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Frederick Grew

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Frederick Grew (1819-1905)


1905 Obituary [1]

FREDERICK GREW was born at Norwich on 26th December 1819.

He gained his early engineering experience in the factory of his father who was a cloth crape and bombazine finisher.

In 1844 he went to London, and served his time in the Fairfield Engineering Works, Bow, at that time under the management of the late Mr. W. Bridges Adams, which subsequently became the locomotive and carriage works of the North London Railway.

On the completion of his apprenticeship, he was engaged as draughtsman for one year, and then went in a similar capacity to the works of Messrs. Swayne and Bovill, of Millwall. Among his contemporaries at the Fairfield Works was the late Sir Frederick Bramwell, who employed him during 1849 and 1850 in assisting in his various enterprises.

In the latter year he was appointed resident engineer during the construction of the Tudela and Bilbao Railway.

On its completion he became locomotive superintendent of the Madrid and Alicante Railway, and in the next year accepted a similar post on the Cadiz and Jerez Railway.

Returning to England in 1856, be was appointed manager of the drawing office of Messrs. Brown, Marshalls and Co., of Birmingham, which post he held until 1859, when he went to Belgium for four years as inspecting engineer during the construction of the rolling-stock for the Varna Railway Co., Turkey.

In 1867 he was appointed as assistant engineer on the Irish Railways Commission, which was created with the object of standardizing the existing gauges and rendering uniform other details of management.

In his earlier years he was intimately associated with the radial axle-box for locomotives, and later on assisted his brother, Nathaniel Grew, in designing a form of locomotive for running on ice, which was reported to have worked successfully in Russia on the River Neva, during the winter of 1861, conveying passengers and goods between St. Petersburg and Cronstadt. A model of it, shown in the Exhibition of 1862, is now in the South Kensington Museum.

In 1875 he retired from active business, and resided alternately at Lee in Kent, St. Leonard's-on-Sea, and Switzerland.

His death took place at his residence in Lee, on 19th March 1905, in his eighty-sixth year.

He became a Member of this Institution in 1883.


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