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British Industrial History

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Joseph Thomas

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Joseph Thomas (1838-1901)

1838 Born in Roche, Cornwall, the son of Joseph Thomas, Senior

1851 Living in Crumplehorn Hamlet, Lansallos, Cornwall: Joseph Thomas (age 38 born Liskeard), Excavator. With his wife Hariett Thomas (age 36 born Truro) and their five children; Joseph Thomas (age 13 born Roche); Edwin Thomas (age 10 born St. Kew); Ann Thomas (age 8 born Liskeard); Nicholas Thomas (age 6 born Liskeard); and Emma Thomas (age 2 born Liskeard).[1]

1902 Obituary [2]

JOSEPH THOMAS, born on the 10th March, 1838, at Roche, in Cornwall, obtained his first engineering experience, under his father, on the construction of the Looe and Moorswater Railway and on the foundations of Looe Harbour and Quay.

He was next employed from 1862 to 1865 by Messrs. George Baker and Sons, contractors, on the construction of Bovisand Fort, near Plymouth, and subsequently from 1865 to 1869 by the Government on the erection of Crown Hill Fort, to the north-east of the same town.

On the completion of that work he was engaged, for Messrs. Waring and Sons, on the construction of a section of the Eastern Hungarian State Railways, and in 1872 he entered the service of the late Sir John Coode, Past-President. Under Sir John Coode Mr. Thomas was engaged on the Easton and Church Hope Railway, Portland, and on the new harbour of St. Helier and the Corbiere Lighthouse in Jersey.

From 1879 to 1881 he was occupied on the construction of the Royal Albert Dock, under Mr. (now Sir Alexander) Rendel, on the conclusion of which work he was appointed an Assistant Engineer in the service of the London and St. Katherine Docks Company.

Under the late Mr. Robert Carr, then Chief Engineer to that company, he was employed on various works, including the erection of engine houses and of a pumping-station for pumping water into the docks. In May, 1884, he was promoted to the post of Resident Engineer, under Mr. Carr, and in that capacity he made the necessary drawings for and carried out the construction of the new entrance to the Royal Albert Dock, the enlargement of the basin, and the extensive blasting operations of blowing up the basin wall to make a connection between the new work and the dock.

On leaving the service of the London and St. Katharine Docks Company Mr. Thomas was engaged on various works at home and abroad, including the Arizona Irrigation Canal, the International Docks at New York, and a deep-water landing pier at Milford Haven.

In 1893 he was placed in charge of the Mevagissey and St. Ives Harbour Works, Cornwall, by Messrs. Coode, Son and Matthews.

During the later years of his life he did much to develop and improve the town of Looe by the construction of the Hannafore approach-road, of the Liskeard and Looe Railway, and of new reservoir and waterworks, by laying out building estates, and by assisting Harbour Commissioners to improve the pier. Mr. Thomas died at Looe on the 14th August, 1901.

He was elected an Associate Member of the Institution on the 7th December, 1886, and was transferred to the class of Members on the 26th November, 1889

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