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Henry David Alexander Reid

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Henry David Alexander Reid (1856-1899)

1899 Obituary [1]

HENRY DAVID ALEXANDER REID, born at Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, on the 11th May, 1856, was the eldest son of Mr. George Lowe Reid, at that time the chief engineer of the Great Western Railway of Canada.

He was educated at St. Andrews, N.B., and subsequently at King's College, London, where [he completed the engineering course in 1875, with considerable distinction, gaining five prizes, viz., for mathematics, chemistry, geology, surveying, and artosf construction.

He was then articlad for three years from 1875, as a pupil of the late Robert Hodgson, of Newcastle, at that time Chief Resident Engineer of the North Eastern Railway.

In October, 1878, he was engaged by the late David Reid, the contractor for the Kandy and Matalit Railway, Ceylon, to take charge of the construction of a section of that line, Mr. J. R. Mosse, being the Chief Resident Engineer, under the late Sir Charles Hutton Gregory. The works were completed in the beginning of 1881.

In November, 1881, Mr. Reid assumed charge of the construction of a section of the Jamaica Government Railway between Spanish Town and Ewarton for the contractors, Messrs. Reid and Mackay, the Chief Resident Engineer being Mr. Valentine G. Bell, Director of Public Works, Jamaica. A special feature of this railway was the construction of all its bridges and viaducts in Portland cement concrete, as no durable building stone was to be found in that district.

Mr. Reid returned to England on the completion of the Railway in June, 1886, and in the following December he was sent to Venezuela by Mr. James Livesey, to make the surveys for the South Western of Venezuela (Barquisimeto) Railway, and was afterwards appointed Chief Resident Engineer for the construction of the line extending from the Quebrada Copper Mines to Barquisimeto.

He returned to England in November, 1889, and entered the office of Mr. Livesey as chief assistant.

In April, 1891, he sailed for Peru, having been appointed by Mr. Livesey to the post of Chief Resident Engineer of the railways of Peru, belonging to the Peruvian Corporation of London. Having completed the summit section of the Great Central Railway from Callao to Chicla to the satisfaction of the Peruvian Government, he returned to England in October, 1893.

In February, 1894, Mr. Reid was appointed engineer and general manager of the Arica and Tacna Railway in the Northern Province of Chile, a post which he held for five years, during which period he brought the company out of a state of financial difficulty into a dividend-paying condition.

He also made a reconnaissance of the proposed extension to La Paz in Bolivia, a distance of 284 miles, for which the railway company possesses a concession, and made a report and approximate estimate of the cost of that extension which met with the approval of the London Board of Directors.

Having completed his engagement with the Arica and Tacna Railway Company in February, 1899, Mr. Reid accepted the appointment of general manager and engineer of the Anglo-Chilian Nitrate and Railway Company of Tocopilla, Chile. He spent a week or so in making an inspection of the nitrate works and railway, and, as arranged with the London Board of Directors, set out on a visit of three months to England, travelling overland from Valparaiso to Buenos Ayres. In crossing the Summit Pass of the Andes, he caught a severe chill, which, after he had sailed from Buenos Ayres, developed into pneumonia, and proved fatal on the 20th March, 1899, when he was within six days of Southampton.

Mr. Reid was an able engineer, both theoretically and practically, and a man of excellent business capacity, tact, and sound judgment. Of the strictest integrity and unbending principle, he was highly esteemed and thoroughly trusted by his several employers and Boards of Directors, whilst his generous and kindly disposition endeared him to a wide circle of friends and to all the men under his control, whose advancement in life he had ever at heart. He has left a widow and four young children.

Mr. Reid was elected an Associate Member on the 6th December, 1881, and was transferred to the class of Members on the 21st March, 1893.

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