Biography of James Cholmeley Russell (1841-1912), the barrister, financier, property developer and railway entrepreneur. He was a key shareholder of the North Wales Narrow Gauge Railways company from which the Welsh Highland Railway Company ultimately emerged.
Regularly updated and revised as more information comes to light.
Until now the only known
photographs of James Cholmeley Russell were those in the
Russell at Magdalen College
possession of the late Evelyn
Pangman (1926-2016), his grand daughter and these largely dated from the last ten years or
so of his life. However, we now have one of when Russell was a young
undergraduate, thanks to one Alfred Earle and Dr. Robin Darwall-Smith the
archivist of MagdaleneCollege, Oxford.
Dr. Darwall-Smith has recently been
making the College’s archives catalogue available on the Internet with the
express objective of helping researchers and generally making the College’s
archives more publicly accessible. This excellent policy resulted in the
Group’s chairman Nick Booker,
visiting the archive one Friday morning in October 2014 to look though the
Photograph Album of Alfred Earle that is in the archives. Mr Earle matriculated
from Magdalen in 1859 and took his BA in 1865 and his MA in 1866. He was thus a
contemporary of Russell who left HarrowSchool at Christmas 1859
going up to Magdalene and matriculating the following year, graduating in 1864.
The large bound album is a personal
photographic collection of local scenes and buildings including pubs (!) but
more particularly of many of Earle’s fellow students including photographic
studio portraits, group photographs taken around the College, the Oxford
University Volunteer Force on parade with their uniforms and rifles and at camp
in Wimbledon and views around Oxford
and locally. Interestingly there are several photographs devoted to the Prince
of Wales and his entourage, later King Edward VII, who was at Magdalen from
October 1859 to the summer of 1860; so Russell may have met the future King.
The photograph of Russell shown
here is believed to have taken around this time. Dr Darvill - Smith commented
that it was then the practice for
undergraduates to have a number of photographs taken of themselves, which would
then be passed round in exchange for one from therecipient, a sort of analogue Facebook!
What is remarkable about this album
is that is that it was assembled some twenty years before George Eastman of
Kodak fame developed roll film, in 1884, to replace the photographic plates and
toxic chemicals that the photographer had to carry around.
Nick Booker extends his thanks to
Dr Darwall- Smith and his Archives Assistant Mr Ben Taylor for their help and
co-operation. The photographs of Russell and the College are reproduced courtesy of the President
of Magdalen College.