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J Allen Ransome

J Allen RansomeBorn in 1806, James Allen Ransome was the eldest son of James and Hannah Ransome of Ipswich and the grandson of Robert Ransome, founder of the engineering company Ransome & Sons. After his education at Colchester, he was apprenticed to the firm, becoming a partner in 1829. The company then became known as JR & A Ransome. He was senior partner from 1864 to 1875.

The Ransomes were a Quaker family. Throughout his life J A Ransome attended the meetings of the Society of Friends and in his younger days seemed likely to become a gifted Minister in the Society. This Quaker background inspired all his dealings.

He was noted as a convivial, good-humoured man who enjoyed attending shows, meetings and discussions that promoted the advance of agriculture. He founded an early Farmers Club at Yoxford near Ipswich. This became the model of the London Farmer’s Club which he was mainly instrumental in establishing. He was also one of the first members of the RASE.

J A Ransome had a gift for persuasion which he used in 1850 to keep his workforce largely out of the great engineers’ strike. He promoted the interests of the workmen at Ransomes and was a strong supporter of the Mechanics’ Institutes. He was elected to the Ipswich Town Council and made Alderman in 1865.

During his later years he suffered from bad health. It is recorded that at his funeral in 1875 the workmen from the Orwell Works, with those from other establishments in the town, formed a dense black line of about three thousand men to escort his body to the cemetery, ‘in which, and on the route to it, fully ten thousand persons had assembled.’

The Implements of Agriculture, 2003 reprint

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