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Henry Adams

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Professor Henry Adams (1846-1935)

of 60 Queen Victoria Street, London, E.C. (1896)

1935 Obituary [1]

Professor HENRY ADAMS was the senior member of the Institution. He was elected a Member in January 1876, almost sixty years ago.

He was born in 1846, the eldest son of Mr. J. H. Adams, who was associated with the construction of the North London Railway, and the grandson of John Samuel Adams, who was engineer of the East and West India Docks.

After he had received his education, first at the City of London College and later at King's College, London, he entered the works of the North London Railway as an apprentice.

In 1865 he joined Sir W. G. Armstrong and Company as assistant outdoor engineer and later became acting manager.

He was appointed professor of engineering at the City of London College, where he founded the engineering department, in 1869; he held this position for thirty-five years. During the whole of this time he also gave evening lectures on art and surveying at other educational institutions.

But he was perhaps best known as a consulting engineer. He commenced to practise in 1877, and was responsible for the design and construction of hydraulic installations, water supply schemes, steel-framed buildings, and reinforced concrete work.

In 1909 his eldest son, Mr. Henry C. Adams, M.I.Mech.E., was taken into partnership with him. Professor Adams held, with his uncle, Mr. William Adams, M.I.Mech.E., the patent for the Adams "Vortex" blast pipe for locomotives, which was extensively used on the London and South Western Railway.

In 1887 he became superintending engineer to Messrs. William Cory and Son.

From 1905 until 1911 he was chief examiner in engineering for the Board of Education and held similar positions for several other examining bodies. In addition he acted as arbitrator in the London Court of Arbitration. He was president of the Civil and Mechanical Engineers' Society in 1889, of the Society of Engineers in 1890, and of the Institution of Engineers in Charge in 1910. He was a Member of the Institution of Civil Engineers and a foundation member of the Institution of Structural Engineers, of which he was president from 1914 to 1916. During 1917-18 he served as president of the Institute of Arbitrators.

He was the author of several textbooks on technical subjects and of many contributions to the proceedings of the numerous societies of which he was a member.

Professor Adams was in his ninetieth year when his death occurred at Brockley View, London, on 13th August 1935.

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