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British Industrial History

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Justus Dirks

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Justus Dircks (1825-1886)

1888 Obituary [1]

JUSTUS DIRKS was born at Bergen op Zoom on the 12th of January, 1825, and received his technical education at the Royal Military Academy of Breda, till he was appointed an Adsperant Ingenieur of the Netherlands, Waterstaat, on the 1st of October, 1845.

He served in the Province of Zeeland till 1858, and afterwards on the construction and deviation works of the New-Merwede river at Gorinchem, as an engineer of the second, and then of the first class.

In December 1864 he obtained leave to accept the appointment of Chief Engineer of the Amsterdam ship canal, without resigning the, Government service, in which he was promoted to the rank of Engineer-in-Chief in 1868. On the completion of the canal, in 1883, he obtained the Order of the Lion of the Netherlands. He also, in 1876, visited Spain, to give an opinion on the land reclaiming works on the lake of Lebrija, and on the Guadalquivir river.

In 1879 Count Ferdinand de Lesseps invited him to be present at the International Congress at Paris, to investigate the different schemes submitted for the construction of the Panama Canal, and he visited the spot in company with Count de Lesseps, in the beginning of the following year. Soon after this he went over the Suez Canal, to advise on the proposed widening. He was also consulted by His Majesty the King of the Belgians on the proposed seaport at Heijat, and, in 1882, visited Denmark, to advise on the embankment of Ring Kiobing. The next year he designed, in Chili, the plans for the construction of the graving-dock at Talcahuani.

Several technical writings on river and canal works appeared from his hand during his laborious life, and he was regretted, not only as an engineer of high ability, but as a kind-hearted father and faithful friend, when he died at Scheveningen, near the Hague, after a protracted illness, on the 26th of December, 1886.

He was elected a Member of the Institution on the 3rd of March, 1885.

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