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Thomas Forster Brown

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Thomas Forster Brown (1835-1907) of Forster Brown and Rees

1908 Obituary [1]

THOMAS FORSTER BROWN died at Richmond, Yorkshire, on the 23rd October, 1907, in his 73rd year. As head of the firm of Forster Brown and Rees, of Cardiff, he was well known throughout South Wales and the country generally as a mining expert and consulting engineer of prominent rank.

Born at Garrigill, Cumberland, in 1835, he served his pupilage to the late Mr. T. E. Forster, under whom he gained practical experience of metalliferous mines and collieries in Northumberland and Durham.

In 1855, he became Assistant Manager or Resident Viewer of the Stella Collieries, and 3 years later he was appointed Manager of the Machen Collieries, Monmouthshire, which position he held until 1865. By his advice the Rhos Llantwit Colliery was opened up, and he acted as Engineer to the Company until the pit was exhausted and abandoned about 1890.

In 1865, the post of Deputy Gaveller or Mineral Agent for the Crown in the Forest of Dean becoming vacant, Mr. Brown was offered the appointment, and held it until 1903, the office of Crown Receiver being added in 1887. At the end of 1866 Mr. Brown, being then established in South Wales, entered into partnership with his friend, the late Mr. Samuel Dobson, practising as Dobson and Brown at Cardiff.

After the death of Mr. Dobson, Mr. G. F. Adams entered the firm, and on his decease Mr. I. T. Bees, and at a later date Mr. Westgarth Forster Brown and Mr. C. S. Morris, were taken into partnership, the style of the firm becoming Forster Brown and Rees.

Mr. Forster Brown took a prominent part in the industrial development of South Wales, being associated both personally and through his firm with many important mining, dock, and railway enterprises in the district. His firm were entrusted with the sinking and equipment of the Great Western, Deep Navigation, Windsor, and North’s Navigation Caerau Collieries, and with the opening up of Messrs. Bolckow, Vaughan and Company’s new Colliery at Ferry Hill, in the County of Durham. They were also engineers for the Maesteg and Cymmer, and Ely Valley Railway branches of the Vale of Glamorgan Railway.

Mr. Brown acted as joint engineer with Sir John Wolfe Barry and Mr. Brunel for the construction of the Barry Docks, and he was also joint engineer for the Port Talbot Railway and Docks, completed in 1900.

In 1888 he was Chairman of the Monmouthshire and South Wales Coal Owners’ Association, and was a member of the Sliding Scale Committee for the regulation of coal-miners’ wages for many years.

In 1890 he succeeded the late Sir Warrington Smyth as Chief Mineral Inspector to the Commissioner of Woods and Forests, and in the same year he was selected as Mineral Inspector to the Prince of Wales. Mr. Forster Brown twice served the office of President of the South Wales Institute of Engineers, and he also presided twice over the Mining Association of Great Britain, and the Mining Association and Institute of Cornwall. On the occasion of the visit of the British Association to Cardiff in 1891, he was Chairman of the Mechanical section, and read a Paper on the coal question.

In 1898 he was elected a Member of Council of The Institution, and continued to serve on that body until 1902. In 1881, in conjunction with Mr. G. F. Adams, he read a Paper before The Institution on the “Deep Winning of Coal in South Wales” for which the Authors were each awarded a George Stephenson Medal and a Telford Premium. the 1st December, 1868.

Mr. Forster Brown was elected a Member of The Institution on the 1st December, 1868.

1907 Obituary [2]

THOMAS FORSTER BROWN died at Richmond, Yorkshire, on October 23, 1907, at the age of seventy-three. He was head of the firm of T. Forster Brown & Rees, Cardiff, and as a civil and mining engineer had taken a prominent part in the industrial development of South Wales.

For forty years he was deputy-gaveller (mineral agent) for the Crown in the Forest of Dean, and was one of the joint engineers in the construction of the Barry Dock and Railways, and also of the Vale of Glamorgan Railway. He was one of the recognised authorities on the geology of the South Wales coalfields, and was a member of the Institution of Civil Engineers, and of the Institution of Mining Engineers, a Fellow of the Geological Society, of the Royal Historical Society, and of the Surveyors' Institute, a Past-President of the South Wales Institute of Engineers, and a member of the Society of Arts and of the Economic Society.

He was elected a member of the Iron and Steel Institute in 1873. He frequently took part in discussions, and was a member of the Reception Committee at the Cardiff meeting in 1897.

1907 Obituary.[3]

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