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James Murray Dobson

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James Murray Dobson (1846-1924)


1924 Obituary[1]

"THE LATE MR. JAMES M. DOBSON.

We regret to have to announce the death, which occurred at his residence, “ Pescot,” Longfield, Kent, on February 27, of Mr. James Murray Dobson, partner in the firm of Hawkshaw and Dobson, civil engineers, Millbank House, Westminster.

On leaving school Mr. Dobson served a period of pupilage of three years, namely, two years, from 1862-64, on the Holyhead harbour works, with his father, the late Mr. George Clarisse Dobson, and one year, in 1865, with the late Sir John Hawkshaw, F.R.S. He was subsequently in constant employment under Messrs. Sir John Hawkshaw, Son and Hayter, from 1865 to 1885, engaged in the design and construction of harbour, dock and railway works. For the later 10 years of that time he was their chief assistant, and in that capacity had the direct charge of the construction of Maryport Dock. He then proceeded to Buenos Ayres to make the survey for the Buenos Ayres harbour works, and in 1887 was appointed chief engineer of those works, a position which he held until their termination in 1901.

On this occasion Mr. Dobson became a partner of the firm of Hawkshaw, Hayter and Dobson, of Buenos Ayres, established to carry out the harbour works in question with the consent of the Argentine Government, and a branch of the firm of Hawkshaw and Hayter, of London. From the death of Mr. Harrison Hayter, Past President Inst.C.E., in 1898, the name of the firm was changed, both in London and Buenos Ayres, to Hawkshaw and Dobson.

On completing the Buenos Ayres harbour works, which comprised two entrance basins, four large docks with their complement of warehouses, railways, and other equipment, Mr. Dobson returned to London, and was joint consulting engineer with the late Mr. J. C. Hawkshaw, Past President Inst.C.E., for the Madras Railway up to the termination of the contract with the Indian Government. He advised Messrs. S. Pearson and Son, Limited, with reference to their harbours at Coatzacoalcos and Salina Cruz in Mexico, and the Belfast Harbour Commission received his collaboration in regard' to their graving docks. Mr. Dobson was also consulting engineer to the Crown Agents for the Colonies, for the Mauritius Government Railways, to the Midland Railway Company of Western Australia, Limited, and the West of India Portuguese Guaranteed Railway Company, Limited, for their harbour at Mormugao on the West'Coast of India. Notwithstanding his age— he was 77 at the time of his death—Mr. Dobson was busy at his offices practically up to the last.

Besides being frequently consulted as an expert on dock and harbour construction, Mr. Dobson, in the course of his earlier training, acquired considerable technical knowledge in the design of locomotive engines, and was a member of the Sectional Committee on Locomotives of the British Engineering Standards Association from its formation.

He became an associate member of the Institution of Civil Engineers in 1873, and a full member in 1880. In November, 1911, he was elected a member of the council, and continued to hold the position until November, 1917, when he resigned. He read a paper on “ Buenos Ayres Harbour Works ” before the Institution in April, 1899, for which he was awarded a Telford Premium in the same year. Mr. Dobson had a wide circle of friends among our leading civil engineers by whom his loss will be deeply regretted.


1924 Obituary [2]

JAMES MURRAY DOBSOX was born at Plymouth in 1846, and died at Pescot, Longfield, near Dartford, on the 27th February, 1924. He was the fourth son of the late Mr. George Clarisse Dobson, M. Inst. C.E., and a younger brother of Austin Dobson, and a nephew of James M. Rendel, Past-President Inst. C.E.

He served his pupilage with his father, on the Holyhead harbour works, for 2 years, and with Mr. (afterwards Sir) John Hawkshaw for 1 year. From 1865 to 1885 he was one of Sir John Hawkshaw's assistants, and among the various works upon which he was engaged was the Maryport dock, of which he was Engineer-in-Charge.

He had also a large office of his own, in which he prepared, among others, the designs for the Stockton bridge for the late Mr. Charles Neate and the late Mr. Harrison Hayter, and designs of the ironwork of the underground lines and stations of the District Railway extension to Whitechapel, for Sir John Hawkshaw.

In 1885 he went to South America for the firm of Sir John Hawkshaw, Son and Hayter, for preliminary work on the Buenos Ayres Harbour Works, and in 1887 he was appointed Chief Engineer of those works, which position he held until their termination in 1901.

On the retirement of Sir John Hawkshaw in 1890 he became resident partner in the firm of Hawkshaw, Hayter and Dobson, of Buenos Ayres branch of the firm of Hawkshaw and Hayter, of London.

In 1895 he was selected by the Argentine Government to act on a Commission to settle the level of high-water mark in the River Plate, and in January, 1900, he was appointed to a Commission on the dredging of that river.

In 1900, after the death of Mr. Harrison Hayter, Mr. Dobson returned to London, where he carried on a consulting practice with the late Mr. J. C. Hawkshaw.

Messrs. Hawkshaw and Dobson were Consulting Engineers for the Madras Railway until the end of the contract with the Government of India ; also to the Crown Agents for the Colonies for the Mauritius Government Railways ; to the Midland Railway Company of Western Australia, Ltd., and to the West of India Portuguese Guaranteed Railway Company, Ltd., in connection with the harbour at Mormugao.

Other important works upon which the firm advised included the harbours at Coatzacoalcos and Salina Cruz, Belfast, and Holyhead. Mr. Dobson was a Member of the Sectional Committee on Locomotives of the British Engineering Standards Association from its formation. He contributed to the Proceedings of The Institution in 1899 a Paper on the Buenos Ayres Harbour Works, for which he was awarded a Telford Premium. He left a widow and, by a previous marriage, an only daughter.

He was elected an Associate Member in 1873, and transferred to the class of Members in 1880. He was elected a Member of Council in 1911, and served on that body until 1917, when he did not offer himself for re-election. He was also honorary auditor for several years.


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