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British Industrial History

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James William Bennett (1850-1909)

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James William Bennett (1850-1909)

1909 Obituary [1]

JAMES WILLIAM BENNETT was born at Great Grimsby on 2nd June 1850.

He was educated at Nottingham, and in 1864 commenced an apprenticeship with the late Mr. Charles R. Sacre, Chief Engineer of the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway Company. During a portion of this time he was employed at the Gorton Works, and during another part of the time on the railway when building from Manchester to Liverpool.

He took a special interest in working out details of sundry inventions in which the professional services of Mr. Sacre, were called into requisition. This latter work required secrecy and therefore had to be done only by himself. It included many drawings and calculations, and the result of this work was most satisfactory to his employer and gained credit for himself.

After the expiration of his apprenticeship he went to Russia for a year as contractor's engineer, but his health being indifferent he started for the United States in a sailing ship and was wrecked on the Sizewell Bank.

About three months afterwards he again sailed for the United States, and on returning to this country he accepted an appointment in 1875 under Messrs. Russell and Robinson in Java.

He remained with them until 1879, when he became a partner in the engineering business of Messrs. Taylor and Lawson, Batavia, and two years later he became the sole owner. Since that date his business lay chiefly in Batavia, and the firm of Taylor and Lawson under his management became most successful, allowing him to retire to England in 1894.

His holiday in this country was however a short one, and in 1897 he joined the firm of Messrs. John Birch and Co., London, and was managing director of that firm at the time of his death. An ardent yachtsman all his life he was probably the only European who thoroughly knew the beautiful archipelagos north of Batavia.

For the last six months he had not enjoyed good health and eventually succumbed on 31st May 1909 at his residence in Branksome Park, Bournemouth, joist prior to his fifty-ninth birthday.

He became a Member of this Institution in 1894.

Obituary 1909 [2]

. . . born at Great Grimsby in 1850, his father being a member of the well-known firm of Bennett and Sons of that place. He was educated at Nottingham, and in 1864 commenced an apprenticeship with Charles Sacre, chief engineer of the M. S. and L. Railway Company . . . in 1897 joined the firm of John Birch and Co, London, of which up to the time of his death he was a managing director . . . [more]

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