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Joseph Charles Sykes

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Joseph Charles Sykes (1871-1931) of the W. R. Sykes Interlocking Signal Co

son of William Robert Sykes

1931 Obituary [1]

JOSEPH CHARLES SYKES was the son of the inventor of the lock-and-block signalling system for railways.

He was born in London in 1871 and was a student at King's College, London. He served a pupilage at the Battersea locomotive works of the London, Chatham and Dover Railway under William Kirtley, and after further experience in the drawing office and in the running department took charge of the Margate district for the locomotive, carriage, and wagon department.

In 1896 he joined his father in the management of Messrs. W. R. Sykes's signal works of London and Glasgow, and took charge of the maintenance of the electrical signalling on the London, Chatham and Dover Railway.

Subsequently the firm was converted into a limited liability company under the title of W. R. Sykes Interlocking Signal Company, and Mr. J. C. Sykes became successively assistant works manager, assistant general manager, and on the death of his brother, Mr. W. R. Sykes, Jun., in 1908, director and manager.

Among the numerous works carried out by the firm under Mr. Sykes's supervision were the electrical signalling of the Glasgow and South Western Railway at St. Enoch and Dalry stations, and of Victoria Station, London, Brighton and South Coast Railway.

Mr. Sykes had in recent years acted as Honorary Secretary of the Institution of Locomotive Engineers.

His death occurred on 5th January 1931, and he had been a Member of the Institution since 1905.

1931 Obituary[2]


A wide circle of railway engineers will learn with regret of the sudden death of Mr. Joseph Charles Sykes, which occurred at his home at Fairfield, Dulwich Village, London,.S.E. 21, on January 5. Mr. Sykes, who was honorary general secretary of the Institution of Locomotive Engineers, and had for many years been managing director of Messrs. W. R. Sykes Interlocking-Signal Company, Limited. railway-signal engineers, Voltaire-road, Clapham. S.W.4, was the son of the late Mr. William Robert Sykes and was born in 1871. He received his general education at King’s College School, London, passing on to King’s College, Strand, for engineering and technical training. Mr. Sykes served his apprenticeship under Mr. William Kirtley, the locomotive, carriage, wagon, and marine superintendent of the old London, Chatham and Dover Railway. He was subsequently employed in the department in which he was trained, in various capacities, including that of assistant to the locomotive works manager, and engineer in charge of running 'sheds. He was afterwards made responsible for the whole of the electrical apparatus controlling the 'Signalling on the London, Chatham and Dover Railway. In 1897, Mr. Sykes was appointed assistant works manager of Messrs. W. R. Sykes International Signal Company, Limited; he subsequently became assistant general manager and afterwards deputy managing director. Final promotion to managing director of the firm came in 1910.' A former student member of the Institution of Civil Engineers, Mr. Sykes was elected an associate member of the Institution on January 12, 1897. He became a full member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in 1905 and of the Junior Institution of Engineers in October, 1904. For many years a Fellow of the Permanent Way Institute and a member of the Institution of Locomotive Engineers, he became honorary general secretary of the latter body in 1923. Mr. Sykes was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in 1897."

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