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British Industrial History

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John Ayton Metcalf

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John Ayton Metcalf (1893-1951), chief engineer of the Northern Division of the National Coal Board.


1952 Obituary [1]

"JOHN AYTON METCALF, whose death occurred on 2nd January 1951, was the chief engineer of the Northern Division of the National Coal Board and had been associated with the coal industry throughout his professional career. He was born in 1893 and educated at King Edward VI Grammar School, Morpeth, and Armstrong College, Newcastle upon Tyne. On the conclusion of a five-year apprenticeship with the Bedlington Coal Company, Ltd., in 1914 he enlisted in the Tyne Electrical Engineers (T.A.) and was sometime staff-sergeant instructor at the R.E. School of Electric Lighting. Subsequently he was granted a commission and demobilized in 1919 with the rank of lieutenant. He then found employment as engine wright with the Wallsend and Hebburn Coal Company, Ltd., and later worked at the Rising Sun Colliery.

In 1928 he was appointed engineer in the research and operation department of the Birtley Colliery Co. After holding this position for two years he began a connection with the Hartley Main Collieries, which lasted until he took up his final appointment in 1947. As chief engineer Mr. Metcalf was responsible for the maintenance of the equipment of eleven collieries with an annual output of over 1,500,000 tons of coal, and for the sinking of ten shafts. He also carried out the electrification and modernization of the plant. Mr. Metcalf was elected an Associate Member of the Institution in 1940 and transferred to Membership in 1945. He was also president in 1950 of the North of England branch of the Association of Mining, Electrical and Mechanical Engineers and had served on the Committee."


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