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Harry Pasley Higginson

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Harry Pasley Higginson (1838-1900)

1900 Obituary [1]

HARRY PASLEY HIGGINSON, born in 1838 at Thormanby, Yorkshire, was educated at the Collegiate School, Leicester.

On leaving school he served an apprenticeship to Sir William Fairbairn, from 1855 to 1859, during which time he became acquainted with all kinds of iron-work and the details of the drawing office.

From October, 1859, to November, 1861, he was engaged in Russia on the construction of the Riga-Dunaburg Railway, after which he was appointed in March, 1862, to the Government Staff of the Mauritius railways.

There he was employed for one year in laying out, levelling and surveying the Midland line, and was subsequently appointed District Engineer of the third section of that line, which position he occupied until October, 1865, when the line being opened for traffic, one half of it remained under his oharge.

In January, 1867, Mr. Higginson was appointed a second class Executive Engineer on the Staff of the Madras Irrigation and Canal Company, and was occupied for the following twelve months in revising the plans and estimates of the tenth section of the works. He then became Assistant Executive Engineer on the second section, which comprised very heavy works, and after their completion in October, 1868, was transferred to the eighth section, on which a great part of the heavy masonry locks were constructed under his direction.

In May, 1869, he was promoted to first class Executive Engineer and was entrusted with the tenth section, including, besides locks and head-work, the Pennair anicut or weir, 2,240 feet in length, which was finished on the 1st June 1871, when he returned to England.

In 1872 Mr. Higginson entered the service of the Government of New Zealand, and in September of that year was appointed Superintending Engineer, his duties including the supervision of all the railways and other public works under construction by the Government in the South Island. He held that post until 1878, when, the exigencies of the public service requiring a reduction of the engineering staff, his engagement was terminated.

Mr. Higginson then began to practise on his own account in Dunedin, and among the works carried out by him in New Zealand may be mentioned the Waimakariri Gorge Bridge, the Lyttelton Waterworks, the Waimea Plains Railway, the Eawarau Suspension Bridge, and the Balclutha Bridge. For his account of the Eawarau Suspension Bridge, presented to the Institution in 1882, he was awarded a Telford Premium.

In the same year he was appointed Chief Engineer, to design and superintend the construction of the Wellington and Manawatu Railway, which was successfully completed in November, 1886. In 1889 he was appointed Engineer and Manager of the Wellington City Gasworks, which posts he held until ill-health compelled his retirement in 1898.

Mr. Higginson died at Wellington on the 26th February, 1900.

He was elected an Associate of the Institution on the 5th February, 1867, and was transferred to the class of Members on the 5th December, 1871.

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