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British Industrial History

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Charles Le Maistre

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Charles Delacour Le Maistre (1874-1953), Director of the British Standards Institution

1953 Obituary [1]

WE regret to have to record the death of Mr. Charles Le Maistre, of Lea Gate House, Bramley, Surrey, which occurred on July 5th. Mr. Le Maistre was in his eightieth year, and, until his retirement in 1942 he was the Director of the British Standards Institution, with the work of which body he had been closely associated since its inception in 1901.

Charles Le Maistre was born in Jersey in 1874 and received his early education at a school in Brighton. Subsequently, he studied at the Central Technical College in South Kensington, and was trained as an electrical engineer.

When the Engineering Standards Committee was formed in 1901 Le Maistre was working as an assistant to Mr. Leslie Robertson, who was appointed secretary to the committee. Mr. Robertson's office at 28, Victoria Street, Westminster, was used as the headquarters of the Standards Committee, and there was begun the work to which Charles Le Maistre devoted the remainder of his engineering career.

In 1902, Le Maistre was appointed electrical assistant secretary to the Engineering Standards Committee in which office he continued until 1916. Following the tragic death of Mr. Robertson, in H.M.S. "Hampshire" in 1916, Le Maistre was appointed secretary to the Standards Committee, the name of which was changed in 1918 to the British Engineering Standards Association.

When, in 1929, the B.E.S.A. was incorporated as the British Standards Institution, Mr. Le Maistre became the first director.

He retired from that office in 1942, though he remained with the B.S.I. for a further year to serve as chairman of the executive committee.

In addition to his work in the establishment of standards in this country, Mr. Le Maistre took a prominent part in the work of international standardisation. As long ago as 1904, he was appointed general Secretary of the International Electrotechnical Commission, an office which he continued to hold up to the time of his death. He also took a large share of the work involved in the formation of the United Nations Standards Co-ordinating Committee, and served as its secretary until its dissolution in 1946 to make way for the International Organisation for Standardisation.

Mr. Le Maistre s International interests also included the field of documentation, and from 1946 to 1951 he was president of the International Federation for Documentation. In addition, he was for many years a member of the Council of Aslib, serving as chairman in 1949 and 1950.

Although Mr. Le Maistre was primarily an electrical engineer, his work for the British Standards Institution naturally brought him into touch with many branches of industry. He was a member of the Institution of Electrical Engineers for over fifty years, a member of the American Institute of Electrical Engineers, and an honorary member of the Royal Dutch Institution of Engineers. Mr. Le Maistre received his C.B.E. for his services in connection with standardisation during the first world war. Another honour bestowed upon him was that of Knight Commander of the Royal Swedish Order of Vasa.

1953 Obituary [2]

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