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British Industrial History

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Herbert Wallis

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Herbert L. Wallis (1844-1922)

Mechanical Superintendent, Grand Trunk Railway, Montreal, Canada.

1923 Obituary [1]

HERBERT L. WALLIS was born in Derby in 1844, and was educated at the Moravian School, near Sowerby Bridge.

He was then apprenticed for five years to the late Mr. Matthew Kirtley, Locomotive Superintendent of the Midland Railway.

In 1866 he was appointed foreman in charge of the locomotive department of the Midland Railway at Bradford, and five years later went to Canada to take up the position of assistant mechanical superintendent of the Grand Trunk Railway at Montreal.

In 1873 he was promoted to be chief mechanical superintendent, which position he held until his retirement in 1896. During that period the first compound locomotive upon the Grand Trunk Railway was built by Mr. Wallis, and he so improved the shops of the Company that they were able to construct practically all the new locomotives for service during the last twenty years of the tenure of his office.

In the commercial life of Canada he took a prominent part, and among his many official positions were those of Vice-President of the Ottawa River Navigation Co., and President of the Carillon and Grenville Railway Co.

He was one of the founders of the Canadian Society of Civil Engineers (now the Engineering Institute of Canada) in 1887, being a Member of the Council and a Treasurer for six years. In 1894 he was elected Vice-President, and President in 1896.

His death took place in Montreal on 2nd May 1922, at the age of seventy-eight.

He became a Member of this Institution in 1868.

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