Albert Regaby, 1st Viscount and 6th Baron Harwick (1864-1947), known as Lord Harwick, was the chairman of the North Western Railway from 1915 to 1934.
Albert Regaby was born in 1864 and was the eldest son of Lord Frederick Regaby, who was the 5th Baron. In 1870, Lord Frederick sold some land to the Cronk Abbey School, as they needed to expand. Albert succeeded to his barony and to the Cronk Abbey Estate after his father's death in 1886.
Lord Harwick's tastes were literary and he added judiciously to the historical side of the Abbey Library. He also played an important part in encouraging his cousin, the Rev. Nicholas Dreswick, in the preparation of his definitive History of the Island of Sodor, 4 Vols. (Chatter & Windows, Suddery 1899-1912). Work began in 1889 while Nicholas was having a period of convalescence at Cronk Abbey following a severe illness. The two explored the Abbey Library together and were disappointed to find little information about Sodor’s history. They determined to supply that want. Nicholas agreed to undertake the writing if Lord Harwick, who had useful friends all over the island, would be responsible for research.
During this period of research, Lord Harwick re-discovered various chronicles and documents related to Sudrian history such as the Ogmundsaga (found at Peel Godred), the chronicles of the Clerk of Wellsworth (found among the Cronk Abbey papers) and Dustan's Chronicle (found among the Kellson family papers). All of these are now held at the Island Records Office at Suddery. The completed work lays great emphasis on the importance of Sodor as an outpost in the direction of Ireland. Lord Harwick always maintained that his gift of a copy of that work to the then First Lord of the Admiralty, Winston Churchill, was the deciding factor leading to the formation of the North Western Railway Company in 1914.
He was Chairman of the NWR from 1915 to 1934, in which year his peerage was advanced to a Viscounty on his retirement. After the Grouping in 1923, Lord Harwick, believing in the Railway’s future, led the NWR Board in fighting off plans either for closure or absorption into the LMS system. In this he was ably backed by his new General Manager, Mr Topham Hatt, and to such good purpose that by 1925 the LMS had been brought to terms, and the NWR was able to maintain its identity and independence until 1948. Also in 1923, he gave land from the Abbey Estate to the railway so the Peel Godred Branch Line could be built, on condition that a private station was built for use by his family, tenants and the Cronk Abbey School.
Lord Harwick's son, and the present holder of the titles as of 1987, Henry Regaby M.C., D.S.O., was a Colonel for the Sodor Regiment during the Second World War. When Albert died in 1947, Henry inherited his viscountcy. Henry Regaby had married Barbara Jane Hatt in 1938, making him Sir Topham Hatt's son-in-law. In 1952, Viscount Harwick was serving as Governor of Sodor, and presented his father-in-law to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, prior to her visit the following year.
- 1987 - The Island of Sodor: Its People, History and Railways (mentioned)
- 1995 - The Thomas the Tank Engine Man (mentioned)