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British Industrial History

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David Stewart Dykes

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David Stewart Dykes (1830-1857) of Humphrys, Tennant and Dykes

1858 Obituary [1]

MR. DAVID STEWART DYKES was born in London on the 15th September, 1830.

When only seven years of age, he lost his father, Mr. David Dykes, of Calcutta.

In 1848, he was articled to Mr E. Humphrys, M. Inst. C.E., serving his pupillage partly at the works of Messrs. Rennie, and partly at the Royal Dockyard, Woolwich, as a mechanical engineer.

After the expiration of his pupillage, and for about two years and a-half, he was engaged in designing, and subsequently in the construction of steam engines and machinery, spending part of the time in the works of Messrs. R. Napier and Sons, and Messrs. Neilson and Co., in Scotland, with Messrs. Harvey and Co., in Cornwall, and part, afloat, in the service of the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company.

In 1852, he commenced business on his own account, as a partner in the firm of Messrs. Humphrys, Tennant, and Dykes, marine engineers, Deptford Pier, taking an active share in the direction of the works.

In the beginning of the year 1857, he became a Director of the Thames Iron Works, at Blackwall, with the object of constructing iron vessels.

The accident which terminated his enterprising and prosperous career occurred on the 5th November, 1857, while he was driving a horse which he was trying. When near Austin-friars the animal started off; but Mr. Dykes, fully retaining his self-possession, adroitly managed the horse, so as to escape contact with several vehicles coming towards him. Unhappily, however, the horse, swerving at the corner of Winchester Street, dashed the carriage against a post with such force as to throw Mr. Dykes on to the stones, and to produce concussion of the brain. He partially retained consciousness until the evening, when he became insensible, and continued so until his death, which took place on the following Sunday evening, the 8th November, 1857.

His character was marked by great intelligence, activity, energy, and enterprise. Though removed at the early age of twenty-seven years, he had a large circle of friends, by whom he was much esteemed, and who looked forward with great interest to his advancement in his profession. He leaves a widow, daughter of the late Dr. Buxton.

He joined the Institution as an Associate in 1856, and, had he been spared, would doubtless have become a useful and valuable member.

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