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James Archibald Robertson

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James Archibald Robertson (1869-1936)

1869 June 14th. Born at Stirling

1902-14 Burgh Electrical Engineer at Greenock

1914 Electrical Engineer at Salford

1936 July 29th. Died at Buxton

1936 Obituary [1]

IT is with much regret that we have to record the death of Mr. James Archibald Robertson at his home, Brooklands, Temple-road, Buxton, on July 29th. Mr. Robertson had been in failing health for some considerable time.

His early education was received at tho Glasgow and West of Scotland Technical College, and his training with the Liverpool Electric Supply Company, Mavor and Coulson, and Lord Kelvin in the latter's laboratory at Glasgow.

From 1900 to 1902 Mr. Robertson was chief electrical engineer to Denny Brothers, shipbuilders, Dumbarton. In the latter year he was appointed Burgh Electrical Engineer of Greenock, and he remained in this position until 1914, when he came South to take a similar post with the Salford Corporation.

From 1922 until the time of his death he practised as a consulting engineer, in which capacity he acted for a number of municipal and commercial undertakings, including those of Stratford, Salford, and Preston.

In 1913 he was appointed Chairman of the Scottish Centre of the Institution of Electrical Engineers, and held a similar post in the North-Western Centre in 1919. The Manchester Association of Engineers elected him President in 1929. He was also a member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, and has contributed several papers on electrical engineering subjects to various societies.

Mr. Robertson was a man who made a host of friends by his bonhomie and sociable disposition, and his dry Scottish humour made him a welcome speaker at public banquets.

1936 Obituary [2]

JAMES ARCHIBALD ROBERTSON died on 29th July 1936 at the age of sixty-eight. He received his technical education at the Glasgow and West of Scotland Technical College and his practical training from 1885 to 1892 with Messrs. J. and H. Wilson, of Liverpool, and with the Liverpool Electric Supply Company, and later with Messrs. Mavor and Coulson of Glasgow.

He subsequently joined Messrs. James White (later Messrs. Kelvin and James White), where he gained a wide knowledge of electromagnetism from the experiments then being carried out by Lord Kelvin.

He left in 1897 to become chief electrical engineer to Messrs. Denny Brothers, shipbuilders, of Dumbarton, where the first turbine-driven steamer was constructed.

In 1903 he was appointed chief engineer and manager to the Burgh of Greenock, where he was responsible for the construction of the Dellingburn Power Station, having a capacity of 12,000 kW.

In 1914 he accepted the position of borough electrical engineer to the Corporation of Salford, where he completely reorganized the electricity works. The first important change was made within a month of his arrival when he ordered a 5,000 kW. turbo-alternator to replace two of the old reciprocating engines; the machine was installed in the record time of nineteen weeks from the date of the order. In 1915 he planned a new generating station, but owing to the War the scheme was held up. Further turbo-alternators were therefore installed at Frederick Road to replace the reciprocating engines, increasing the capacity of the station by more than 70 per cent, and thus enabling war-time demands to be met. Mr. Robertson subsequently prepared plans for a 50,000 kW. station to be erected on the River Irwell at Agecroft.

In 1921 his plans and estimates were adopted, and the station was commissioned in 1925. At this time he had taken up a certain amount of consulting work and was engaged to advise on the sale of various undertakings.

In 1922 he decided to devote himself exclusively to consulting work and opened an office in Manchester. He was appointed consulting engineer for the new Ribble generating station of 50,000 kW. capacity which was put into commission in 1925. Both the Agecroft and Ribble stations were equipped with 12,500 kW. turbo-alternators running at 3,000 r.p.m.; these were the first 3,000 r.p.m. machines of this size to be ordered in the country.

Mr. Robertson was also engaged by a number of corporations and private companies and continued as consultant to Preston Corporation and the Stretford and District Electricity Board until 1935.

He was elected a Member of the Institution in 1922 and was also a Member of the Institution of Electrical Engineers, and a past-president of the Manchester Association of Engineers. He contributed a number of papers to engineering institutions and technical societies.

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