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British Industrial History

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Joseph Salter Olver

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Joseph Salter Olver (1818-1886)

1886 Obituary [1]

JOSEPH SALTER OLVER was born at Falmouth on the 18th of November, 1818.

He served a pupilage of three years (1834-37) as a surveyor and civil engineer to a Mr. Rutger of Penzance, with whom he subsequently remained for some time as an assistant in several undertakings in Cornwall and Devonshire.

Afterwards, until 1840, he was employed by a firm of builders and contractors to the members of which he was related ; he also attained some local repute as a surveyor at this time.

In 1840, when the extension of the railway system into Cornwall was first mooted, Mr. Olver was engaged by Capt. W. S. Moorsom and Mr. Brunel to assist in the preliminary surveys, and, with the exception of an interval when he was employed by Mr. Rendel on the Falmouth Harbour works, he remained on the Cornwall Railway until the system was practically completed in 1855.

Towards the close of the Crimean war, in 1855-1856, Mr. Olver obtained an appointment as Assistant Superintendent of Works under the late Mr. W. T. Doyne, M.Inst.C.E., who was engaged under the War Office, and after the Proclamation of Peace, remained for some time in the same department.

Subsequently, until 1863, he was employed by Messrs. Walker and Burges, and by Mr. Fowler, Past President Inst. C.E., also in the engineering department of the Metropolitan Board of Works.

In the year named he became assistant to Sir John (then Mr.) Coode, Vice-President Inst. C.E., and was engaged in preparing designs for coast works, railways, drainage, and on various surveys, &c. Eventually he was employed by the Metropolitan Board of Works under Sir Joseph Bazalgette till December, 1885. Although making no claim to be other than one of the rank and file of the profession, Mr. Olver was a competent engineer, and in the course of nearly half a century of active life he gained the esteem and confidence of all those with whom he became associated.

He was elected an Associate Member of the Institution on the 2nd of February, 1875, and died on the 17th of March, 1886

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