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British Industrial History

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Frederick Charles Preston

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Frederick Charles Preston (1867-1895)

1896 Obituary [1]

FEEDERICK CHARLES PRESTON, second son of Mr. Frederick Walter Preston, of Burton-Latimer, Kettering, was born on the 21st of June, 1867, and was educated at Wellingborough Grammar School under Dr. H. E. Platt.

He then studied for two years at the Technical College, Finsbury, where he obtained a qualifying certificate in chemistry, physics, mathematics, mechanical engineering and mechanical drawing, and laboratory and workshop experience.

In 1886 Mr. Preston was apprenticed to Messrs. Black, Hawthorn and Co., of Gateshead-on-Tyne. He completed an exceedingly satisfactory apprenticeship in the various departments in 1889, and remained with the firm as a draughtsman until October, 1892. While at Gateshead he attended evening classes at the Durham College of Science, Newcastle-on-Tyne, and in 1891 he assisted in establishing the Local Association of Students of the Institution, serving as a member of its council until he left the district.

After spending some months at sea in gaining a practical knowledge of marine engines, Mr. Preston migrated to Australia in the autumn of 1892. Owing to the general depression of trade throughout the Australasian colonies he at first suffered some rough experiences, but ultimately obtained employment at Ballarat, in Victoria, in the works of Mr. Agar Wynne. His career, however, was prematurely cut short by a severe attack of asthma, with which he was seized on returning from an exhausting journey to inspect some gold-crushing machinery.

He died at Ballarat on the 8th of October, 1894, after only a few days’ illness, at the early age of twenty-seven.

Mr. Preston’s merits are well summed up in the following extract from a letter written after his death by Messrs. Black, Hawthorn & Co.:-'He had a thorough knowledge of locomotive, marine and general engineering, was very industrious and had abilities of a high order, and was highly esteemed by his employers for his irreproachable character, amiable disposition and exemplary conduct, both in his business and social relations.'

Mr. Preston was elected an Associate Member on the 5th of December, 1893.

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