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Charles Harcourt White

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Charles Harcourt White (c1820-1884)

1885 Obituary [1]

CHARLES HARCOURT WHITE was the only son of Lieutenant Abraham Harcourt White, R.N., who died at the age of thirty from the effects of a wound received in action.

He was born at Ilfracombe, and on the completion of his education was articled to Mr. George Bush, M.Inst.C.E., at that time Engineer to the Taff Vale Railway. Mr. Bush died in 1842, and Harcourt White was transferred to his successor, Mr. William Gravatt, M.Inst.C.E., with whom he remained until 1846, when he went to the Dublin Board of Works as engineer in charge of the Baronies Barugh and Tirhugh, Co. Donegal, remaining in Ireland about eighteen months.

He then took a temporary appointment under Mr. William Haywood, M.Inst.C.E., to make an underground survey of the City of London, in which difficult and tedious work he acquitted himself greatly to his chief's satisfaction.

In 1852 Mr. White went to Portugal, and was engaged on the Central Peninsula railway in that country; at first in getting up the surveys, and afterwards with Messrs. Waring and Shaw, the contractors. Mr. White remained in Portugal many yeas, accepting, on the completion of his engagement with Messrs. Waring, the post of Engineer to the Portuguese Government on the same line.

In 1860 he was engaged, under Mr. Valentine, M.Inst.C.E., in getting up the surveys of the South-Eastern Railway of Portugal, and then became engineer and agent to Mr. Edward Price, Assoc. Inst. C.E., the contractor for that line.

In 1863 he went to Turkey for Mr. McCandlish, but in the following year returned to Portugal for Messrs. Waring, though on this occasion but for a short time, as his services were afterwards required on the survey and construction of the railway in Honduras.

Mr. White's last engagement for Messrs. Waring was on railway surveys in Transylvania. During his long association of nearly twenty years with this firm, he gained the highest esteem of his employers, his loyalty and unswerving integrity engendering a respect which became mutual.

In the last ten or twelve years of his life, Mr. White did little in respect of professional employment; not from distaste of work, but from the fact that his long residence abroad had prevented his undoubted skill and talent from being known, where it was most likely to be appreciated, so that younger and more pushing men got the preference. His modest and retiring nature moreover rendered him averse from the aggressive self-assertion that seems necessary nowadays for the successful professional man. But no failures of worldly fortune could rob him of the possession of high character and stainless honour. The scanty materials from which this notice has been compiled, consisting mainly of testimonials from his various chiefs, seem to vie with one another in their expression of the personal esteem and good-will of the writers, in such a way as to make it manifest that Charles Harcourt White was a worthy scion of a good stock.

He was elected an Associate Member on the 5th of April, 1864, and died suddenly, of heart-disease, on the 27th of September, 1884.

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