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British Industrial History

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Ernest Frederic Morant

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Ernest Frederic Morant (1849-1888)

1889 Obituary [1]

ERNEST FREDERIC MORANT, son of Mr. John Edward Morant-Gale, was born on the 29th of July, 1849, at Upham, in Hampshire.

He was educated for the Indian Civil Service, but on reaching full age he resolved to try the more adventurous life of a sheep-farmer in Uruguay. Like many others, he was unfortunate, and in 1873 found himself without capital or employment. Under these circumstances he joined the North Western of Uruguay Railway as an assistant under Mr. W. G. Ferrar, by whom he was afforded every opportunity of acquiring engineering knowledge. Possessed of a keen intellect, he was, within two years, fully competent to undertake the ordinary duties of an assistant engineer, the practical knowledge gained in his uphill experience making his services of far more than ordinary value.

From the North Western of Uruguay Company, Mr. Morant passed to the Buenos Ayres and Campana Railway in the Argentine Republic.

Owing to the completion of this line, he was for some time without regular employment, but proceeding to Brazil he was engaged by Mr. John Dixon, on the Rio de Janeiro Waterworks, and subsequently became one of Messrs. Waring’s agents on the Minas and Rio Railway.

While in Brazil he married a daughter of Mr. John Morritt, a prominent merchant of Rio, and joined him in several business undertakings, reorganizing a cotton-mill, and also aiding in the working of steam-navigation on the great Brazilian rivers.

Having made a moderate fortune he returned to London, and entered into business as a contractor. In conjunction with another gentleman, Mr. Morant, in 1886, tendered for the construction of the great sewage-collecting tank at Barking. He was also much interested in the adoption of shale and other mineral oils for fuel purposes, under the form of gas.

Mr. Morant was a director of the Amazon Steam Navigation Company, where his intimate knowledge of the river was of considerable service to his colleagues. Mr. Morant was an excellent business man, seeing at once the points of anything presented to him, and was able to go to the root of a matter.

Mr. Morant was elected an Associate Member of the Institution on the 2nd of February, 1886. His death, on the 26th of August, 1888, was the result of being thrown from a dog-cart.

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