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British Industrial History

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John Falshaw Watson

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John Falshaw Watson (1862-1937)


1937 Obituary [1]

JOHN FALSHAW WATSON was for twenty years a director of Messrs. Joseph Sankey and Sons, Ltd., of Bilston. He was born at Mandopur, India, in 1862, and served his apprenticeship in the York workshops of the North Eastern Railway, from 1878 to 1881, when he joined Messrs. P. and W. MacLellan, of Glasgow, to complete his training. In 1884 he was placed in charge of constructional work on the approach spans of the Forth Bridge.

Four years later he came to Leeds, where he established his practice as a consulting engineer. During the next twenty years he carried out an immense amount of inspection work, including the hydraulic machinery of the Barry Docks; various special locomotives made by Leeds builders for rack railways for service abroad, and for the Snowdon Mountain Tramroad; and the bridge work for the extension of the Great Central Railway. He also undertook the inspection (during construction) of the whole of the steelwork for the Zambesi Bridge, designed by Sir Douglas Fox and Partners. Perhaps his most successful work, however, was the electrification of workshops, mills, and factories, and in the West Riding he carried out a very large number of such schemes.

During the War he also organized and electrified several of the national projectile factories for the Ministry of Munitions. After joining Messrs. Sankey he organized the Bilston works for the production of munitions. A few years later he reconstructed the firm's Bankfield works, where dynamo and transformer stampings had been made since the early days of the electrical industry; and he also assisted in reconstructing the firm's Manor Iron Works and Albert Street Works.

Mr. Watson was elected a Member of the Institution in 1896. His death occurred at Codsall Wood, near Wolverhampton, on 23rd June 1937.


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