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British Industrial History

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Frederick Joseph West

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Sir Frederick Joseph West (1872-1959) of West's Gas Improvement Co

1872 Born the son of John West

1959 Obituary [1]

WE record with regret the death of Sir Frederick Joseph West, which occurred at Wilmslow, Cheshire, last Saturday, November 14.

Sir Frederick, who was born at Maidstone in 1872, was the second son of John West, the founder of the West's Gas Improvement Company. Throughout his life he was closely associated with the gas industry, and be succeeded his father as chairman of the company which, with passing years, has developed into an organisation known throughout the world.

For many years Sir Frederick was a prominent figure in the gas industry and in addition to other offices he served as president of the Institution of Gas Engineers in 1941-42 and president of the Society of British Gas Industries in 1947-49. He was also a member of the Institution of Civil Engineers, and a member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.

As well as being a highly successful engineer and industrialist, Sir Frederick was a humanist and his firm was one of the first to introduce a works committee for liaison between the management and employees.

He became a founder-member of the Manchester Engineering Council, a body open to all in industry, which provided opportunity for management and workers to meet and discuss freely problems of mutual interest. He took a keen interest in technical education and became chairman of the Manchester College of Technology in 1921. In that capacity Sir Frederick was largely responsible for instituting the development which resulted In the college becoming one of the leading technological training establishments in this country. As a result of his services in this connection Manchester University conferred upon him the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws.

Sir Frederick was also closely concerned with civic life in Manchester, and became a member of the city council in 1905 eventually attaining the office of Lord Mayor in 1924. As a result of his services he was appointed a C.B.E. in 1920 created a K.B.E. in 1943, and advanced to G.B.E. in 1947.

1959 Obituary [2]

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