Sunday, 25 May 2014

John Wesley Hackworth's Return Passport 1836

 John Wesley Hackworth's passport for returning to the UK from Russia c Dec 1836 after delivering the first locomotive built for Russia by his father Timothy Hackworth. The scans of the passport are courtesy of  Jane Hackworth Young (Co-creator of the Timothy Hackworth Museum) and Alison Kay of the National Railway Museum in York. Thank you.

John Wesley Hackworth’s Passport

On the 12th December 1836, John was granted a Russian passport for the homeward journey, by the Tsar himself. The name on the passport read John William Hackworth, because, as George Turner Smith remarks “his name was considered unsuitable for a visitor to Mother Russia.” Timothy Hackworth was a Methodist and named his son after, John Wesley but for the passport they changed Wesley to William so as not offend the Russian Orthodox church. The passport was kept by John Wesley Hackworth’s descendants until 2005 when Joan Hackworth Weir donated it to the Hackworth Archives at NRM, York.

The passport reads -                                                                                                         

By Edict of his Majesty, the Sovereign Emperor. Nikolai Pavlovitch, Autocrat of all the Russias. To each and every person who it may concern, it is hereby announced that the presenter of this document, a citizen of Great Britain, John William Hackworth, mechanical engineer, is leaving this country via Lierandia and Kurlendia. In witness whereof and for freedom of passage he is given this passport, which remains valid for three weeks, to pass the bearer through the frontier. This passport is allocated by The St. Petersburg District Governor General with the affixed seal of His Imperial Majesty at St. Petersburg 12th day of December in the year 1836. No 3179 1560, Distinctive characteristics – Age 16, height medium, hair light brown, face oval, forehead average, eyebrows bushy, eyes hazel, mouth average, chin rounded.”  


  1. Thank you very much for the interesting documents.
    From Russia, St. Petersburg, Pushkin (formerly Tsarskoye Selo).

  2. Glad you liked them Demitri. The passport had been in the Hackworth family archives for a long time and resides at the national Railway Museum in York. I've yet to finish the post on the journey that John Wesley Hackworth made to Tsarskoye Selo, which is interesting and somewhere, there is Hackworth's diary from the visit. We have some extracts at least, but it's quite an interesting story.

    1. I am looking forward to your posts about the first Russian railway - locomotive Hackworth was first tested on the Tsarskoye Selo railway - November 3, 1836

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. Ok, I'll write a comment on here to alert when it's done. I am awaiting some more details a the moment. your feedback would be good, especially with your knowledge of Tsarskoye Selo. Thanks for getting in contact.