William Westcott Rundell

Cornwall ca.1850. Engraved by William Westcott Rundell. © Dominic Winter Auctions
Cornwall ca.1850. Engraved by William Westcott Rundell. © Dominic Winter Auctions

RUNDELL, William Westcott (1816-1897) — Devonport & Falmouth

Engraver, printer, surveyor and inventor. Produced Cornwall ca.1850; surveyed Plymouth, Devonport & Stonehouse, with the recent improvements ca.1850; A true mapp and description of the towne of Plymouth, an undated facsimile of the Wenceslas Hollar (see BME 2011) map 1643; charts (dygograms) showing the horizontal variation in the magnetic force acting on the iron-built ships for HMS Polyphemus, HMS Curlew and HMS Dreadnought (NMM), etc. Also produced papers on magnets, the rotation of the earth, and Cornish mines for the Polytechnic, as well as a paper ‘On the load-draught of steamers’ for ‘Transactions of the Institution of Naval Architects’ 1873, and similar papers, e.g. ‘Winds at Liverpool’ 1874, ‘On the daily inequality of the barometer’ 1879, etc., and a work on family history.

Baptised 7 Apr 1816 at Stoke Damerel, Devon, the son of Nicholas Rundell (1792-1874), a shipwright, and his wife Sarah Westcott, née Matthews (1792-1864), who had married the previous year. He married Susan Rogers Cooper (1818?-1887), with whom he had several children, at Stoke Damerel in 1842. Although still working as an engraver and printer, he was also Secretary to the Royal Cornwell Polytechnic at Falmouth 1845-1855, for which he organised exhibitions and gave lectures on advances in science. In 1850 he was tasked by the official Commissioners with co-ordinating the efforts and contributions of Devon and Cornwall to the Great Exhibition of 1851. In 1855 he was appointed to head the Liverpool Compass Committee, an official committee formed to investigate the errors induced in compass readings on iron-built ships. From this time onwards he lived in Liverpool and then subsequently at Litherland, Lancashire. By 1861 he was also Secretary to the Liverpool Association for the Protection of Commercial Interests as Regards Wrecks and Damaged Property. In 1871 he was working as Secretary both to the Liverpool Underwriters’ Association and the Salvage Association, assisted by two of his sons. In 1881 he was recorded as Secretary to the Underwriters’ Registry for Iron Vessels, a position he appears to have held since at least 1862. He died at Dulwich in London 10 Mar 1897 aged eighty and was buried at Anfield, Liverpool, 13 Mar 1897. An account of his funeral in the Liverpool Mercury 15 Mar 1897 listed a number of sea-captains and ship’s engineers, as well as friends, family and colleagues.

George Street, Devonport — 1840-1844
73 George Street, Devonport — 1844
Killegrew Street, Falmouth — 1851
Penlee Villa, Litherland Park (home) — 1868-1887
40 Tower Buildings East, Liverpool — 1855
13 Exchange Buildings, Liverpool — 1881
312 Lordship Lane, Dulwich (home) — 1897

Census 1841-1881. BBTI. BNA. Grace. LHD. Tooley.