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British Industrial History

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F. A. Willcox

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F. A. Willcox (c1871-1954), director of J. and E. Hall

1954 Obituary [1]

WE have learned with regret of the death of Mr. F. A. Willcox, a director of J. and E. Hall, Ltd., Dartford, which occurred on May 7th at the Middlesex Hospital, London, at the age of eighty-three.

Mr. Willcox was born in Lewisham and studied at Armstrong College, Newcastle upon Tyne, where he had a brilliant academic career. He was later awarded the degree of Doctor of Science by Durham University.

After leaving the university, Mr. Willcox was for a period a science master at Burton-on-Trent Grammar School, and then entered industry as an assistant engineer and chemist to the Smokeless Powder Company.

He subsequently became manager of the military powder department of the American E.C. and Shultze Company.

On returning to this country, Mr. Willcox joined his brothers in the firm of Willcox Brothers, of Sunderland, who were, and still are, agents of J. and E. Hall, Ltd. Here Mr. Willcox had a great deal to do with the early development of refrigeration on trawlers. He joined J. and E. Hall, Ltd., in 1909, and two years later became technical director. Later he became director in charge of the financial side of the organisation.

When the company's benefit trust was inaugurated by the late Mr. Everard Hesketh in 1912, Mr. Willcox became its first chairman, and except for a few short intervals he retained that position up to the time of rus death. It is a trust administered by a committee of employees for the benefit of those who encounter hardship through sickness or for other reasons.

Mr. Willcox had been a member of the Institute of Refrigeration since 1910 and in 1935 became its president, his chief interest throughout being in the education of the young refrigerating engineer. He was also a member of the Institution of Chemical Engineers and for some years served on its council.

Another direction in which Mr. Willcox's expert services were called upon was in connection with the Food Investigation Board, set up by the D.S.I.R. during the first world war. Mr. Willcox became a member of the Board's engineering committee, a position which he held for more than twenty-five years.

Mr. Willcox took a keen interest in many local affairs in and around Dartford. He was a member of the governing board of Dartford Technical College and served as its chairman for several years.

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