Sir Francis Ronalds and his Family


Portrait of Sir Francis Ronalds (c.1870). Courtesy of the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) Archives

Welcome to our website commemorating Sir Francis Ronalds (1788-1873) and his extended family. Sir Francis Ronalds was knighted in England for developing the first working electric telegraph in 1816. Twenty years later, his brother Alfred Ronalds published "a work of genius" called The Fly-Fisher's Entomology. Siblings and cousins also made important contributions to the community in business and social welfare.

Their forebears and descendants likewise made their mark in locations around the world. It is apparent from their stories that family members were often multi-talented and tackled a diverse range of challenges through their lives. Some of these activities continued to be pursued by successive generations, with horticulture, science and engineering, and art being key areas of long-term accomplishment. Various personal traits can also be traced through the centuries. Many in the family were highly self-motivated and strove for perfection in their endeavours. While some successfully linked this tenacity with entrepreneurship, others were modest and introverted, spurning any self-promotion or political gamesmanship.

The achievements of eight generations of the Ronalds family are outlined in these pages. A series of published articles collated in the Bibliography makes it possible to step through the generations and understand something of how they lived and their changing circumstances through the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries.

We hope you enjoy your visit. Please see the Contact page to make any comments.