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British Industrial History

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Howard Cecil Humphreys

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Howard Cecil Lee Humphreys (1893-1941)

1942 Obituary [1]

Colonel HOWARD CECIL LEE HUMPHREYS, O.B.E., T.D., was senior partner of Messrs. Howard Humphreys and Sons, consulting engineers of Victoria Street, S.W.1, and had been identified with that firm throughout his professional career. In December 1940 he was appointed Director of Works at the Ministry of Works and Buildings.

He was born in 1893 and on leaving Westminster School he served his apprenticeship from 1911-14 under his father, Mr. H. Howard Humphreys. During this time he gained experience in the design of pumping plants for water and in the running of Diesel-engined power stations, gas works and pumping stations, under Mr. A. W. E. Bullmore, M.I.Mech.E., at Letchworth Garden City. In 1919, he was appointed chief assistant and in the following year he became a junior partner, becoming senior partner on the death of his father in 1930.

The drainage schemes carried out by his firm included the remarkable pumping installation for the city of Georgetown, British Guiana, and the erection of sewage pumping stations for Lagos, Nigeria. As consulting engineers for the Postmaster-General the firm also carried out examinations and drew up reports concerning roads in all parts of the British Isles. One of the largest road schemes, which included the building of an important viaduct, was the reconstruction of the Chester-Holyhead road near Penmaenmawr. Colonel Humphreys was also responsible for the reconstruction of the Norfolk bridge at Shoreham, and for designs for bridges on the Hull and Selby road. He was also associated with the design and construction of numerous waterworks including Jinja in Uganda, and Kaduna in Northern Nigeria.

During the war of 1914-18 he served in the Honourable Artillery Corps, and in 1915 received a commission in the London Regiment. He subsequently served in France, Salonica and Palestine. In the present war, he was one of the earliest to take his men out to France, and was decorated for his services at Dunkirk. Colonel Humphreys was elected an Associate Member of the Institution in 1922, and was transferred to Membership in 1929. He served on the Committee of the Hydraulics Group from its inception in 1939 until his death, which occurred on 18th July 1941.

He took great interest in the education of engineers and was a joint author with Mr. G. Howard H. Humphreys of a book on "The Training of a civil Engineer".

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