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British Industrial History

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Frederick Henry Ricketts

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Frederick Henry Ricketts (1837-1874)

1875 Obituary [1]

Frederick Henry Ricketts was born in London on 16th April 1837.

Showing at an early age a taste and aptitude for the profession of engineer, and being desirous of acquiring a fundamental knowledge of its details, he first served for a year in the iron-shipbuilding yard of Messrs. Day and Summers at Northam, Southampton; and thence went as a pupil to Messrs. Liddell and Gordon, civil engineers, Westminster, under whom he afterwards acted as Resident Engineer over different railway works then in progress in South Wales, and also assisted in laying the submarine telegraph from Candia to Athens.

He was afterwards employed by Messrs. Forde and Fleeming Jenkin in superintending the construction of the waterworks at Rouen in France, and assisted them in the completion of various scientific apparatus.

His next and last employment was under Messrs. Siemens Brothers, for whom he laid the Orkney and Shetland telegraph cables, and aided in designing their new works at Charlton and their steamship the "Faraday."

After a visit to North America to make preliminary arrangements for the laying of the Direct United States cable, he proceeded early in 1874 to Brazil, to lay a cable from Rio de Janeiro to the southern frontier of the empire ; and had completed three out of the four sections of which it was to consist, when the stranding and wreck of the "Gomos" at Rio Grande, with the remainder of the cable on board, unfortunately suspended the operations. He returned to England, and was proceeding again to Brazil with a fresh supply of cable for the completion of that work, when his career was cut short in the 38th year of his age by the lamentable foundering of the "La Plata" off Ushant in the gale of 29th November 1874.

He became a Member of the Institution in 1874.

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