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British Industrial History

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Charles Farquhar Findlay

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Charles Farquhar Findlay (1853-1903)

1903 Obituary [1]

CHARLES FAEQUHAR FINDLAY, third son of the late Rev. James Findlay, was born on the 18th June, 1853, at Lerwick.

He graduated at Cambridge in 1876 as tenth Wrangler in the Mathematical Tripos, was made a Fellow of his College, Trinity Hall, and appointed a Mathematical Tutor. Becoming desirous, however, of a more active profession than a college life promised, he articled himself in 1877 to the late G. F. Lyster, Engineer to the Mersey Docks and Harbour Board, with a view of entering the engineering profession, for which he had a natural aptitude, in addition to his special mathematical attainments.

In March, 1880, he was appointed an Assistant on Mr. Lyster’s Staff, when he introduced the lattice-girder pattern of swing-bridge at the new docks then being made at the south end of Liverpool ; and in November of the following year he resigned that post, with the idea of completing his education by a tour round the world.

He spent some time in engineering work in both North and South America, was engaged in tramway construction in Chicago, invented some improvements in cable tramways, and was employed on bridge-building in Peru.

In 1884 Mr. Findlay joined the staff of Sir Alexander Rendel as a Chief Inspector of bridge-work, the Sukkur Bridge being the most important of the works which came under his supervision at this period.

After occupying that post for some years he set up in practice for himself. In 1895 he was offered the appointment of District Engineer by the Board of the East Indian Railway Company, and thereafter became Deputy Chief Engineer and, eventually, Chief Engineer in March, 1903.

His untimely death from cholera on the 15th May, 1903, at Calcutta, deprived the Company of a most able engineer. Mr. Findlay left a large circle of friends, both in and out of the profession, by whom his memory will always be cherished, for none who knew him well could fail to be struck with his absolute straightforwardness and his singular modesty.

Mr. Findlay was elected an Associate Member of the Institution on the 1st February, 1881, and was transferred to the class of Members on the 12th March, 1899. In 1900, he contributed to the Proceedings a Paper entitled 'Note on the Floor System of Girder Bridges,' which was discussed in conjunction with Mr. W. B. Farr’s Paper 'Moving Loads on Railway Underbridges.'

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