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British Industrial History

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George Walter

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George Walter (1790-1854) was an English entrepreneur, known for his involvement with early railways of the 1830s; of Gough and Boyce

1790 Born the second son of the Rev. Edward Newton Walter.

1811 Became a Royal Marine 2nd lieutenant.

1823-28 Member of the London Stock Exchange.

1825 Involved in the unrealised project of Nicholas Wilcox Cundy of a Portsmouth-London ship canal.

1829 Founded the General Annuity Endowment Association, later the Sovereign Life Assurance Company.

1831 One of the founders of the Southampton and London Railway and Dock Company, with Abel Rous Dottin, and Robert Johnston from Jamaica. The company failed.

1831 George Thomas Landmann brought him into planning for the London and Greenwich Railway, and an initial meeting was held in Dottin's house in Argyle Street, London. The company's base was Walter's insurance office.

1831 Took the position of secretary of the London & Greenwich; in 1835, he became Resident Director (i.e. managing director). At that time, the London Bridge – Greenwich Railway Viaduct was close to completion, and the prospect existed that the London & Greenwich would be the first railway running into the metropolis. The capital position of the company was not healthy, however, and the raising of additional finance depressed the share price.In July 1837, Dottin and Walter resigned as directors.

1835 Founded and subsidised the Railway Magazine, having seen the potential in the Mechanics' Magazine and its railway promotion; he brought in John Yonge Akerman as its editor. It was the first specialist railway periodical, and Walter used it to publicise the London & Greenwich, where Akerman was his replacement as secretary, and his other interests. In 1836 he sold it to John Herapath.

1844 Became manager of the company manufacturing Kamptulicon; which was wound up in 1851. In the same year his partnership with Ebenezer Gough, to manufacture Kamptulicon, also ended.

We have on various occasions called attention to the kamptulicon life-boat, invented and built by Lieut. George Walter, and which is, in construction and buoyancy, by far the best adapted for the purpose of establishing life-boat stations all round our coast — say one at Ramsgate, one at Deal, one at Dover, and so forth - to be under the protection of the Coast Guard. They should be simply constructed as lugger-rigged boats, instead of being pulled by oars, by a number of men; and thus, wherever a vessel is wrecked, (on the Goodwin Sands, for instance) a boat would reach her; and having taken out her passengers and crew, immediately make for the port under her lee. Mr. Walter's kamptulicon life-boat will take one hundred persons in safety at one time off a wreck; she cannot be bilged, being thoroughly elastic,— and if capsized, she will immediately right again. She has twenty-six air boxes, equal to supporting nine or ten tons weight, and so placed as to prevent her being swamped. We had hoped long before this to have seen the complete establishment of a National Life Boat Society, which Mr. Walter has long tried to carry into effect, but hitherto with only partial success. We have, however, heard with great pleasure, that a benevolent aspirant as M.P. for the Town Hamlets is about to take an active position in carrying out the measure, and whichh would be of such incalculable advantage to our merchant marine, and raise up an imperishable monument to the philanthropy of its founders and supporters.— Mining Journal.'[1]

Walter died at Prittlewell, Essex on 24 August 1854.

Walter married twice, and had 12 children. They included Dottin Alleyne Walter, an architect known also as an antiquarian.

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. Monmouthshire Merlin, 16 January 1847