Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 148,145 pages of information and 233,681 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.
John Robinson (1832-1909)
1909 Obituary 
JOHN ROBINSON was born at Kendal on 9th December 1832.
He served a period of pupilage, from 1854 to 1856, under, first, Mr. Charles Sanderson at Reading and Westminster, and then under Mr. Robert Syer Hoggar, with whom he was engaged on railway surveys in Scotland.
He was subsequently, for a year and a half, assistant under Mr. William Baker, on the widening works of the London and North Western Railway.
In 1858 he went to Scotland, where he was occupied for six years in connection with the construction of railways, now principally forming part of the Highland and Great North of Scotland systems.
He returned south in 1804 to join the staff of the late Sir George Barclay Bruce, and was sent as resident engineer to take charge of a portion of the East Prussian Railway between Konigsberg to Pillau on the Baltic and to Lyck on the Russian frontier.
Later he proceeded to India as chief engineer and agent to the contractor on the southern extension of the Great Indian Peninsula Railway, and in the early "seventies" was occupied in locating, with a staff of engineers, a portion of the Honduras Railway, from Ogos de Agua to Comayagua.
He returned to England in 1871, entering the office again of Sir George Barclay Bruce to assist in the preparation of the Parliamentary plans and survey of the proposed Market Harborough to Worksop-and Nottingham Railway.
On returning to England, he was engaged by Sir George Barclay Bruce in preparing working drawings for the Rio Tinto, Seville, and Huelva Railway, the Huelva Pier, the New Zealand Government Railways, and Parliamentary surveys for railways in Nottinghamshire and Cumberland.
He also visited Holland, and reported on railways to be constructed in the Provinces of Groningen and Friesland.
In 1877 he was occupied for Sir John Wolfe Barry on the length of the Brighton Railway between Lewes and East Grinstead, and in 1880 he made the Parliamentary survey of the Oxted and Groombridge Railway.
In June 1881 he proceeded to Australia to make a survey of the proposed great trunk line across the continent, and returned to England in 1883, when he was connected with the spur line connecting the Whitechapel extension of the Metropolitan Railways with the East London Railway, and the roof over the court-yard of the Royal Exchange.
In 1884 he again entered Sir John Wolfe Barry's service, and from this period to the date of his retirement he was, with the exception of one or two short periods, closely identified with Sir John's undertakings.
He prepared the Parliamentary plans of the Barry Dock and Railway, South Wales, and, when the scheme was authorized, he proceeded to Barry, and was resident engineer during the construction of these works. On their completion, he was appointed engineer to the company, which position he held about four years, and then he became resident engineer successively on the construction of the Middlesbrough and Grangemouth Docks.
He was also engaged on the preparation of the drawings for the new bridge over the River Thames at Kew, and of the plans for the Ballachulish extension of the Callander and Oban Railway.
Owing to advancing years, he retired in 1904, and went to reside at his birthplace — Kendal. He was the author of various Papers and articles on scientific and engineering subjects, and was awarded the Telford Gold Medal and Premium of the Institution of Civil Engineers.
His death took place at his residence at Kendal on 21st February 1909, at the age of seventy-six.
He became a Member of this Institution in 1886. He was a Member of the Institution of Civil Engineers, a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, and a Fellow of the Geological Society.
1909 Obituary 
JOHN ROBINSON, who died at Kendal on the 21st February, was 76 years of age, and for over 50 years had been actively engaged in the construction of important railway and dock works at home and abroad.
Subsequently he served as assistant to Mr. William Baker on the widening works of the London and North Western Railway.
In 1858 he returned to Scotland where he was occupied for 6 years in connection with the construction of railways now principally forming part of the Highland and Great North of Scotland systems, the latter part of the time having charge of the works as Resident Engineer of the first 40 miles of the Forres and Aviemore line.
In 1864 he joined the staff of the late Sir George Barclay Bruce and was sent as resident engineer to take charge of a section of the East Prussian Railway between Konigsberg and Pillau on the Baltic and Lyck on the Russian frontier.
He also saw service in India as Chief Engineer, and agent to the contractor on the southern extension of the Great Indian Peninsula Railway, and in 1870 was occupied in locating with a staff of engineers, for Messrs. Waring Brothers, a portion of the Honduras Railway, from Ogos de Agua to Comayagua.
Early in 1872 he was appointed by Sir John Wolfe Barry chief of his staff, in connection with the laying out and construction o€ the Buenos Apes and Rosario Railwa,y, and when that work was abandoned in 1874 he rejoined Sir George Barclay Bruce, for whom he prepared working drawings for the Rio Tinto, Seville, and Huelva, Railway, the Huelva Pier, and New Zealand Government Railways; and surveys for railways in Nottinghamshire and Cumberland. He also visited Holland, and reported on railways to be constructed in the Provinces of Groningen and Friesland.
From 1877 to 1881 he was occupied in the construction of the Lewes and East Grinstead Railway and the survey for the Oxted and Groombridge branch of the Brighton Railway for Sir John Wolfe Barry. In the latter year he went to Australia to make a survey of the proposed great trunk line across the continent from Brisbane to the Gulf of Carpentaria.
He rejoined the staff of Sir John Wolfe Barry in 1883, in which service, with some intervals, he remained until his retirement from professional pursuits in1 904, being closely identified with Sir John’s undertakings, especially the dock works at Barry, South Wales. On the completion of the first Barry dock in 1889 he was appointed engineer to the company, which position he held for about 4 years.
He afterwards, in 1898, acted as Resident Engineer for Sir John Wolfe Barry during part of the time of construction of important extensions of the docks at Middlesbrough and Grangemouth; and was also engaged on the preparation of the drawings for the new bridge over the River Thames at Kew, and of the plans for the Ballachulish extension of the Callander and Oban Railway. On his retirement, owing to advancing years, in 1904, he went to reside at his birthplace, Kendal.
For his account of the Barry dock works, read and discussed at The Institution in 1890, he was awarded a Telford Medal and Premium.
In 1893 he contributed another Paper on the Barry graving-docks.
Mr. Robinson had a thorough knowledge of his profession, especially in regard to geodetic surveying and in the practical execution of important works. He was of a retiring disposition, but his sterling qualities and kindly and helpful nature were highly appreciated by his professional colleagues and friends.
He was a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and the Geological Society and a Member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.
Mr. Robinson was elected an Associate of The Institution on the 6th March, 1886, and was transferred to the class of Members on the 30th April, 1872.