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Charles Dick

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Charles Dick (1838-1888) of the Crewe Works

1888 Obituary [1]

CHARLES DICK was born at Broughty Ferry, near Dundee, on the 29th of December, 1838.

After receiving some education at the village school, he was apprenticed in 1854 to the late Mr. James How at Monifieth Foundry, near Dundee, for five years, at the end of which time he endeavoured to gain further experience in the marine-engine shops of Messrs. J. and G. Thompson, at Glasgow, and subsequently in those of Messrs. James Jack and Co., at Liverpool.

In August, 1860, he obtained employment in the locomotive works of the London and North Western Railway Company at Crewe in one of the erecting shops. Whilst engaged as a workman, he sought to improve and expand his mind by constant attendance at the Mechanics’ Institution, where he ultimately gained distinction, first as a pupil, and then as a teacher, in the drawing and scientific classes.

It was not long before his ability attracted the attention of the present Locomotive Superintendent, Mr. F. W. Webb, M. Inst. C.E., who was then Manager of the works. He selected young Dick to assist temporarily in the drawing-office during pressure of work, and in 1863 transferred him permanently to that department. So well did the new-comer acquit himself there, that in 1871 he was appointed to succeed Mr. Hampf as chief draughtsman.

Eight years later, it having been decided that the whole of the work in connection with the signalling department, which had previously been contracted for, should in future be carried out at Crewe, Mr. Dick was placed in charge of that department, as Superintendent, and under Mr. Webb’s direction, many large and important arrangements were inaugurated for the signalling on the London and North Western Railway Company’s system.

In January, 1882, Mr. Dick was appointed Manager of the Crewe works in succession to Mr. T. W. Worsdell, M. Inst. C.E., who left to take charge of the Great Eastern Railway Company’s Locomotive Department at Stratford.

The duties of this position he discharged in such a manner as to merit not only the confidence of his immediate superior, but also of all who worked under him, until failing health compelled him to seek rest and change. He went to Southport, but unfortunately took a severe chill there, and returned worse than he had left. Weakness of the chest and kidney disease combined to bring about his end, which took place on the 2nd of June, 1888, at the early age of fifty.

Mr. Dick was a Justice of the Peace for the borough of Crewe, and Chairman of the Works Committee of the Town Council, as well as holding the office of Senior Vice-President of the Mechanics’ Institution, from which in younger days he had derived so much benefit. His career affords another example of how a man, springing from humble surroundings, may, by indomitable energy and perseverance, combined with intelligence and shrewdness, raise himself to a position of influence and command.

Mr. Dick, by his marriage with a daughter of Mr. Thomas Gee, of Crewe, who predeceased him, left a family of three sons and one daughter.

He was elected an Associate Member of the Institution on the 4th of May, 1886.

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