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Clement Mackrow

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Clement Mackrow (1855-1912) of the Thames Ironworks and Shipbuilding Co

1855 Born the son of George Colby Mackrow


1912 Obituary [1]

IT is with very great regret that we have to record the death of Mr. Clement Mackrow, who was for so many years been connected with the Thames Ironworks and Shipbuilding Company, Limited.

It appears that on Monday evening last Mr. Mackrow was leaving the company's works in his motor car alone. While passing over a level crossing of the Great Eastern Railway at Canning Town his car was crashed into by a goods train which was being shunted, and the unfortunate gentleman was killed instantaneously, his body being terribly mutilated - a lamentably sad ending to a busy and useful life.

The whole of Mr. Mackrow's business career was spent with the Thames Ironworks Company. Following in the footsteps of a distinguished father - the late Mr. G. C. Mackrow - Mr. Clement Mackrow devoted the whole of his energies to the science of shipbuilding, and he achieved marked success. At an early age he entered the drawing-office of the company, working in that position under the immediate supervision of his father. He passed on to the mould loft and the various other departments of the works, and, though we believe there was never an actual apprenticeship, it can be said that he served his time at the works.

For years father and son laboured side by side with one aim in view, the building of first-class ships and the keeping of their company in the foremost ranks of shipbuilding undertakings.

As a sidelight on the character of Mackrow, the younger, we would instance the production of his "Naval Architect's, Shipbuilder's, and Marine Engineer's Pocket-book" which is now in its tenth edition, and is a standard work of its kind. At the early age of eighteen he had found, as has many others before him, the want of a pocket-book which contained within two covers all the ordinary formulae rules, and tables that the shipbuilder requires in following his vocation. The data were in existence, but were scattered through a large number of books, and even some of the most commonly used formulae necessitated tiresome searches and occasioned great waste of time. So the boy - he was but little more - set himself the task of collecting all the available information and of arranging it in a readily accessible form as a small pocket-book. In the preface to the first edition he modestly disclaims originality for any of the material he had brought together, yet, as a fact, he had presented much of it in such new and more readily understood form that he might well have claimed more credit than he did. The compilation of the book occupied the leisure time of four years, so that at the age of twenty-two he was the author of a book which had an immediate sale.

The span of Mr. Mackrow's life included the period of the greatest development in shipbuilding that the world has ever known. In everything, first of all, he and his father, and latterly he by himself, kept well abreast of the times, and we have only to say that their name are identified with such fine warships as the Fuji, the Shikishima, the Albion, the Black Prince, and the Thunderer to show how trus our words are. With the majority of these boats both father and son were concerned, but for the construction of the Thunderer Mr. Clement Mackrow was entirely responsible.

On the death of his father in 1907 Mr. Mackrow was given the post, thus made vacant, of manager of the shipbuilding department of and naval architect to the company - posts which he filled with distinction and held at the time of his death. He always spoke of himself as the manager of the shipbuilding department only, but when the company had to design the vessels it built, he it was who was called upon to do the designing, and in the eyes of his employers, at any rate. the position of naval architect was looked upon as superior to that of manager of his department.

It is not always that a man's ability is to be gauged by his popularity, but in Mr. Mackrow's case this was so. He was liked not only by his directors and his colleagues, but by the foremen and men who worked under him, and, apart altogether from the loss of technical skill occasioned by his death, his untimely end will be most keenly mourned by all the company's servants from the highest to the lowest, as well as by a large circle of friends and acquaintances.

Mr. Markrow was a member of the Institution of Naval Architects, and was lecturer on Naval Architecture at the Bow and Bromley Institution. He was in his 57th year.


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