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British Industrial History

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John Bowden (1872-1948)

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John Bowden (1872-1948)

1920s: Chief Superintendent at Woolwich Arsenal

1950 Obituary [1]

"Lt.-Colonel JOHN BOWDEN, C.V.O., O.B.E., who was born in 1872, received his education at Cranleigh School and the Durham College of Science, Newcastle upon Tyne.

After serving his apprenticeship in the same city with Messrs. Robert Stephenson and Company, Ltd., from 1890 to 1895, he held temporary positions in the drawing office of Messrs. Sharp Stewart and Company, and in the locomotive shops of the North Eastern Railway at Gateshead. He then went to Rugby to become assistant and resident engineer in charge of electric traction contracts for the British Thomson-Houston Company, Ltd.

He resigned this post after six years and joined the staff of the London County Council as rolling-stock engineer, with responsibility to the chief officer of tramways for the design, construction, and maintenance of all service vehicles. An engagement as manager of the Neasden Works of the Metropolitan Railway followed in 1911. During the war of 1914-18 he was first attached to the Ministry of Munitions and held office as superintending engineer for the north-west area. Subsequently he was commissioned in the Royal Engineers and proceeded to France, where he was deputy assistant director of railways and in command of six companies with the rank of lieutenant-colonel. After his demobilization in 1919 he was, for two years, deputy controller to the Disposal Board, and, for a brief period, was engaged at Woolwich Arsenal as chief superintendent of ordnance factories, on the reorganization of all manufacturing resources and equipment and their reduction to a peace-time footing.

Since 1923 he had been in practice as a consulting engineer on his own account, in which capacity his many-sided activities included those of assessor and expert witness at the Royal Courts of Justice. Colonel Bowden, whose death occurred on 20th December 1948, was elected an Associate Member of the Institution in 1903, and was transferred to Membership in 1914. He was also a Member of the Institution of Civil Engineers."

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