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British Industrial History

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Bernard Pemberton Ellis

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Bernard Pemberton Ellis (1875-1949)

1949 Obituary [1]

"IT is with much regret that we have to record the death of Mr. Bernard Pemberton Ellis, on September 14th, at the age of seventy-four. Mr. Ellis was first, in 1899, an assistant to Sir Alexander Rendel, and continued in the firm, known later as Messrs. Rendel and Robertson, and Messrs. Rendel, Palmer and Tritton, until 1948, thus completing nearly fifty years' service. During that time he was responsible for large quantities of railway material made for India in this country and the Continent and became well known to most manufacturers of locomotives and rolling stock. Mr. Ellis was educated at Rugby School and served an apprenticeship with Belliss and Morcom, Ltd., Birmingham.

In 1896 he was with Messrs. Thwaites Brothers, of Bradford, engaged in the drawing office and on outside work in connection with highspeed engine trials. In 1899, as already mentioned, he joined the staff of inspectors of Messrs. Rendel, Palmer and Tritton, on locomotive, carriage and wagon work. After a period in this work, which took him to many countries overseas, including Russia, he was appointed personal assistant to Sir Seymour Tritton in charge of design and supervision of construction of railway rolling stock. Since 1925 the work of which he had charge included the standardisation of the stock of Indian Railways and the programme of conversion of Indian locomotives to superheated steam.

During the second world war Mr. Ellis was responsible for the inspection of contracts for War Department locomotives and gave valuable assistance to many Government Departments. In April, 1946, he was made a consultant to the firm, but soon illness forced him to discontinue regular work and he finally retired in March, 1948.

Mr. Ellis was elected a Member of the Institution of Civil Engineers in 1931." [2]

1950 Obituary [3]

"BERNARD PEMBERTON ELLIS, whose death occurred in London on 14th September 1949, was well known in the locomotive and rolling-stock building industry, and had been associated with the firm of Messrs. Rendel, Palmer and Tritton, Westminster, consulting engineers, for nearly fifty years.

He was born in Birmingham in 1875, and, on leaving Rugby School in 1892, began to serve a four years' premium apprenticeship at the engineering works of Messrs. Belliss and Morcom, Ltd., of Birmingham, and in the meanwhile attended classes at the Central Technical College in that city. After gaining experience in the drawing office of Messrs. Thwaites Brothers, of Bradford, for whom he was also engaged on outside work in connection with high-speed engine trials, he began in 1899, his long connection with Messrs. Rendel, Palmer and Tritton with the post of inspector of locomotives and rolling stock.

He was promoted to be head resident inspector at the Westminster head office in 1904, and five years later he became personal assistant to Sir Seymour Tritton. Prior to this date he had been responsible for the execution of an important contract for rails and permanent way in Russia. From 1910 Mr. Ellis was entrusted with the entire control of the firm's rolling-stock department, and for some years was in charge of the design and supervision of equipment of many types, and for four different gauges, for Indian and other railways. From 1915 to 1919 similar work was undertaken for the War Office and Ministry of Munitions. After 1925 his activities were also directed to the standardization of carriage and wagon stock for the Indian railways and the conversion of locomotives in India to the use of superheated steam. During the war of 1939-45 he rendered valuable services to the War Office, the Ministries of Supply and Aircraft production, and other Government departments. The supply of new materials and replacements for India after the war also entailed much strenuous work on his part. He was appointed consultant to his firm in April 1946, but ill health obliged him to retire two years later. Mr. Ellis was elected an Associate Member of the Institution in 1903 and was transferred to Membership in 1911. He was also a Member of the Institution of Civil Engineers."

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