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British Industrial History

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George William Partridge

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1927. Extensions to the Deptford Power Station.

George William Partridge (1864-1940), of the London Electric Supply Corporation

Credited with inventing the oil-immersed circuit breaker, in 1892 [1]

1940 Obituary [2]

IT is with deep regret that we have to record the death on Friday, May 3rd, at Woldingham, Surrey, following a short illness, of Gerald William Partridge, who was associated with the London Electric Supply Corporation, Ltd. for over half a century, rising from assistant engineer to engineer-in-chief, and managing director of the Corporation.

A pioneer of the electric lighting industry, his death leaves a gap in the ranks of those who did so much to develop London's electric supply systems.

He was born in June, 1864, and received his early education at St. Marks School Windsor.

In 1882, he went to Germany for two years to the Technical College at Essen, where be began his scientific training.

On his return to England in 1884, he entered the Hammond Electrical Engineering College at Red Lion Square, where he gained practical experience in electrical engineering work.

After leaving college he joined the Anglo-American Brush Engineering Company, and spent three years going through the various shops and departments.

For a short time he was a pupil in the office of Messrs. Woodhouse and Rawson.

In 1888, he was appointed assistant engineer of the London Electric Supply Corporation, which had then been formed to take over the Grosvenor Gallery installation, and to carry out Dr. Ferranti's larger scheme for high-voltage distribution from the new station at Deptford.

In 1892 Mr. Partridge was appointed chief electrician of the Corporation, and two years later he became second engineer with charge of the distribution station, the installation department, testing and mains.

In 1899 he succeeded Mr. P. W. d'Alton, who was appointed chief engineer when Dr. Ferranti left the company, as engineer-in-chief of the Corporation. Later he became managing director of the company, and he continued to hold that position until his death.

At the Commemoration Meeting of the Institution of Electrical Engineers which took place on February 23rd, 1922, to commemorate the first ordinary meeting of the Institution (then the Society of Telegraph Engineers) on February 28th, 1872, Mr. Partridge read a paper in which he referred to his early experiences with the Anglo-American Brush Company, and his work under Dr. Ferranti in the founding of the London Electric Supply Corporation in 1887, and the difficulties experienced with the transformers and high tension mains. He it was who overcame the trouble experienced in charging the 10,000 volt mains, by the introduction of charging gear. The mains, we may recall, consisted of two concentric brazed copper tubes of equal cross sectional area separated by paper insulation impregnated with ozokerite wax, which were made in 20ft. lengths. The cables were enclosed in a 2lin. diameter thin iron tube with a brazed seam which was filled with wax. Following his paper, Mr. Partridge presented to the Institution a 10,000 volt coil, transformer, cables and other apparatus as a record of that pioneer installation.

Mr. Partridge kept in close touch with the work of the scientific institutions and was a member of the Institution of Civil Engineers and the Institution of Electrical Engineers. He served on the Council of the Institution of Electrical Engineers for some years, and was elected Vice-President in 1917. In later times he devoted his time to the administration and financial sides of the electric supply industry, and as well as his position with the London Electric Supply Corporation was also director of many electricity undertakings.

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. [1] Electricity Supply in Great Britain - A Chronology-From the beginnings of the industry to 31 December 1976 by The Electricity Council, second edition, 1977, p.9
  2. The Engineer 1940/05/10