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Randal Beresford Slacke

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Randal Beresford Slacke (1876-1922), manager and publisher of The Engineer


1922 Obituary [1]

RANDAL BERESFORD SLACKE was born in 1876 and was the son of the late Sir Owen R. Slacke, C.B.

After receiving his early education at Newton Abbott he went to Marlborough College, from which institution he proceeded to the City and Guilds Central Technical College, and studied there during the years 1894-7. In the latter year he was articled to Mr. E. W. Cowan and was engaged during the first year of his course as pupil in the Altrincham supply station of the Edison Swan Company.

He spent the year 1898-99 partly as pupil in the Salford works of Cowans, Ltd., and partly in St. Petersburg, where he went in charge of the erection of a large high-tension switchboard, a work which occupied seven months.

During 1899-1900 Mr. Slacke was a pupil in the shops of Messrs. Browett, Lindley and Co., Ltd., and was engaged on engine work, erecting, testing, etc.

In 1901 he entered the service of the Blackburn Corporation Tramways Department and was placed in charge of the erection of about 10 miles of overhead construction as well as of the maintenance and running of the cars.

During the years 1901-4 he was a partner in the firm of Messrs. G. H. Woods, Slacke and Co. of Blackburn, and in that capacity carried out many large contracts for electric power, lighting, etc.

From 1905 to 1910 he was associated with the Key Engineering Company, taking an active part in its management and affairs, becoming a director and being placed in charge of the Manchester office. While so engaged he became interested in the development of large gas engines, and in 1907 and again in 1908 he assisted in conducting parties of British engineers on a tour of inspection of some of the Continental works in which such engines were to be seen in successful operation.

In 1909 he took some of the directors of Messrs. Galloways, Ltd., for a similar trip, which resulted in that firm taking up the manufacture of large gas engines in this country. It also led to his being invited to join the staff of Messrs. Galloways, Ltd., which he did in 1910, becoming London manager to the firm, in consequence of which he resigned his managership of the Key Engineering Company, although retaining Ms seat on its Board.

Later in the same year he made a tour of inspection in South America on behalf of Messrs. Galloways. Upon the outbreak of the war he enrolled as a Derby recruit and, as an old volunteer, did some very useful work in training men for active service. At the same time he was also engaged on anti-aircraft searchlights and later gave valuable voluntary assistance to the engineering staff of the Metropolitan Munitions Committee.

In 1917 he resigned his appointment with Messrs. Galloways to accept a commission in the Royal Engineers, and his promotion was rapid. In November 1917 he was lent to the Admiralty for duty as Deputy Assistant Director and Assistant Director of Materials and Priority.

On the 1st March, 1919, shortly after his demobilization, he joined the staff of The Engineer, and in July of the same year was appointed manager of that journal, a post which he held at the time of his death. He was a man of charming personality who was admired and liked by all with whom he came into contact for his uprightness and straight dealing. Early in life he was an expert Rugby footballer, and for several years played in the Manchester team. He was a good all-round sportsman, an expert with yachts, and a keen rider to hounds.

He died on 28th February, 1922, as a result of an accident in the hunting field.

He was elected an Associate Member of the Institution in 1902, and a Member in 1907.


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