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British Industrial History

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Henry Robert John Burstall

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Henry Robert John Burstall (1863-1936)

1936 Obituary [1]

HENRY ROBERT JOHN BURSTALL, M.B.E., was a partner in the firm of Messrs. Burstall and Monkhouse, consulting mechanical and electrical engineers, of Westminster. He was the brother of the late Professor F. W. Burstall, M.I.Mech.E., and was born in 1863.

From 1878 to 1883 he served an apprenticeship in the Blackwall works of Messrs. John Stewart and Son, marine engineers. He then went to sea as fourth engineer on the S.S. Nemesis and shortly afterwards became third engineer on S.S. Bushire.

After obtaining a Whitworth Scholarship, he entered University College, London, in 1884, and studied under Sir Alexander Kennedy, M.I.Mech.E. (Past-President), for whom he subsequently acted as demonstrator.

From 1886 to 1888 he was an assistant in the London office of Messrs. Menzies and Blagburn, consulting engineers.

When Sir Alexander Kennedy gave up University work in 1888, and went into business on his own account as a consulting engineer, Mr. Burstall became his principal assistant. He was responsible for the supervision of the electric lighting installations carried out by the firm in a number of important provincial towns.

In 1896 he commenced his forty years' partnership with Mr. E. W. Monkhouse, M.V.O., M.I.Mech.E. In collaboration with his brother, Mr. Burstall also carried out some research on pyrometry.

He joined in 1915 the newly constituted Ministry of Munitions, and served in the Department of Explosive Supplies under Lord Moulton. He was awarded the M.B.E. in 1919 in recognition of his services. He later served on a number of the engineering committees of the British Standards Institution.

Mr. Burstall's long connexion with the Institution dated back to 1890, when he was elected a Member. He contributed a paper entitled "Electric Lighting in Edinburgh" in 1895; and subsequently he contributed several papers to technical journals. For many years he was an examiner for the Associate Membership examinations of the Institution of Civil Engineers, of which he was a Member. In addition, he was a Member of the Institution of Electrical Engineers.

His death occurred on 8th June 1936.

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