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British Industrial History

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James Mathias

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James Mathias (1823-1886)

1886 Obituary [1]

JAMES MATHIAS, the seventh son of the late Charles Mathias of Lamphey Court, Pembrokeshire, was born on the 23rd of November, 1823.

He was educated at Bruton School, in Somersetshire, under the Rev. John Hoskins Abrahall, from whence he entered the College of Civil Engineers, at Putney, in 1841.

He left that institution in 1844, and, having become a pupil of Mr. (now Sir John) Hawkshaw, he commenced work under Mr. Gouch, the Engineer of the Manchester and Leeds Railway, and, in 1845, became actively engaged as Resident Engineer on the Miles Platting and Ashton-under-Line branch; he was also given charge of the Oldham Extension.

In 1846, when Mr. Gouch retired from the service of the Company, which became the Lancashire and Yorkshire, Mr. Mathias was engaged on the parliamentary work of the Sheffield, Rotherham, Barnsley, Huddersfield, Wakefield and Gould railways for two or three years, and was then appointed Resident Engineer of the Halifax division of the West Riding Union Railway.

About the year 1852 he became Chief Engineer to the Wigan and Southport branch of the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway, and completed the works of this branch in the years 1853 and 1854.

He afterwards determined to visit the East, and travelled in Egypt during the years 1857 and 1858. In 1859 he was again in England, engaged in surveying railways in South Wales; and from 1862 to 1865 he was the Engineer of the Pembroke and Tenby Railway and Extensions.

Subsequently he set out a railway in Prussia, and works in Holland in the winter of 1869. Here he was attacked with illness from exposure to cold from which he never recovered, and from that time he was practically out of business ; occupied with the management of some landed property which he had inherited, and to which he made considerable additions, the details of building and the general management of his private affairs for some years before his death constituting his sole employment. He was a man of very retiring disposition, but always kind and generous to those who served under him, taking an interest in all his staff and dependents.

He was elected a Member of the Institution on the 7th of April 1868, and he died on the 5th of June 1886.

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