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John Shae Perring

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John Shae Perring (1813-1869)


1870 Obituary [1]

JOHN SHAE PERRING was born at Boston, Lincolnshire, on 24th January 1813; and in 1826 was articled to Mr. Robert Reynolds, the surveyor of the port of Boston, under whom he was engaged on the improvements of Boston harbour, Wainfleet haven, and outfall of the East Fen, the drainage of the Burgh and Croft marshes, and other works.

In 1833 he was for a short time at Messrs. Cubitt's works in London, as a workman driving a stationary engine; and then in Mr. Newton's patent office, where he became chief draughtsman; he was afterwards foreman of the engineering department at the works of Messrs. Pontifex in London.

In 1836 he was appointed engineer of the Cairo and Suez Railway and on the abandonment of that undertaking he had charge of a short railway near Alexandria and another above Cairo, and the several engineering works of the Pasha of Egypt; he was appointed a member of the board of public works, and advised as to the embankment of the river Nile, and advocated the establishment of stations between Cairo and Suez to facilitate the overland transit to India. His chief work in Egypt was the exploration of the Pyramids, undertaken in conjunction with Colonel Howard Vyse, the results of which are published in a work called "The Pyramids of Egypt," giving the authentic details and measurements of those monuments.

After travelling in Upper Egypt, Nubia, and other parts of the country, he left Egypt in 1840 and returned to England.

In 1841 he became engineering superintendent of the Llanelly Railway, Docks, and Harbour; and in 1844 went to Manchester, where he was engaged upon the Manchester Bury and Rossendale Railway. On the amalgamation of this railway with other lines, forming the East Lancashire Railway, he became the resident engineer of the latter, and continued so until its amalgamation with the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway.

He was managing director of the Railway Steel and Plant Works; and at the time of his death, which occurred on 26th January 1869, at the age of fifty-six, was engineer of the joint lines of the Lancashire & Yorkshire and Lancashire Union Railways, of the Oswaldtwistle Water Works, and other engineering works; he also advocated the making of a railway under the river Mersey to connect the ports of Liverpool and Birkenhead.

He became a Member of the Institution in 1856.


1870 Obituary [2]

SIR. JOHN SHAE PERRING was born on the 24th of January, 1813, at Boston, Lincolnshire.

He was educated at the Grammar School at Donington, and was articled on the 28th of March, 1826, to Mr. Robert Reynolds, the Surveyor of the Port of Boston, under whom he was engaged in surveying, in the enclosure and drainage of the Fens, in the improvements of Boston Harbour and of Wainfleet Haven, and the outfall of the East Fen, in the drainage of the Bnrgh and Croft Marshes, and other works.

In 1833 he left for London, and was there employed in a variety of subordinate positions in different engineering establishments.

In March, 1836, he went to Egypt, under contract with Messrs. Galloway Brothers, of London, as Assistant Engineer to Galloway Bey, then engaged on public Works for H.H. Mohamed Ali, Viceroy of Egypt.

One of the first works upon which Mr. Perring was engaged was the construction of a tramway, or small railway, from the quarries near Mex to the sea. After the death of Galloway Bey Mr. Perring was employed on several public works in Egypt.

He became a member of the Board of Public Works, was consulted as to the embankment of the Nile, advocated the establishment of stations in the Desert between Cairo and Suez, to facilitate the overland transit, and was employed to make a road with the object of carrying out these views. He examined the Red Sea and the ports in connection with the overland route, and, in conjunction with Colonel Howard Vyse, carefully explored the Pyramids. The results of his labours in this exploration are published in a large folio work called the 'Pyramids of Egypt,' being the first in which authentic details and measurements of these structures were given. The value of his researches in this field are fully acknowledged in Bunsen’s great work on Egypt, and the equally elaborate book issued by the Prussian Government.

After visiting Upper Egypt and Nubia, and becoming thoroughly acquainted with that country, he returned to England in June, 1840, spending several months in Italy when travelling homewards. On the 1st of March, 1841, he entered upon the duties of Engineering Superintendent of the Llanelly railway, the Docks, and Harbour, and advocated a railway through South Wales, besides several local improvements. He did not, however, remain long in that position, for in the latter part of 1813 and the beginning of 1844 he resided in Paris.

In April, 1844, he became connected with the Manchester, Bury, and Rossendale railway, of which Mr. C. E. Cawley, M.P. (M. Inst. C.E.), was the Engineer. This he carried to a conclusion under the superintendence of Mr. T. L. Gooch (M. Inst. C.E.), and on its amalgamation with other line, became, in 1846, the Resident Engineer of the East Lancashire railway, of which the Manchester, Bury, and Rossendale, formed part. He continued to be the Engineer of that Company until its amalgamation with the Lancashire and Yorkshire in 1859.

He was elected a Member of the Institution of Civil Engineers on the 6th of December, 1853, at which date he had been for seven years the Resident Engineer of the East Lancashire railway. He was subsequently connected with the Railway Steel and Plant Company, and was Engineer of the Ribblesdale railway, and constructed the joint lines from Wigan to Blackburn, as well as being the Engineer of the Oswaldtwistle and other waterworks.

At the time of his death, which occurred on the 16th of January, l869, from an apoplactic seizure, when in the fifty-sixth year of his age, Mr. Perring was the Engineer of the Manchester City railways in conjunction with Mr. W. W. Hulse (M. Inst. C.E.), and as advocating the construction of a railway under the river Mersey, having for its object the connection of the ports of Liverpool and Birkenhead. His friends had the highest esteem and respect for him as one who laboured honestly for the benefit of mankind to the best of his powers.


See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. 1870 Institution of Mechanical Engineers: Obituaries
  2. 1870 Institution of Civil Engineers: Obituaries