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Charles Michael Jopling

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Charles Michael Jopling (1820-1863)


1864 Obituary [1]

MR. CHARLES MICHAEL JOPLING, second son of Joseph Jopling, Senior|Mr. Joseph Jopling]], Architect, was born in London on the 30th of March, 1820, and there he continued to reside until the age of fifteen, when he accompanied his father on a visit to examine and report on the slate-quarries of Wales, and those of Kirkby Ireleth, in the north of Lancashire, made at the request of the Earl of Burlington, now the Duke of Devonshire, who was desirous to increase the amount of slate obtained from his own quarries at Kirkby Ireleth, and at the same time to facilitate the transit to the shipping port.

The improvements which were then suggested were afterwards carried out, under the direction of Mr. Joseph Jopling, who, in order to be near the works, removed from London to Furness Abbey, where he remained till 1843.

During his residence in Furness, Charles Jopling was engaged in making studies with his elder brother for the then proposed tramway, or railway, from the slate-works to Barrow and Pier Harbours, in conjunction with a line to unite the iron-ore mines and other products of the district.

About the same time it was proposed to enclose Morecambe Bay and the estuary of the Duddon, by constructing a railway from Lancaster to Whitehaven; Capt. Sir H. Senhouse, R.N., taking an active part in the projected undertaking, and C. M. Jopling being employed, with others, in making studies, under the direction of Mr. Hague, C.E.

During his leisure hours, the young Engineer delighted in examining the many objects of interest surrounding his home, and the beautiful ruins of Furness Abbey were correctly measured, and drawings made of every part, some of which have found a place in a valuable work, - 'Annales Furnesienses. History and Antiquities of the Abbey of Furness, by Thomas Alcock Beck, Esq.,' published in 1844, for which he received the Author’s thanks.

His interest in geology attracted the attention of the Earl of Burlington, who gave him the work by Sir Henry de la Beche, as a present from Lady Burlington, encouraged him in his studies, and also contributed to his small work, called 'Furness and Cartmel, for the use of Visitors,' published in 1843.

On returning to London in 1843, he was for some time engaged under Mr. Simpson (Past President Inst. C.E.), and also under Mr. Lynde (M. Inst. C.E.), and at a later period he was with Messrs. Stephenson, Brassey, and Mackenzie, during the construction of the railway from Kendal to Windermere.

From that place he moved to the works in the neighbourhood of Carlisle, and afterwards to Scotland, as far as Inverness, travelling over many projected lines of railway in England ; his geological knowledge giving him great facility in ascertaining the nature of the work required in the proposed lines.

In 1844, a letter written by him to Mr. George Godwin, F.R.S., on the remains ascribed to the era of the Druids in Furnese, was communicated to the Society of Antiquaries, and was afterwards published in the 'Archteologia, or Vetusta Monumenta.'

In connection with Mr. Fell he contracted for the construction of part of the railway between Ulverston and Dalton and Broughton in Furness, and at a subsequent period he undertook the Dutton Viaduct, together with some miles of railway on towards Whitehaver, to connect the Furness with the West Cumberland Railways. In this his elder brother joined him, and remained in connection with him up to the time of his decease.

Upon the completion of these works in 1851, he went to Italy to examine the route of a proposed railway from Rome to Ancona. The first work upon which he was actually engaged in Italy was the railway from Genoa to Voltri, which will form part of the main line along the coast of the Mediterranean, from Marseilles to Civita Vecchia.

After leaving Genoa, he went to reside in Florence, and took an active part in the commencement and construction of the railways from Piacenza to Bologna, and thence to Florence, as partner in the firm of Messrs Jackson, Brassey, Fell, and Jopling, contractors.

On the breaking out of the Italian wars, he brought his family to England, but returned himself to Italy; and during that period he was much in Tuscany, superintending the completion of the line between Pistoja and Lucca, in consequence of the death of his younger brother, who had charge of it.

About this period he employed a competent scholar to make a transcript from the marginal notes of Savonarola, in the Magliabecchi Library at Florence.

After the peace, a concession was granted for a railway from Leghorn to the boundary of the Papal States, near Civita Vecchia, called the 'Maremma Railway.' The contract was given to Messrs. Brassey and Co.; Messrs. C. M. Jopling and C. Jones acting as the principal agents. The first sod was cut at Leghorn by Baron Ricasoli, on the 28th day of February, 1861, and nearly 100 miles of the line were made in less than two years; the contractors executing all the working drawings, subject to the approval of the Government, Engineers-at one time upwards of ten thousand men were employed upon the works.

Towards the close of 1862, Mr. Jopling’s health began rapidly to fail ; the principal cause of its decline being repeated attacks of malaria fever, which he had caught some years previously in the vicinity of Rome, and from the effects of which he eventually died at Leghorn on the 20th February, 1863. His affable and pleasing manners, united with an extremely amiable and generous character, had gained him the affection of all who knew him. He was buried in the Protestant cemetery at Florence, by the side of his younger brother, Samuel, who bad been laid there only a few years previously.

Mr. Charles M. Jopling was elected an Associate of the Institution of Civil Engineers on the 11th of March, 1845 ; and whenever the opportunity presented itself, he never failed to attend the Meetings, and to take advantage of the other facilities offered by the Institution.


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