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Frederick Augustus Sheppard

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Frederick Augustus Sheppard (1819-1884)

1884 Obituary [1]

FREDERICK AUGUSTUS SHEPPARD was born at Brighton, in 1819.

After receiving a portion of his education at the Grammar School, Horsham, he completed it under a private tutor. He learnt the rudiments of surveying from Mr. Thomas Hughes, one of Telford’s trusted assistants, and subsequently under his brother, Mr. R. Sheppard, then practising in Horsham.

His first employment was for about two years by Mr. Joseph Gibbs, M. Inst. C.E., on the survey of a projected line to Brighton. He was then engaged for three years with Mr. J. Wright, of Aylsham, upon numerous surveys for the Tithe Commutation Commissioners.

In 1841 he accepted an offer from the New Zealand Land Company, and took charge of surveys, laying out townships, and marking out roads, &c.

After a stay of three years in the colony, urgent private business caused his return to England. Mr. Sheppard was engaged on several of the proposed lines of railway in 1845, and executed a series of surveys for Messrs. Harris and Brounger of portions of the Eastern Counties Railway.

In 1847 he was engaged by Mr. Alfred Giles, M. Inst. C.E., on surveys at Southampton Docks. This led to an appointment as Resident Engineer on the Reading, Reigate, and Guildford Railway, for superintending the line between Dorking and Guildford. On the transfer of this line to the South-Eastern Railway, that Company retained his services for nine years.

On a change in the engineers’ staff of the South-Eastern Railway, Mr. Sheppard left the Company’s service, and in 1857 entered for a time that of Mr. John Fowler, Past-President: Inst. C.E., by whom he was mostly employed on the surveys of the Severn Valley line.

He shortly after again was engaged for Mr. Giles upon the works at Southampton Docks, and afterwards on surveys in Denmark for proposed lines of railway, and in the following year, 1858, in Switzerland upon surveys, &C., of the proposed Lukmanier railway from Coire to Olivone.

In 1860 Mr. Sheppard accompanied Mr. Giles to Canada, and assisted in the examination, &C., of the Great Western Railway.

On his return to England he was offered by Sir John Coode, M. Inst. C.E., the appointment of Assistant Engineer to the works in Table Bay, Cape of Good Hope, then being carried out under the charge of Mr. A. T. Andrews, M. Inst. C.E. At the close of that year Mr. Sheppard reached the colony, where he remained in the Government service for six years, till the completion of the work. While in the colony Mr. Sheppard passed all the examinations required for the certificate of qualifications in the theory of civil engineering, and was registered “Sworn Government Surveyor;” and he also passed the higher examination as “Cape Civil Engineer,” being the first person to whom that grade was given. Returning to England, he obtained from the Colonial Secretary of State the appointment of Deputy ColoniaI Engineer and Comptroller of Convicts of the Straits Settlement.

Mr. Sheppard proceeded to Singapore in 1867, and remained there until 1872, when a change in the department being made, his office was abolished, and he received a small pension.

After being occupied on some mining surveys, Mr. Sheppard was sent by Messrs. Wythes and Jackson, in 1873, to Demerara, to survey and report upon a proposed line of railway to Berbice, but upon his report the undertaking was not carried out. Mr. Sheppard was next engaged by Mr. John Gardiner, M. Inst. C.E., upon surveys for railways in South Wales, and having been introduced to Mr. J. Gabrielli, was sent by him in 1874 to China, to report upon the proposed railway from Shanghai to Woosung. He made the necessary surveys; set out the line, and constructed the greater portion of the embankment, when the work was stopped. In the following year he accompanied Mr. Gabrielli to Rio Janeiro, respecting the enquiries for the proposed new water-works at that place.

Having completed his work in Rio, Mr. Sheppard received instructions from the firm of Krupp and Co., of Essen, Prussia, to proceed to Buenos Ayres and make arrangements for the construction of a line of railway to Bragado; but the Government abandoned the project. On his return in 1876, he was immediately engaged in superintending the construction of a line of tramway from Blenavon to Abersychan; and on its completion Mr. Sheppard was, for the fourth time, employed by Mr. Giles as Assistant Engineer on the construction of the new graving dock at Southampton.

When this was finished, in 1879, Mr. Sheppard joined the firm of Burleigh and Green as their Engineering Manager. In this capacity he superintended the new pier-extension at Southampton, as well as works in London, and several extensive tramway undertakings. He next surveyed a line from Bologna to Verona, and, after a short time spent upon the Abbotsbury Railway, he proceeded to Halifax, Nova Scotia, to survey for a new graving dock. Here his health, which had been for some time failing, broke down. He returned to England in a prostrated state, from which he never recovered. He gradually sank, and died in London on the 18th of August, 1884.

Mr. Sheppard was of a most unselfish nature, and gave honest and conscientious service to his employers, and in the public offices which he filled; in many cases he suffered loss himself, rather than act contrary to strict principles of honesty and integrity. He was elected an Associate of this Institution on the 6th of December, 1853.

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