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British Industrial History

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Harry Cunningham

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Harry Cunningham (c1877-1952) of Sir William Arrol and Co

1952 Obituary [1]

We have learned with regret of the death of Mr. Harry Cunningham, M.I.C.E., which occurred last Sunday, October 5th, at Bearsden, Dumbartonshire.

Mr. Cunningham, who was seventy-five, was particularly well known among civil engineers as chairman and managing director of Sir William Arrol and Co., Ltd., Glasgow, with which firm he had been associated for almost the whole of his career.

Harry Cunningham was educated at Speirs School, Beith, and subsequently served a pupilage with Messrs. Crouch and Hogg, consulting civil engineers, Glasgow.

Upon its completion he joined the chief engineer's staff of the Caledonian Railway Company, and, while still in his twenties, became resident engineer on the construction of the railway bridge over the River Clyde at Glasgow Central Station. There his work attracted the attention of the late Sir William Arrol, and Mr. Cunningham was appointed to his staff to take control of bridge contracts at Barrow-in-Furness and in London. Thus, there was begun the association with Sir William Arrol and Co., Ltd., which continued until Mr. Cunningham's death.

He was elected a director of the company in 1913, and took a great deal of the responsibility of the management of the business in the strenuous years of the first world war. In the years between the wars Mr. Cunningham travelled extensively abroad in the interests of contracts secured by his firm in many parts of the world. He was appointed chairman of the company in 1935 on the retirement of Sir John Hunter.

During the second world war, in addition to his arduous duties for. Sir William Arrol and Co., Ltd., Mr. Cunningham gave valuable service as chairman of the British Constructional Steelwork Association. In that office he was called upon to co-ordinate the resources of the structural steelwork industry on programmes of special production such as landing craft, prefabricated sections of frigates and corvettes, and components for the "Mulberry" harbours.

There were many other organisations which benefited greatly from Mr. Cunningham's experience and wise counsel. He had served as chairman of the Association of Cranemakers, chairman of the national technical committee of the Engineering and Allied Employers National Federation, and chairman of the Scottish section of the Federation of Civil Engineering Contractors.

He was also a director of the North-West Rivet Bolt and Nut Factory, the Rivet, Bolt and Nut Company, Ltd., and the Power and Traction Finance Company, Ltd., and had formerly served on the boards of the Lanarkshire Steel Company, Ltd., and the Galloway Water Power Company, Ltd.

Mr. Cunningham was elected an Associate Member of the Institution of Civil Engineers in 1903 and a full Member in 1920.

1952 Obituary [2]

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