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British Industrial History

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Perry Fairfax Nursey

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Perry Fairfax Nursey (c1831-1907) of 17 Victoria Street, Westminster, SW. London (1899) (1902).

1886 President of the Society of Engineers

1907 Obituary [1]

PERRY FAIRFAX NURSEY died on June 20, 1907, after a short illness, at the age of seventy-six.

For nearly fifty years he was closely associated with the Society of Engineers, of which he was President in 1886, and honorary secretary and treasurer from 1899 to 1904, and, subsequently, secretary, which office he filled at the time of his death.

He received his technical training in the office of the late Mr. John Addison, civil engineer, Westminster, where he served six years. In 1851 he was engaged in superintending some works of building and construction, and from 1852-57 further enlarged his experience as a secretary and assistant engineer of mines in Devon and Cornwall.

He returned to railway work in 1858 as a member of the staff of the late Mr. C. W. Ramie, of Westminster, and from 1862-64 he was with Messrs. Ordish & Lefeuvre, who did extensive work in connection with bridge, roof, and other constructional engineering. It was about this time that he commenced his literary work, and at the beginning of 1865 he became editor of the old Mechanic's Magazine.

In 1879, after fifty-six years of valuable work in the development of engineering, this publication was incorporated with Iron. He wrote extensively for Engineering, and was the editor and manager of Iron from 1879 until 1893, when that paper became associated with Industries. Both papers ceased to exist several years ago. Mr. Nursey was also the technical correspondent of the Times for many years. During his journalistic and secretarial work he continued his private practice as a consulting engineer, and Was retained in several important patent cases.

He was for some time engineer in England to a German firm of dynamite manufacturers, and he did considerable work abroad. He carried out important blasting operations, including the removal of rocks in connection with the improvement of the harbour at Jersey, and at Douglas, in the Isle of Man. He also chambered bore-holes 5 inches in diameter in chalk at depths of over 400 feet from the surface by blasting under heads of from 200 feet to 300 feet of water for the tapping of water supplies.

In 1890 he removed the bases of several cast-iron columns in the bed of the Thames at Wapping by blasting, and by the same means one of the large masonry bridges over the Great Western Railway in the Sonning Cutting, near Reading, was removed when the line was being widened.

He read many papers on engineering subjects to his own Society, and one on the production of metallic bars of any section by extrusion at high temperature, to the Iron and Steel Institute in 1896. He was elected a member of the Iron and Steel Institute in 1880. A portrait of Mr. Nursey and a lengthy obituary notice, from which these particulars have been borrowed, was published in Engineering, of June 28, 1907.

1907 Obituary [2]

....Mr. Nursey was trained, so we believe, as a civil engineer in Ordish's office, but from a comparatively early date he seems to have been drawn to the literary side of his profession and he acted at one time as the editor of the Mechanics Magazine and subsequently of "Iron"....[more]

1907 Obituary [3]

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