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Frederick Newman

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Frederick Newman (1837-1886)


1887 Obituary [1]

FREDERICK NEWMAN was born on the 6th of June, 1837. At a period when the education of young engineers was of the most happy-go-lucky nature, Frederick Newman’s guardians had the prescience to endow him with a systematic training, much of the nature of the ideal one afterwards formulated by Sir John Fowler, Past-President Inst. C.E.

On completing his ordinary schooling, Mr. Newman was apprenticed for three years to a firm of mechanical engineers, Messrs. McGlashan & Field (the latter being the inventor of the well-known “Field” boiler).

He then passed five terms (nearly two years) in the Applied Sciences Department of King’s College, London, obtaining while there prizes for chemistry, and for manufactures, arts, and machinery. Finally, on leaving King’s College he was articled for two years to Mr. James Simpson, Past-President Inst. C.E.

On the completion of his pupilage, he at once obtained the position of Resident Engineer (under Mr. W. G. Brounger, M.Inst.C.E.) for the construction of the Patent Slip at Simon’s Bay, Cape of Good Hope, remaining on those works till their completion in 1862.

He then proceeded to Port Elizabeth, in the same Colony, and was for six months in the office of Mr. Robert Pinchin, a Government surveyor, during which time he passed the Government examination in trigonometrical surveying.

In 1863 Mr. Newman returned to England, and rejoined the staff of Mr. Simpson, by whom he was sent to complete the Stockport District Waterworks, and he subsequently, in September 1864, took charge also for Mr. Simpson of the various operations necessary for the extension of the Bristol Waterworks. These works were completed in October 1867.

In March 1868 the proprietors of the Montevideo Waterworks applied to their Consulting Engineer in England (Mr. Edward Woods, President Inst. C.E.) for an engineer to carry out the proposed works. Mr. Newman was chosen, and a month later left England for South America. The Montevideo Waterworks, of which he was the designer, and which were carried out under his immediate supervision and responsibility, were inaugurated with great success on the 18th of July, 1871. During the progress of these works Mr. Newman had been permitted to, advise and report on other schemes of a like character, and having thus formed connections in the country, he elected to remain there in private practice. He projected and reported upon several similar undertakings in the River Plate, and up to 1881 was engaged in the construction and equipment of the Buenos Ayres Sewage and Waterworks, but, owing to political complications and lack of funds, the works came to a standstill for a time, so he returned to England.

In 1882 he undertook a journey to the city of Mexico to report upon a scheme for supplying it with water, a concession having been granted to a London financier by the Ajuntamiento of Mexico. After this period, and from having spent several pears in hot and unhealthy climates, his health failed, and although he was connected with several undertakings in South America, he was compelled to relinquish active pursuits, with a view to reinstating his health in England. But this was not to be, and after some few months of severe illness, he died on the 6th of August, 1886, at the comparatively early age of forty-nine.

Mr. Newman was a man of considerable attainments, and, from his long and practical experience in hydraulic matters, was frequently consulted by his friends in elucidating matters of an abstruse character, which, from his knowledge of the higher branches of mathematics, he was fully able to do; his scientific knowledge was always at the disposal of his friends who at any time appealed to him.

He was elected an Associate Member of the Institution on the 16th of February, 1866, but his employment in South America as a contractor prevented his attaining the higher grade, to which he was otherwise fully eligible.


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