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British Industrial History

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James Dickerson Humpidge

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James Dickinson Humpidge (1861-1903) of the Dudbridge Iron Works

1881 Living at 91 Theresa Place, South Hamlet, Gloucestershire: Henry Humpidge (age 51 born Tewkesbury), Manager at Timber Merchant. With his wife Mary Humpidge (age 49 born Gloucester) and their children James D. Humpidge (age 20 born Gloucester), Apprentice mechanical Engineer; Rose C. Humpidge (age 17 born Hempstead); Gertrude Humpidge (age 15 born Gloucester); Frances B. Humpidge (age 13 born Gloucester). One servant.[1]

1903 Inquest into the death at Dudbridge Iron Works of James D. Humpidge, Managing Director and James French, Engineering Apprentice when a large gas engine exploded [2]

1903 Obituary [3]

JAMES DICKERSON HUMPIDGE was born at Gloucester on 19th March 1861, and was educated at the Crypt Grammar School in that city.

At the age of fifteen he was apprenticed to the firm of Messrs. Fielding and Platt for six years, during which time he passed through their shop and drawing office, being chiefly engaged on hydraulic machine-tool work, the leading speciality of the firm in question. After the termination of his apprenticeship he stayed on in the employ of the firm, about nine months later being appointed their chief draughtsman, and afterwards works manager.

In 1885 he left Messrs. Fielding and Platt and went to Australia, where for a period of about twelve months he was engaged in the drawing office and works of Messrs. Hudson and Co., of Paramatta.

Returning to England in 1886 he resumed his occupation of works manager with Messrs. Fielding and Platt, and continued in their service until 1889, when he commenced business on his own account in Gloucester as a mechanical engineer.

In 1890 he disposed of this business to Messrs. H. Moffat and Co., and entered into partnership with Mr. John Platt (the eldest son of his late principal) as consulting engineers. In this connection he was engaged in laying out saw mills and other factories in various parts of the country, also acting as consulting engineer to the Gloucester Wagon Co., and Severnports Warehousing Co., of Sharpness, carrying out a good deal of trade for both firms. He also modernized the whole of the driving gear of Messrs. Marling and Co.'s large cloths mills near Stroud, putting in a new steam-engine, boilers, etc., and main driving.

In 1891, in partnership with his brother, Mr. H. Theo. Humpidge and Mr. G. E. Snoxell, he acquired an engineering business at Dudbridge, near Stroud, and commenced the manufacture of the "Dudbridge" gas-engine, doing at the same time a good general trade.

In 1894 the firm purchased the business of their neighbours Messrs. Holborow and Co., steam-engine manufacturers, the title of the new Company being Humpidge, Holborow and Co., the late Mr. J. D. Humpidge being chairman of directors.

In 1899 further changes were made in the constitution of the firm, the steam-engine business was sold, and the works devoted to the manufacture of gas and oil engines, the title of the Company being altered to the Dudbridge Iron Works, when he became co-managing director with Mr. H. Theo. Humpidge and Mr. T. G. Smith.

From this period he was actively engaged in the production of gas and oil engines, making numerous alterations and additions to the plant and premises in order to facilitate the work. He was a most capable and energetic engineer, quick to grasp the requirements of a situation, fertile in design and means of executing work, withal combining great commercial capacity.

In the formation of the Gloucestershire Engineering Society he took an active part, and was a member of the council from its inauguration, and in October 1902 was elected to the Presidency of the Society for the year 1903.

He was fatally injured while watching the brake test of a large gas-engine when the flywheel broke into pieces, by one of which he was struck on the head. The accident occurred on 6th June 1903, and his death ensued the following day, at the age of forty-two.

He was elected a Member of this Institution in 1894, and was also an Associate Member of the Institution of Civil Engineers.

1903 Obituary [4]

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