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Alfred Weeks Szlumper

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Alfred Weeks Szlumper (1858-1934), Railway engineer.

His brother was James Weeks Szlumper and their father was Albert Szlumper of Liverpool.

1922 He was President of the Permanent Way Institution and chief engineer of the London and South Western Railway.[1]

1934 Obituary [2]

BY the death of Mr. Alfred Weeks Szlumper, O.B.E., M.Inst.C.E., formerly the chief engineer of the Southern Railway Company, which took place on Sunday, November 11th, at his home, Sheen Common-drive, Richmond, the civil and railway engineering world has lost an engineer of outstanding personality and ability. Although he retired from active work in June, 1927, Mr. Szlumper continued to the end to serve the Southern Railway Company in a consultative capacity, and his keen knowledge of such subjects as the Charing Cross Bridge scheme was greatly valued. At the time of his death he was about seventy-six years of age.

Mr. Szlumper came of a well-known family of engineers, and was born in Milford, Pembrokeshire, on May 24th, 1858.

He received his schooling at Aberystwyth Grammar School, and completed his education at the University of Wales, after which he served his pupilage with his brother, the late Sir James Weeks Szlumper, an engineer of eminence. During his pupilship he carried out railway work in Wales, and in 1880 was appointed an engineering assistant on the South Eastern and Chatham Railway. That position he held for close upon two years, after which he was appointed to a similar post on the Great Indian Peninsula Railway, which he held for about two years, during which time he was a resident engineer on a section of the company's work then being carried out.

When he returned to England in 1884, he immediately took up a position with the London and South-Western Railway Company as an engineering assistant, and for twelve years he was in charge, as resident engineer, of many important widening schemes in both the London and the Woking and Basingstoke areas. Those works included the Nine Elms and Waterloo widening from four to six lines, except at the reconstructed Vauxhall Station, where the roads become seven. That particular work was described in a paper presented by Mr. Szlumper to the Institution of Civil Engineers in the 1891-92 session.

In 1897 he was appointed divisional engineer of the London division of the L. and S.W.R., and in 1914 he succeeded Mr. J. W. Jacomb-Hood as chief engineer of the company. That position he continued to hold with distinction when the Southern Railway was formed in 1924 until his retirement in 1927. His work included the rebuilding of bridges at Barnes, Richmond, and Kingston, the construction of the Bentley and Bordon railway, the flyover at the Hampton Court junction, the gravitational shunting yard at Feltham, and much civil engineering work connected with the first electrification scheme which was, during 1913 and 1916, carried out by the London and South-Western Railway Company.

The completion of the reconstruction and enlargement of Waterloo Station was also a work of which special mention should be made.

During the war period Mr. Szlumper rendered valuable services to both the War Office and the Admiralty, and in 1920 he was made C.B.E. He was a member of the Engineer and Railway staff Corps, and was Lieut.-Colonel in the Corps at the time of his retirement in 1927.

Throughout his long career Mr. Szlumper was a valued member of the Institution of Civil Engineers. and he contributed to the Institution many useful papers. To him was awarded the Miller Prize, the Trevithick and Telford Premiums, and the Telford Medal. Throughout his life he was fond of foreign travel, and this gave him a breadth of vision which was marked both in his relations with his staff and friends. While be had a capacity for quick decision and unerring judgment, he always had a cheery word for everyone, whether high or low, and he lived a life of simplicity and happiness. His funeral was held on Wednesday last at Richmond, and with characteristic thoughtfulness for those of his profession, remembrance of the Institution of Civil Engineers' Benevolent Fund, was requested in place of flowers.

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