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British Industrial History

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James Whitcher

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James Whitcher (1871-1953) of Kennedy and Donkin

1953 Obituary [1]

We have learned with regret of the death, on January 12th, of Mr. James Whitcher, of 7, Manor Road, Ruislip, Middlesex.

Until his retirement in 1947, Mr. Whitcher was senior electrical engineer on the staff of Messrs. Kennedy and Donkin, consulting engineers.

James Whitcher was born on April 10, 1871, and was educated at private schools on the Isle of Wight and at Finsbury College and King's College, London.

He spent a period of practical training with J. D. F. Andrews and Co., of Westminster, and was then, for a few years, a supervising engineer with Messrs. Lea and Warren. In that position he was engaged mainly on the steam and electrical equipment of factories in various parts of the country.

In October, 1902, Mr. Whitcher joined the design engineering staff of the British Thomson Houston Company, Ltd. He remained with the firm for the next seventeen years, during which time he was concerned with the design of apparatus and the planning of station and switchgear layouts and systems.

Mr. Whitcher was appointed to the staff of Messrs. Kennedy and Donkin in 1919, and, as the firm's senior electrical engineer, dealt principally with research and design matters. He was called upon for advice in connection with contracts that involved the application of new electrical developments. In his early years with Kennedy and Donkin Mr. Whitcher was closely concerned with the electrification of the south-eastern section of the Southern Railway. Other work to which he gave much attention was that associated with the design of substations and transmission lines for the Central Electricity Board.

Mr. Whitcher retired from active participation in the practice of Kennedy and Donkin in 1947, though he was retained as one of the firm's consultants. He was elected an Associate Member of the Institution of Electrical Engineers in 1902 and a Member in 1934.

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