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British Industrial History

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Edward Newcombe

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Edward Newcombe (1843-1886)

1886 Obituary [1]

EDWARD NEWCOMBE was the second son of Mr. W. L. Newcombe, Traffic Manager of the Midland Railway, and was born at York on the 1st of September, 1843.

He was educated at Shrewsbury Grammar School; and at the age of sixteen he entered the locomotive department of the Midland Railway, under the late Mr. Matthew Kirtley.

Five years later he became a pupil of the late Mr. John Crossley, M.Inst.C.E., Chief Engineer of the Midland Railway Company, and was afterwards appointed an assistant engineer on the construction of the Chesterfield and Sheffield Railway.

In 1870 Mr. Newcombe became an assistant resident engineer on the Settle and Carlisle line, and in the following year Resident Engineer.

In 1873 he left England for Japan, on his appointment by the Japanese Imperial Government, under Mr. R. Vicars Boyle, C.S.I., M. Inst. CE. Here he was engaged in locating and setting out a line of railway through a close and difficult country, being chiefly occupied on the Kioto, Surunga and Nagasendo and Owari lines.

On the completion of this work Mr. Newcombe started for England; but on arriving at Hong Kong he was induced by the Surveyor-General to superintend the construction of harbour works then in progress. However, a change of Colonial Government in 1877 put a temporary stop to the work, and Mr. Newcombe returned home at the end of that year, and re-entered the service of the Midland Railway Company as Resident Engineer on the South Wales lines.

Mr. Newcombe was distinguished for his extreme gentleness of character and winning manner, and gained the esteem and regard of all who came in contact with him. He was universally beloved by his men, to whom it was said he never used a harsh word. His early death and long sufferings may be attributed to his devotion to his duties. He first contracted a severe form of rheumatic arthritis by long exposure to the weather during the heavy snow-storms of the winter of 1881. This gradually increased in severity until he became completely crippled, notwithstanding which he fought against the disease, whilst still performing his duties to the utmost.

Mr. Newcombe died at Bournemouth on the 17th of January, 1886. He was elected a Member of the Institution in February, 1878.

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