about sixteen miles long between Stratford-on-Avon and Moreton-in-the-Marsh, the first line laid with Birkenshaw's patent wrought-iron rails. On 2 June 1829 he completed and opened the Shutt End colliery railway from Kingswinford to the Staffordshire and Worcestershire canal, working it with a locomotive engine built under his own superintendence. This engine had three flues in the boiler, and in economy, speed, and accuracy of workmanship excelled any engine previously made.
When the directors of the Liverpool and Manchester railway offered a premium of 500l. for the best locomotive engine, Rastrick was appointed one of the judges. On 6 Oct. 1829 he and his colleagues decided in favour of George Stephenson's Rocket. In 1830, with Stephenson, he surveyed the line from Birmingham to join the Liverpool and Manchester railway, afterwards called the Grand Junction, and marked out a line from Manchester to Crewe. In 1835 the Manchester and Cheshire junction railway was brought forward, with Rastrick as the engineer. This line was opposed by a competing project called the South Union railway. After two years of parliamentary inquiry, the act was obtained for the original line. With Sir John Rennie [q. v.], in 1837, he carried the direct Brighton line against several competing projects. Towards the close of that year the active superintendence of the line, including a branch to Shoreham, was confided to him, and the heavy works, comprising the Merstham, Balcombe, and Clayton tunnels, and the Ouse viaduct of thirty-seven arches at an elevation of one hundred feet, were completed by the autumn of 1840. He afterwards constructed extensions which now form the series of lines known as the London, Brighton, and South Coast railway.
Of very resolute character, Rastrick always displayed as a witness the greatest shrewdness as well as coolness. He was a member of the Institution of Civil Engineers from 1827, and a fellow of the Royal Society from 1837. With James Walker he published a ‘Report on the Comparative Merits of Locomotive and Fixed Engines as a moving Power,’ 1829.
He retired from active work in 1847, and died at his residence, Sayes Court, near Chertsey, Surrey, on 1 Nov. 1856; he was buried in the new cemetery at Brighton. A son Henry died at Woking on 1 Nov. 1893.
[Minutes of Proceedings of Institution of Civil Engineers, 1857, xvi. 128–33.]
RATCLIFFE, HENRY (1808–1877), vital statistician, born at Tyldesley, Lancashire, on 4 Nov. 1808, joined the Chowbent division of the Manchester Unity of Oddfellows in 1833, became provincial grandmaster in 1836, then provincial secretary of his district, and finally, in 1848, secretary of the whole order. Ratcliffe soon displayed great financial ability, and with conspicuous success devoted himself to vital statistics, at the time a comparatively new study. In 1850 he brought out his ‘Observations of the Rate of Mortality and Sickness existing among Friendly Societies,’ which at once became a standard authority. The monetary tables which were appended were thenceforth known as the ‘Ratcliffe Tables,’ and the data dealing with thirty-one trades proved of permanent value. In 1852 Ratcliffe issued a supplement, giving further financial details, and recommending a quinquennial valuation of the assets and liabilities of all friendly societies—a suggestion which was adopted by government in 1870. In 1862 Ratcliffe republished his actuarial tables, basing them on far wider calculations. In 1871 he undertook a special valuation of his society, which his labours had placed on a sound actuarial basis. He was nominated a public valuer under the Friendly Societies Act of 1870. Ratcliffe, who was a congregationalist, died at the society's offices in Manchester on 25 May 1877, and was buried at Brooklands cemetery, near Sale, where the Manchester Unity erected a monument to his memory.
[Frome-Wilkinson's Mutual Thrift, 1891; information from the Rev. J. Frome-Wilkinson.]
RATCLIFFE, JOHN, alias Sicklemore (d. 1610), president of Virginia. [See Sicklemore.]
RATCLIFFE, JOHN (d. 1776), book-collector, kept a chandler's shop in the borough of Southwark, where he acquired a competency. Large quantities of books were brought him to wrap the articles of his trade in, and, after yielding to the temptation of reading them, he became an ardent collector. He took to spending whole days in the warehouses of the booksellers, and every Thursday morning the chief print and book collectors, including Askew, Croft, Topham Beauclerk, and James West, came to his house, when, after providing them with coffee and chocolate, he produced his latest purchases. His books were kept at his house in East Lane, Rotherhithe. He died in 1776, after spending thirty years in book-collecting.
His library was sold by Christie in Pall Mall, London, the sale beginning on