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British Industrial History

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William Henry Willatt

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William Henry Willatt (c1868-1942)

1942 Obituary [1]

WILLIAM HENRY WILLATT, whose death occurred on 21st February 1942, in his seventy-fourth year, was elected a Member of the Institution in 1901. He served a premium apprenticeship with Messrs. Earle's Shipbuilding and Engineering Company, Ltd., of Hull, and during the same period he completed his technical education, qualifying with honours in naval architecture. Subsequently he remained in the service of the firm as draughtsman and gained experience in the design and construction of dynamos and electrical motors for ships (including some of the earliest motors used in the Royal Navy), and later, inaugurated the electrical department.

In 1901 he began his long association with Messrs. Reckitt and Sons, Ltd., of Hull, which lasted for over thirty years. His first appointment was that of engineer and works manager, in which capacity he supervised the electrification of the firm's various works in Hull. He joined the board of directors in 1914, retiring from active administration in 1928, and from the board in 1934. During the last twenty years of his life he resided at Reighton, near Filey. Mr. Willatt possessed a considerable amount of experience in the design of packing machinery, and was manager of his firm's tin canister factory, the largest of its kind in the country. In addition he was a member of the Tin Box Trade Board and of the Card Box Trade Board.

He held a commission in the Fortress and Field Companies, East Riding Territorial Force of the Royal Engineers, and was for several years a member of the technical instruction committee of Hull Corporation, which undertook the establishment of the Municipal Technical College. He was appointed a Justice of the Peace for Hull in 1919.

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