Charles Gascoigne, Scottish director of ironworks in Russia

(From Russkii Biograficheskii Slovar’ [Russian Biographical Dictionary], c. 1910.)

Gaskoin, Karl Karlovich. [Charles Gascoigne].  Actual State Councilor, head of the Olonets Mining Works, councilor in the Olonets Government Finance Office. Scottish by birth, he was a talented mechanic and in his native country he was director of the Carron foundry works. He came to Russia in 1786 to build a cannon foundry, being recommended by his fellow countryman Admiral Greig [then in Russian service – M.C.], who concluded a contract with him. Gascoigne had to overcome many obstacles on the part of the Carron company, since the law prohibited the export from England of machinery and hindered craftsmen from leaving.
     On 26 May, 1786, Gascoigne arrived in Kronstadt with master craftsmen and machinery. He was tasked by Prince Potemkin to survey for minerals and ores in the New Russia territory [sourthern Russia – M.C.] and then in the northern provinces. On the basis of a Senate ukase of 2 September, 1786, Gascoigne rebuilt the Petrozavodsk Aleksandrovsk Cannon Works and Konchezersk Iron Smelting Works, which had been put under his management, in accordance with the Carron system. An Imperial ukase of 26 May, 1789, renewed Gascoigne’s contract for four years with the previous salary of 2500 pounds sterling. On 11 July, 1793, a new contract was concluded with him for an indefinite period, "as long as his continued service shall be useful". Along with this, he was given charge of the Kronstadt Foundry, opened in 1790. On 21 April, 1798, an management office was established for the Olonets and Kronstadt foundries under the chairmanship of Gascoigne, as director of the two works. In 1797, he founded the Lugansk Foundry following Prince Zubov’s plan. After establishing the foundry, Gascoigne was engaged in mineral surveys and opening rich veins of coal. He trained many experienced officials for the mining industry and acquainted Russians with the best methods of processing coal. He also built the admiralty’s Izhorsk works. In 1804, on direction from Admiral Chichagov, he re-established the Kolpino works, which had been founded by Peter the Great.
     Gascoigne’s useful work was rewarded under Catherine the Great with the rank of Collegiate Councilor, the order of St. Vladimir 3rd class, and a land grant. In the succeeding reign, he became first a State Councilor and then an Actual State Councilor (8 October, 1798), and received the order of St. Anne 2nd and 1st class. Additionally, Paul I gave him more than 200 serfs.
    Gascoigne died in 1807. He was married to the daughter of Doctor Gyutri. According to Graf Th. G. Golovkin, he enjoyed great influence during Prince P. V. Lopukhin’s time as general-procurator. Of Gascoigne’s daughters, Anna married twice—to Graf Haddinton and Dalrymple—while Mariya married A. M. Poltoratskii.

Sources: "Slovar’ Kazdaeva" (manuscript). Sbornik Imper. Russkago Istor. Obshchestva, t. 60. "Zapiski admiral P. V. Chichagova" (Rus. Star. 1888, t. II, 539). Graf Th. Golovkin, Dvor’ i tsarstvovanie Pavla I (izd. "Sfinks"), page 195. Arkhiv knyazya Vorontsova, t. XIII, page 107, t. XIX, pg. 109-111, 339-345, 375-377. Polnoe sobranie zakonov, Nos. 17832, 18318, 18491. Istoricheskii Vestnik, 1888, t. 32, page 647; 1909, t. 107, page 290. German, Opisanie Petrozavodskago i Konchezerskago zavodov.


Translated by Mark Conrad, 1999.