William Congreve

(Important in The Counterfeit Guest)

William Congreve (d.1814) was the newly appointed commandant of the Woolwich arsenal in May 1797, having previously held the posts of superintendent of military machines and comptroller of the Woolwich laboratory.  Congreve is credited with various improvements to gunpowder production and gun carriage design.  He was an early advocate of government manufacture of powder, and urged William Pitt to purchase the Waltham Abbey mills in 1787.  Congreve’s son, also named William, invented the Congreve rocket, whose ‘red glare’ is mentioned in the American national anthem.