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British Industrial History

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Robert Wickham Willis

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Robert Wickham Willis (1883-1941)

1941 Obituary [1]

ROBERT WICKHAM WILLIS was born on the 24th March, 1883, and died on the 25th January, 1941.

He received his general education at Silcoates School, Wakefield, and Manchester Grammar School, following which he took a 2-years' day course in electrical engineering at Manchester School of Technology and subsequently attended evening classes for 5 years.

From August, 1900, to July, 1905, he served a 5-years' apprenticeship with Messrs. Mather and Platt, and then obtained an appointment as switchgear attendant in the Salford Corporation Electricity Department, shortly afterwards being promoted to Assistant Standardizing Engineer and Assistant Mains Engineer.

From January, 1907, to November, 1911, he was Chief Assistant in the Perth Corporation Electric Light and Tramways Department and was then appointed Deputy Engineer in the Swindon Corporation Electric Light and Tramways Department, where he was responsible for the running of the power station and the preparation of plans for various extensions.

In September, 1913, he was appointed Principal Assistant to Mr. Robert A. Smith in his consulting practice at Westminster and was engaged on schemes for electric supply undertakings.

In December, 1915, he joined the staff of Messrs. Kennedy and Donkin. He left that firm a year later to join the staff of Mr. C. H. Wordingham, then Director of Electrical Engineering at the Admiralty. Shortly after the conclusion of the Great War, when Mr. Wordingham set up in practice as a consulting engineer, Mr. Willis became one of his assistants.

He joined The Institution as a Student in 1904, and was elected an Associate Member in 1908 and a Member in 1919.

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