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Samuel Alexander Kirkby

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Samuel Alexander Kirkby (1845-1927)

1927 Obituary[1]


The death of Mr. Samuel Alexander Kirkby, at his residence at 11,. Alleyn-park, West Dulwich, London, S.E.21, on January 29 last, removes from our midst a civil engineer who spent most of his active life in Ireland, where he was engaged in connection with various important public works. Mr. Kirkby was born on June 21, 1845, and received his early education at Heversham Grammar School, and at Liverpool College. Upon leaving school, at the age of 18, he entered the Vauxhall Foundry, Liverpool, where he served a pupilage of five years. In 1869 Mr. Kirkby proceeded to Cambridge University and, two years later, he graduated in the Mathematical Tripos, subsequently receiving the M.A. degree. After serving as assistant to the late Sir John Fowler for a period of sixteen months, Mr. Kirkby obtained, in 1872, in open competitive examination, the appointment of County Surveyor of Longford, Ireland. Two years later he was transferred to the eastern district of County Cork, where he remained until his retirement some years ago. In addition to his duties as County Surveyor he conducted a private practice, and among the works designed and carried out by him were the Kinsale bridge, the Youghal bridge, sea wall and waterworks, the Schull and Skibbereen Light Railway, the Midleton waterworks, the Kanturk and Newmarket Railway, the Queenstown waterworks, together with the extension to Haulbowline Dockyard, and the Cork and Muskerry Light Railway.

The Kinsale bridge, the building of which was begun in 1877, is 1,278 ft. long. It is constructed of continuous lattice girders, and is supported on screw piles 65 ft. long. The structure also comprises a swing bridge 102 ft. in length, used for navigation purposes, and supported on one cast-iron cylinder, 20 ft. in diameter. This bridge spans the tidal river Bandon, and cost 26,OOOZ. to erect. The Youghal bridge, which is of somewhat similar construction, was built during the years from 1878 to 1881. It spans the tidal section of the river Blackwater, and is 1,809 ft. in length ; it was constructed to replace Nimmo’s celebrated timber bridge. The structure is composed of lattice girders supported on 6-ft. cylinders and screw piles; it includes also a swing bridge 100 ft. long, used for navigation. The cost of this structure was 36,000Z. The Youghall sea wall was built in 1882, and the Schull and Skibbereen Light Railway, which is 13 miles long, was constructed during the years from 1884 to 1885. Mr. J. W. Dorman, M.Inst.C.E., collaborated in the latter work. The Kanturk and Newmarket Railway, which took two years to build, was commenced in 1886 ; it is 9 miles in length and is now a branch line of the Great Southern and Western Railway. The works included a bridge over the river Blackwater, and the total cost of the undertaking was 60,000/. The Queenstown waterworks were commenced in 1898 and occupied four years to construct; the gravitation scheme carried out involved an expenditure of 23,000/. The extension of the Queenstown waterworks to Haulbowline Dockyard was accomplished by laying a line of submerged pipes, 1,200 ft. in length, across the harbour, 80 ft. below high-water spring tides.

Mr. Kirby was elected a member of the Institution of Civil Engineers in April 7, 1903. He gained a Whitworth Exhibition in 1868, and, in 1871, while still at Cambridge University, he was awarded a Whitworth Scholarship."

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