry has been found for this person at Minffordd Crossing House
where the year of birth is recorded as: 1865 in Minffordd
The occupation given is: Apprentice Fitter


Census Entry for 1891[edit]

An entry has been found for this person at Minffordd Crossing House
where the year of birth is recorded as: 1865 in Minffordd


Census Entry for 1911[edit]

An entry has been found for this person at Minffordd Crossing House
where the year of birth is recorded as: 1865 in Minffordd
The occupation given is: Loco Superintendent
It is believed, married to Annie (1904)


Robert Williams is confirmed as the person in the photo known as Boyd26H. (click here to see) This photo is labelled "A Group taken in the Works Yard before the First War". It is believed to be around 1913. It is not all staff from the yard at that time. There was a list attached to the original which declares who the people are. This person is believed to be in the third row from the back and the twelth person from the left handside.

  1. ^ "Power Structure Re-Jug", Ffestiniog Railway Magazine, Issue 047, page(s): 001
  • Additionally Boyd, James I.C. (1975) [1959]. The Festiniog Railway 1800 - 1974; Vol. 1 - History and Route. Blandford: The Oakwood Press. pp. 173, 176–177, 179, 181, 192, 194, 199, 201, 209, 220–221, 245. ISBN 0-8536-1167-X. OCLC 2074549.
  • Additionally Boyd, James I.C. (1975) [1959]. The Festiniog Railway 1800 - 1974; Vol. 2 Locomotive and Rolling Stock and Quarry Feeders. Blandford: The Oakwood Press. pp. 367, 567, 569. ISBN 085361-168-8.

See also[edit]