The Stories

  1. Introduction

These are and will remain works in progress, subject to revision as, hopefully, further information comes to light through the forum of this website, which has been created at the instigation of John Darby. John is one of Richard's great great grandsons and the husband of the author of the stories comprised in the biography "Prosser The Engineer: A Forgotten Birmingham Genius - The Discovery of his Life of Invention and Contention".

The full series of the five stories has now been completed and are published for free on the links in the Stories Menu and also on the synopses pages below as downloadable PDFs. It is hoped that they will be of interest to the general reader as well as those interested in the history of Birmingham, industrial history and those with a special interest in any of Prosser's inventions and the products manufactured under his patents.

The research undertaken is also part of the stories and is an example of how an initial interest in family genealogy can lead to the discovery of an unknown ancestor, whose compelling life story has lain buried, awaiting retrieval, in the UK's National Archives and other contemporary records; in particular the historic newspapers that are now available to view in the British Newspaper Archive published online by the British Library.

Visitors to our website can contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. We will be very grateful to receive feedback, in particular any relevant new information and corrections of errors. We will report any important news and visitors' contributions will be acknowledged.

The website also includes a link on its Menu to a PDF of a transcript of the eleven year old Richard Bissell Prosser's journal "A Tour to the North of England" written in 1849. It is an entertaining and informative account of a very early school trip led by the scientist John Collis Nesbit, the headmaster of a London boarding school and the father of the famous children's author Edith Nesbit. Travelling by rail, "omnibus" and carriage over a period of three weeks the school boys were taken to the Peak District (geology, mines and stately homes); Manchester (various manufactories and a cricket match); Liverpool (St George's Hall and the docks); Birkenhead (Paxton's gardens); Birmingham (the 1849 Exhibition, more manufactories and an outing to Dudley) before returning to London.


Synopses of the current books:

Rescuing Richard: The Brothers' Feud & The "Chunk" Conundrum

The Dust-Pressed Process: The Button Wars and The Tile Revolution

Tubes: A Wealth of Trouble

The Emancipation of Inventors 

Finally: Gunnery, Death, Aftermath 

Image: Richard Prosser c1835         

Darby Collection