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George Edward Gavey

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George Edward Gavey (1818-1903)


1903 Obituary [1]

GEORGE EDWARD GAVEY died on the 3rd January, 1903, at his residence 7 Westbourne Villas, Hove.

Born at Vauxhall, St. Helier, Jersey, on the 29th September, 1818, he was the only son of Captain Daniel Gavey, an officer who saw much service in India. After being educated in Jersey and at Coutances in France, the subject of this notice obtained some engineering experience on the harbour works at St. Helier, then being carried out by James Walker, Past-President.

From 1842 to 1845 he travelled on the Continent, visiting Switzerland and the principal towns in Italy and Sicily.

On his return in 1845 he was articled to R. M. Marchant, one of the Resident Engineers on the South Devon Railway, and in the following year he was appointed by Mr. I. K. Brunel an Assistant Engineer on a section of the Oxford, Worcester and Wolverhampton Railway, between the towns of Dudley and Stourbridge.

In the construction of Mickleton Tunnel in Gloucestershire, on the same line, which he afterwards superintended, his abilities were put to the test, as, owing to the quicksands met with, the work was one of considerable difficulty.

In 1852 Mr. Gavey accepted the appointment of Resident Engineer on the Earl of Dudley’s extensive estates in Staffordshire.

He was subsequently appointed Resident Engineer on the Salisbury branch of the Wilts, Somerset and Weymouth Railway, under Mr. Brunel, the work on which line included the construction of two viaducts and four stations, one being the large terminus at Salisbury.

In 1856, through Mr. Brunel’s influence, he received the appointment of Resident Engineer on a heavy section of the Great Luxemburg Railway, under the Engineer-in-Chief of that line, the late P. P. Baly. Some twelve months afterwards Mr. Baly deputed Mr. Gavey to proceed to Russia as his representative and engineer, with instructions to make all the necessary arrangements relative to the laying out of the Moscow and Saratov Railway, a line of 465 miles. The concession was obtained, but owing to financial difficulties the works could not be commenced, and Mr. Gavey returned to England in 1859.

From 1860 to 1864 he was engaged for the late Charles Vignoles as a Resident Engineer on the Miranda, Tudela and Bilbao Railway in Spain.

In 1864 Mr. Gavey was appointed principal Resident Engineer on the European Central Railway, between the towns of Como and Biasca, a distance of 60 miles, now forming part of the San Gothard Railway. A few months later he was nominated the representative of the Company in Switzerland, which involved a large amount of secretarial work and constant correspondence with the Government.

In 1867 the Board of Directors appointed him Engineer-in-Chief of the Company. The works on that line were very considerable, comprising eight tunnels, two viaducts, several large bridges, and heavy retaining walls, one of them being nearly 2 miles in length. Financial difficulties in 1867 obliged the Company to wind up its affairs in the Court of Chancery, and he was appointed by that Court to act as representative of the Official Liquidator, which office he held until 1872.

At the commencement of 1873, Mr. Gavey was instructed by R. F. Fairlie, Consulting Engineer to the Venezuelan Government to proceed to Venezuela, and to lay out a narrow-gauge railway for the Government, between La Guayra and Caracas. He also made a survey of the coast line from La Guayra towards Puerto Cabello, between 40 and 50 miles, to ascertain whether a more commodious port than that of La Guayra might be constructed. He returned to England towards the end of 1873 to recruit his health, which had suffered from the hot climate on the coast.

In 1879 he superintended the pipe-laying and part construction of the Waterworks of the City of Truro, and in March 1881, J. F. La Trobe Bateman, Past-President, instructed him to superintend the drainage of Littlehampton, and in the following year appointed him a Resident Engineer on the Government Water and Drainage Improvement Works at Buenos Ayres.

Mr. Gavey completed his engagement there in 1886, from which time he lived in retirement. . . . [more]



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