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British Industrial History

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James Edward McConnell

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1851. Bloomer Class engine for the London and North Western Railway.
1854-1863. Engine for the London and North Western Railway.
1859. Steam boilers.

James Edward McConnell (1815-1883), Locomotive Superintendent of the London and North Western Railway

1851 Award at the 1851 Great Exhibition. See details at 1851 Great Exhibition: Reports of the Juries: Class V.

1852 Wrought-iron pistons applied to locomotives.[1]

1883 Obituary [2]

JAMES EDWARD McCONNELL was born on the 1st of January, 1815, at Fermoy, Co. Cork, where his father, Mr. Quentin McConnell, possessed a fairly prosperous business in large ironworks.

He was left fatherless at the age of four, and came under the care of his uncle, Mr. Alexander McConnell, then resident in Ayr, where he spent most of his early years ; till, owing to a difference with his uncle, he was launched on the world with a capital of ten shillings.

He first obtained employment in the works of Girdwood and Co., of Glasgow, where he was regarded as a steady reliable workman, assisting the foremen and managers against the frequent difficulties arising in those days through trades-unions and strikes.

Later on he was engaged in the works of Vernon and Co, of Liverpool, as foreman, and while there superintended the erection of several horticultural buildings, and a great deal of machinery for the late Earl of Clare at Mountshannon.

In 1842, on the recommendation of Bury, Curtis and Kennedy, Liverpool, he was appointed Locomotive Engineer of the Bristol and Birmingham Railway.

On the 16th of February, 1847, he was made Locomotive Superintendent of the southern division of the London and North Western Railway, which post he held for fifteen years.

His patents, in 1853, of 'Improvements in Locomotive Engines' and of ‘Hollow Railway Axles' were decidedly successful. During the latter part of his connection with the London and North Western Railway, he worked with his engines the main line from London to Stafford and all its branches. On his resignation, in 1862, he received from the officials and employ& a handsome service of plate, together with a flattering address.

At that time he bought an estate near the village of Great Missenden, and several commercial enterprises under his hands became great successes. He now took an office at Westminster, and commenced to practise as a mechanical engineer. He was largely engaged in the valuation of railway rolling stock, and in the assessment of railway property.

In 1871 he entered into partnership with Mr. W. Marshall of Norfolk Street, Strand, for . . . [more]

1883 Obituary [3]

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