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British Industrial History

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George Whale

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1954. Passenger engine. Precursor.

George Whale (1842-1910), chief mechanical engineer of the London and North Western Railway

1910 Obituary [1]

GEORGE WHALE was born at Bocking, Essex, on 7th December 1842, and was educated at a private school at Lewisham, where he went at the age of eight, and stayed for eight years.

In 1858 he proceeded to the London and North Western Railway Locomotive Works at Wolverton as a pupil under the late Mr. J. E. McConnell, and later at Crewe under the late Mr. John Ramsbottom, where he spent two years in the drawing-office.

In 1867 he was appointed assistant to the late Mr. J. Rigg, who was then superintendent of the locomotive running department; and on Mr. Rigg's retirement in 1877, he was appointed superintendent of the locomotive running department for the northern division, the late Mr. Mumford having charge of the southern division.

In 1899 Mr. Mumford retired, and Mr. Whale was made superintendent of the running department for the whole line. On the retirement of the late Mr. F. W. Webb in 1903, Mr. Whale was appointed chief mechanical engineer, a position he continued to hold until 1909, when ill-health compelled him to relinquish his work. During his tenure of office as chief mechanical engineer, the locomotive stock underwent a very considerable change, the three-cylinder compounds being gradually withdrawn from service or converted.

The express engines produced under his designs to take their place were those of the "Precursor" class, built in 1904, and the "Experiment" class, built in 1905. Other models devised during his tenure of office were steam motor-carriages, and six-wheels coupled shunting engine with huge saddle-tanks. He was a Justice of the Peace, a member of the Territorial Association Committee, and had been Mayor of Crewe.

His death took place at Hove on 7th March 1910, at the age of sixty-seven.

He became a Member of this Institution in 1900, and was appointed a Member of Council in 1907, an office he held until the autumn of last year, when he resigned. He was also a Member of The Institution of Civil Engineers.

1910 Obituary [2]

GEORGE WHALE died on March 7, 1910, in his sixty-eighth year.

In 1858 he entered the service of the London and North-Western Railway Company as a pupil in the locomotive works at Wolverton.

In 1865 the Wolverton works were transferred to Crewe, and in 1867 he was appointed assistant in charge of the running department for the northern division, taking sole charge in 1877. In 1903 he succeeded the late Mr. Webb as chief mechanical engineer at Crewe. He designed and built a number of locomotives of the "Experiment" and "Precursor" class, which, though very heavy in appearance, are simpler in mechanism than the compound type. For over twenty, years he had charge of the running arrangements of all the royal trains over the company's line.

He was a member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers and of the Institution of Civil Engineers. He was elected a member of the Iron and Steel Institute in 1905.

1910 Obituary [3]

1910 Obituary [4]

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