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Francis Hughes Webb

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Francis Hughes Webb (1824-1908)

1908 Obituary [1]

FRANCIS HUGHES WEBB, late Secretary of the Institution, died at his residence in Hampstead on May 17, 1908.

Mr. Webb was appointed Secretary of the Institution in 1878. He held that office for twenty years, until his retirement in 1898.

He was born in London in 1824, and educated at University College School and at the Ecole Normale, Brussels. Subsequently he spent two years in Germany with John Player, Engineer to the British Nassau Iron Company, and was afterwards appointed Clerk of the Audit Office of London, Brighton and South Coast Railway.

In 1844 he became resident Secretary and Librarian to the Royal Institute of British Architects, which post he resigned in 1850 in order to enter the service of the Electric Telegraph Company as assistant to Edwin Clark, then Engineer-in-Chief.

The following year Mr. Webb accepted the appointment of Private Secretary to the chairman of that company, John Lewis Ricardo, M.P., with whom he remained until the year of that gentleman's death in 1862. During that period he was brought much into intimate contact with many of the most eminent civil engineers and contractors of the time.

In 1865 he again entered the service of the London, Brighton, and South Coast Railway as Assistant Secretary, but resigned in 1867 to renew his association with Mr. Edwin Clark, then largely engaged in engineering work. Mr. Webb was secretary to the Nova Scotia and New Brunswick Railway Company, the Malta Hydraulic Dock Company, and the Monte Video Harbour Improvements Company.

On his appointment in 1878 as Secretary to the Society of Telegraph Engineers he did not at once relinquish the other appointments he was holding at the time, but in 1885, owing to the growth of the Society, he found it necessary to devote his entire attention to the work of the Society.

During his Secretaryship (in 1883) the Institution, originally called "The Society of Telegraph Engineers," was incorporated under the altered name of "The Society of Telegraph Engineers and Electricians," and in 1889 the name was changed to the one by which it is now known. After his retirement Mr. Webb remained an Associate, and continued to take a close personal interest in the progress and welfare of the Institution with which he was so long and honourably connected.

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