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British Industrial History

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Henry Orlando Bridgeman

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Henry Orlando Bridgeman (1825-1879)

1879 Obituary [1]

MR. HENRY ORLANDI BRIDGEMAN, the eldest son of the Hon. and Rev. H. E. Bridgeman, was born at Blymhill, Shropshire, on the 26th of January, 1825.

After a course of private tuition, he was for about three years at the College for Civil Engineers, Putney.

He then entered the office of Mr. Charles Liddell, and became an assistant engineer on a portion of the Syston and Peterborough railway.

From 1848 to 1850 he was employed under Mr. John Fowler, Past-President Inst. C.E., as assistant resident engineer on the Leverton to Lincoln extension of the Manchester, Sheffield, and Lincolnshire railway, which embraced the Torksey bridge over the Trent, the subject of an important discussion at the Institution' in the year 1850. This was an early example of a tubular girder bridge, and the Inspecting Officers of the Board of Trade had expressed doubts as to its ultimate safety and security. The results of a mathematical investigation by Mr. Pole, M. Inst. C.E., confirmed by experiments on a large scale conducted by Mr. C. H. Wild, demonstrated the increase of strength due to the continuity of the girder over the centre pier, and led to the sanction of the Railway Commissioners for the opening of the line being given after a delay of four months.

Mr. Bridgeman was then engaged upon Parliamentary work and surveys for new railways, namely, the Oxford and Brentford, the Worcester and Hereford, the London and Mid-Kent, and the Chipping Norton, in England; and the Rheims and Douai in France.

From 1852 to 1856 he was the acting engineer under Messrs. Bidder (Past-President, Inst. C E.) and Mr. Fowler, on the London, Tilbury, and Southend railway.

On the opening of this line he was sent by Mr. Fowler to Algeria, where he was employed upon the surveys of the Philippeville and Constantine railway.

On his return to England, in 1858, he took charge of the construction of the Severn Valley railway, also under Mr. Fowler, where he remained till 1862. From this period he occasionally assisted Mr. Bidder and other engineers in estimates for Parliamentary opposition, and in investigating projects in foreign countries ; but his health failing, he was obliged to withdraw from the active pursuit of the profession. His death occurred suddenly, on the 14th of June, 1879, extensive disease of the lungs and weakness of the heart being the cause.

Mr. Bridgeman was elected an Associate of the Institution in December 1849, and was transferred to the class of Members in February 1855.

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