Major railway builder. Born Bruerton, Cheshire on 7 November 1805; died St Leonards on Sea on 8 December 1870 (John Marshall). His first railway building of national importance came in 1835 on the Grand Junction Railway when he was awarded the Penkridge contract, a viaduct and its approaches between Stafford and Wolver- hampton, which was the second most valuable line contract on the entire project. The following years brought contributions to the Chester & Crewe, Chester & Birkenhead, Sheffield, Ashton-under-Lyne & Manchester, Glasgow to Paisley and London & Southampton lines, The value of this early work was in excess of £500,000, In view of this achievement and a growing confidence amongst the railway investing public in Brassey's ability to complete his assignments, it is not surprising that in 1840 he was asked to partner William Mackenzie, a contractor of more lengthy civil engineering experience, in the construction of the Paris & Rouen Railway for which Joseph Locke had been appointed Chief Engineer. This was the first major railway built by British contractors overseas.
His list of works is extremely impressive and includes work on the Grand Trunk Railway in Canada and a railway to assist the movement of troops in the Crimean War. HE was noted for his integrity and tfor the care for his workers.
See for instance: Anthony Burton: The railway builders. 1992 and David Gilks' feature on Locke in Backtrack, 2005, 19, 496. Neil Parkhouse in a review of an "interesting aside for most historians", namely Tom Stazcey's Thomas Brassey (Archive, 2005, (48), 52) notes that Charles Walker's Thomas Brassey, railway builder remains the standard work. was published in 1888 David Brooke entries in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. and in Chrimes pp. 119-22 with portrait. The life and labours of Thomas Brassey.by Sir Arthur Helps was published in 1888 and a reprint in gets criticiced in J. Rly Canal Hist. Soc., 2021. See also P.J.G. Ransom's The Mont Cenis Fell Railway. 1999 (Brassey was the largest shareholder). Brassey ordered the destruction of most of his records fearing that improper use might be made of them. Works examined herein include the Mantes & Cherbourg Railway, the Lemberg & Czernowitz Railway, the Maremma and Meridionali Lines in Southern Italy, and the Suez Canal (David Brooke, Thomas Brassey and the papers of Charles Jones. J. Rly Canal Hist. Soc., 2010, (208) 108-12. His grave is at Catsfield parish church in Sussex see Humm J. Rly Canal Hist. Soc.,, 2015, 38, 252..
His descendents, the Brassey family were an influential family in Hastings in the second half of the 19th century and early 20th centuries. They were very wealthy and lived in great style at their country houses, Beauport Park and Normanhurst Court, but they also had a strong sense of public duty and were closely involved with local politics and charitable causes. They donated a large portion of their impressive collection of world art objects, as well as the magnificent Durbar Hall, in 1919 to the Hastings Museum which also has an archive of press cuttings, political speeches and photographs.