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British Industrial History

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John Oliver York

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John Oliver York (1811-1887)

1840 John Oliver York of Duke Street, Westminster, for eight years the principal engineer at the Horsley Iron Works, became a member of the Institution of Civil Engineers.[1]

1848 Patent sealed: John Oliver York, 24 Rue de la Madeleine, Paris, engineer - Improvements in the manufacture of metallic tubes.[2]

1888 Obituary [3]

JOHN OLIVER YORK was born at Birmingham on the 9th of March, 1811.

After pursuing a regular course of study in the office of a civil engineer, he became in 1832 principal engineer at the Horseley Ironworks, Tipton, Staffordshire.

In 1848 Mr. York went to France, as Engineer and Manager of the ironworks situated near Evreux, belonging to the late Mr. Brassey. All the men - between two and three hundred - employed at those works were English. From Evreux he went to Pont-Audemer, some 40 miles distant, where he erected for Mr. Brassey, and managed for some years, another establishment for the manufacture of iron.

In 1853 Mr. York took a contract for the construction of the railway from St. Dizier to Gray, in France, and in the same year obtained a concession for lighting the town of Seville, in Spain, with gas. The works were completed, and the town partially lighted in the following year. He also obtained from the French Government the contract for building the “ Palais de l’Industrie,” in the Champs Elpsees at Paris, in which was held the International Exhibition of 1855, and on the completion of that work was decorated with the Legion of Honour.

From 1856 to 1866 Mr. York was principally employed in constructing railways, under contract, in Italy. He laid down the lines from Rome to Frascati, from Rome to Ceprano, and part of that from Rome to Ancona, in all a length of about 200 miles. During the same period he also constructed the railway from Launceston to Lidford, in Cornwall, and carried out several other engineering contracts.

Mr. York died on the 28th of May, 1887, from apoplexy, after a somewhat prolonged illness.

He was elected an Associate of the Institution on the 16th of June, 1840.

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