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British Industrial History

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Henry Kitchen

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Henry Kitchen (c1875-1945)

1945 Obituary [1]

HENRY KITCHEN, who died on the 6th April, 1945, at the age of 70, was one of the rapidly diminishing number of engineers who entered the service of the Post Office when the Wheatstone ABC, the single needle, the morse sounder and the Wheatstone transmitter and receiver were the standard telegraph instruments in this country. Before he retired in 1935 he had seen the last of them give place to the teleprinter and the telephone. He received his early education at the Wesleyan School, West Hartlepool, and his engineering education at Rutherford Technical College and Armstrong College. Commencing his career as a telegraphist at Newcastle-on-Tyne in 1889, he was transferred to the Engineering Dept. as a repeater clerk at East Dean and, later, at Haverfordwest, and returned to Newcastle as a Sectional Engineer in 1902. In 1926 he was transferred to London as an Assistant Staff Engineer in the Engineer-in-Chief's Office, and in 1931 he became Superintending Engineer of the Scotland East District.

The year 1889 was marked by the installation at Newcastle of A. W. Heaviside's telephone multiple switchboard. Thus Kitchen was, at the outset of his career, brought into close contact with telephone development, and throughout his service he was actively engaged in that development in the provinces. From 1912 to 1914 he was engaged as a Lecturer in Telegraphy and Magnetism at Rutherford College and for the County of Durham Education Committee.

He was interested in music and possessed a rich tenor voice which would have carried him far had he chosen singing as a profession. His disposition was genial, his tastes were simple, and he was a true and staunch friend.

He joined The Institution as an Associate Member in 1910 and was elected a Member in 1921. He served on the Committee of the North-Eastern Centre from 1919 to 1922.

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