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British Industrial History

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Henry Temple Humphreys

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Henry Temple Humphreys (1839-1891)

1892 Obituary [1]

HENRY TEMPLE HUMPHREYS was born on the 20th of December, 1839, in Oxford Street, London, and was the youngest child of Griffith Humphreys and his wife, Sarah Leggett, a daughter of Henry Temple, of Sandwich, Kent.

He was for a short time at the City of London School, but when his family moved to Bayswater he received the rest of his education at private schools nearer home.

As he evinced a decided predilection for engineering, he was placed for six months under tutors for mathematics and technical drawing, after which, in August, 1854, he was apprenticed for five years to John Rennie and Co of Blackfriars. It was intended that he should acquire the practical part of the profession with this firm by passing through their shops, keeping to workmen’s hours; but a delicate frame, together with the long distance to be traversed night and morning, soon showed this to be impossible, and the Messrs. Rennie kindly transferred him to their drawing-office, where attendance was not required until nine o’clock.

On the termination of his apprenticeship in 1859 he was retained as an Assistant. In February, 1861, he went to the Canal Iron Works, Limehouse, as Chief Draughtsman, which post he resigned in the following December in order to accompany John Bourne to Karachi for the purpose of making preliminary surveys for the Oriental Canal and Irrigation Company.

Returning to England in August, 1862, he was engaged as an Assistant Engineer on the Thames Valley Railway during part of 1863. On the 9th of December of that year he left to take up an appointment as Chief District Engineer under Alfred Rumball on the Buenos Ayres Great Southern Railway, which line he helped to lay out.

In the following September he was again in England, and spent the remainder of the year and the following spring in fulfilling temporary engagements on the South Wales Railway at Cardiff and on the North Eastern Railway at Newcastle-on-Tyne.

Late in 1865, after being in the office of Mr. Hawksley in Westminster, he was appointed by that gentleman Resident Engineer on the extension of the works for the water-supply of Whitehaven. He was occupied on those works until January, 1866, when a severe attack of rheumatic fever . . . [more]

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