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Henry O'Hagan

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Henry O'Hagan (1819-1869)


1870 Obituary [1]

MR. HENRY O’HAGAN was born in the year 1819, near Ballymena, in the county of Antrim, where his father was a small landowner.

After receiving such instruction as could then be obtained in some of the small country schools, he, at an early age, obtained employment on the Ordnance Survey of Ireland, under Captain Henderson, R.E., who was very partial to him, and by whom he was engaged in making trigonometrical calculations, for which he had a remarkable aptitude, and in drawing.

When the Tithe Commission Survey was being carried out, under the direction of the late Colonel Dawson, R.E. (Assoc. Inst. C.E.), Mr. O’Hagan came to England, about the year 1833, and was occupied under Mr. A. Doull (Assoc. Inst. C.E.) for a considerable time in the execution of several parish surveys. and subsequently on railway surveys, in the conduct of which he was invariably found to be most zealous and trustworthy. The railway surveys herein referred to were for projected lines in Kent, to which Mr. Vignoles (Pres. Inst. C.E.) was the Engineer-in-chief. It was in this way that Mr. O’Hagan first became known, about the year 1844, to Mr. Vignoles, to whom he was afterwards an assistant, both in the office and on works.

From 1846 to 1853 he had charge, as Resident Engineer, of the construction of important works on the Blackburn railway, under the late Mr. Flanagan (M. Inst. C.E.), and he resided during those years at Blackburn.

On the 4th of May, 1852, he was elected an Associate of the Institution of Civil Engineers.

He then acted as Resident Engineer for two years on the West Swiss railways ; and from 1858 to 1864 had charge of the construction of a portion of the Tudela and Bilbao railway, to which Mr. Vignoles (Pres. Inst. C.E.) was the Engineer-in-chief, and Mr. Henry Vignoles (M. Inst. C.E.) was the acting Engineer.

After the completion of the railway, he was for some time intrusted with the maintenance of the way and works on a length of ninety miles of the line.

On the 10th of May, 1864, he was transferred from the class of Associates to the class of Members in the Institution.

He was also variously employed at intervals on other engineering projects in Europe and America.

Subsequently he was connected with the execution of the works on the Bahia railway, for Mr. John Watson (M. Inst. C.E.), the contractor ; and in the latter part of 1868 was induced to accept an appointment under Messrs. Waring Brothers and Mr. M‘Candlish, the contractors for the execution of the Honduras railway. He sailed for that destination on the 2nd of December in that year; but soon after his arrival he was seized with a fatal illness, due, it is asserted, to the hardships inseparable from the prosecution of the works, and died on the 7th of March, 1869.

Mr. O’Hagan occupied a respectable position in the profession, and was highly honourable in all the relations of life. It deserves to be recorded, to his credit, that he was almost entirely self-educated.

He was a great reader, possessed a very retentive memory, had the gift of acquiring foreign languages with facility, and the capability of readily using and applying the knowledge he acquired. Amusing and entertaining in conversation, no subject came amiss to him ; and while he had many friends, he is believed never to have made an enemy. He had a ready way of imparting information to others ; and he took a delight in endeavouring to make the younger members of the profession fully understand any work upon which they might be engaged under him.



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