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British Industrial History

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J. T. MacGregor-Morris

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John Turner MacGregor-Morris (1872-1959).

1920 Professor J. T. MacGregor-Morris presented a paper at the British Association on ventilation in coal mines[1]

1959 Obituary [2]

It is with regret that we have to record the death, on March 18, of Professor J. T. MacGregor-Morris, Emeritus Professor of Electrical Engineering, University of London.

He was born in London in 1872, and he gained his scientific education at University College. There he had the good fortune to work under Sir Ambrose Fleming, whose example was a perpetual source of inspiration.

In 1898, at a time when there were few educational facilities few technical education in East London, he joined the People's Palace Technical Schools to set up classes in electrical engineering. For forty years he served this institution, helping it to grow in size and status, eventually to become a college of the University of London, known first as East London College and later as Queen Mary College. Perhaps his culminating achievement there was the opening of the high-voltage laboratory in 1936 to provide full-scale facilities for the teaching of, and research into, high-voltage phenomena associated with electrical power transmission.

During the 1914-18 war he took a prominent share in the development of the directional hydrophone for the detection of enemy submarines, beginning, characteristically, with only the most rudimentary apparatus to test the products of his vivid imagination and boundless energy. With A. F. Sykes he set out, using two headphones and a buzzer, to study the transmission of sound waves, first in a bucket of water, then in a bath, next in a reservoir and finally, with Admiralty collaboration, at sea.

His inquiring mind and his intuitive analytical skill were perhaps at their best when these gifts were applied to the guidance of research. His particular interests included photometry, ferro-magnetism, cathode-ray tubes and contact potential phenomena.

He was chairman of the Meter and Instrument Section of the Institution of Electrical Engineers in 1934, and president of the Illuminating Engineering Society in 1940. He was a Fellow of University College, and of Queen Mary College, London.

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