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British Industrial History

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Percy Roebuck Kirk

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Percy Roebuck Kirk (1866-1930) of the Hackney Technical Institute

1930 Obituary [1]

PERCY ROEBUCK KIRK was invited in 1897 by Dr. Garnett of the Technical Education Board to start a technical institute in two old dwelling houses. It was from this small beginning that the Hackney Technical Institute evolved. The old dwelling houses soon proved inadequate and in 1903 a specially designed building, which now forms roughly one-half of the present institute, took their place.

In 1928 the enlargement was opened and the institute is now a Polytechnic accommodating over 1,600 evening students and 200 boys in a day technical school.

Mr. Kirk was born in 1866 and commenced his apprenticeship at the age of 16 at Earle's Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering Works, Hull, where he remained for four years.

He took the Mathematical Tripos at Cambridge in 1891 and remained for another year to study in the engineering laboratories of the university.

He spent the following five years partly in teaching at St. Dunstan's College, Catford, and Leafield Technical College, Hants, and partly in professional work for the Thames Iron Works. He then commenced his long association with the Hackney Institute, the development of which may be said to represent his life's work.

Mr. Kirk had been an Associate Member of the Institution since 1893 and he died on 13th June 1930.

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