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British Industrial History

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Herbert Fletcher

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Herbert Fletcher (1842-1895)

1895 Obituary [1]

HERBERT FLETCHER was born at Bolton on 25th April 1842.

After being educated at the Windermere Grammar School, he went to Messrs. Hick, Hargreaves and Co., Soho Iron Works, Bolton, to study mechanical engineering; and also learnt surveying under Mr. Elias Deming, of Manchester.

From 1862 to 1868 he managed for his father the Clifton and Kearsley Collieries, near Manchester; and from 1868 the Ladyshore Colliery, near Bolton.

He succeeded his grandfather and uncle in the post of mineral adviser to the Duke of Buccleuch at Burnley, and was consulting engineer at the Atherton Collieries, near Bolton, until 1874.

Besides designing many practical improvements in small appliances for coal pits, he adopted the method now used at Ladyshore Colliery of filling up the goaf, as the coal was extracted, with material from all parts of the mine, instead of sending the latter to bank, and brought down for that purpose cinders and other refuse available the object being to take the weight as it comes on, better than by props or chocks, and to leave no space for the accumulation of gas.

For the last fifteen years he worked hard to abate the nuisance of smoke arising from boiler fires. He adopted a mechanical furnace of the coking kind, and for many years his chimneys have been practically smokeless; and steam has been raised with the maximum of economy from refuse coal from the colliery, for which no reasonable price could be obtained. In these furnaces he made many improvements. For some years past he had devoted much attention to the general question of smoke abatement, and spent much time in collecting information for a report to the Smoke Abatement Society, with the object of showing conclusively the merits of the different methods of boiler firing, and proving that the mechanical furnace was the most economical in utilization of both fuel and boiler space, and that the kind of furnace which made the least smoke was financially the most economical.

He was a member of the Bolton Town Council and of the Lancashire County Council.

His death occurred near Bolton from failure of the heart, on 16th September 1895, at the age of fifty-three.

He became a Member of this Institution in 1872.

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