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British Industrial History

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John Hosking Ellacott

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John Hosking Ellacott (1811-1894)

1894 Obituary [1]

JOHN HOSKING ELLACOTT was born at Plymouth Dock near Devonport on the 12th of July, 1811.

At an early age he was apprenticed to his father, a builder in the town of Plymouth, under whom he became a practical carpenter.

From the expiration of his apprenticeship in July1, 832, he remained until March, 1834, with his father, whose business he managed, keeping the books, measuring up the work and paying the men. At the latter date, being desirous of gaining more experience young Ellacott went to London where he obtained work in various capacities from builders and architects. He studied architecture, geometry and mechanics, and was employed in preparing drawings and estimates for various competitive designs for public buildings. He also improved his knowledge of mathematics and other kindred subjects.

About the year 1838, there was a great demand for land surveyors, owing to the alteration in the tithe law, and in order to qualify for such work Mr. Ellacott articled himself to Mr. Blackman of Fareham and became a competent land-surveyor.

At the expiration of his articles, in November 1840, he removed to Plymouth, where he practised as a land-surveyor on his own account until October 1841. The demand caused by the Tithe Act having by this time been more than supplied, and work being very scarce, he succeeded in obtaining an appointment as a draughtsman in the office of the late Jesse Hartley, then Surveyor of the Liverpool Docks. He subsequently became Head of the Drawing Office, but in March 1846 he accepted the appointment of District Engineer on the construction of the Liverpool and Bury Railway, taking charge of that section which included the Walton Tunnel.

Not finding this work congenial, he applied to Mr. Jesse Hartley for re-employment, and in August, 1847, was reinstated in his old position at the Dockyard; from that date until the 1st of February, 1881, when he was superannuated, he remained in the service of the Liverpool Dock Board....[more]

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