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Robert Henry Bennett Neal

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Captain Robert Henry Bennett Neal (1870-1926)

1926 Obituary [1]

Captain ROBERT HENRY BENNETT NEAL, R.M.E., was born at Padstow, Cornwall, on 15th September 1870, and received his education at the Harleigh House Grammar School, Bodmin.

On leaving school he was apprenticed in 1884 with Messrs. Jenkins and Co., contractors and engineers, of London and Devonport, and on the termination of his indentures in 1890 he gained further professional experience in the Works Department of the Admiralty and as contractors' superintending engineer upon drainage works at Plymouth and Bideford and pier construction at Torquay.

He acted as resident engineer upon the Water Works at Mansfield, and at Kegworth in the Midlands.

In 1895 he started on his own account as a Consulting Engineer at Plymouth.

Later on he acted as engineer-in-chief to Messrs. Neal, Ltd., contractors and engineers, in that town, and in this position he was responsible for important engineering work covering a wide range of activities in various parts of the country, including bridge construction for railways, pier extensions, harbour works, and water works for various local authorities, wharves and jetties for the Admiralty. His professional work was chiefly in connexion with reinforced concrete construction, and lie was one of the first five licensees of the Hennebique System of construction by means of which he carried out many important contracts.

He retired from contracting in 1910 and then practised as a consulting engineer in the design of reinforced concrete structures.

During the War he offered his services to the Admiralty and was gazetted Captain in the Royal Marine Engineers, being placed in charge, at night, of the Admiralty Works, Shoreham, in connexion with the building of the "Mystery Towers" - unique structures of reinforced concrete.

Since the War Captain Neal had been interested in the design of mechanical labour-saving machinery, for the use of Public Works contractors, including concrete shuting plant, trench diggers, and similar equipment.

He was also chairman of Messrs. R. H. Neal and Co., Ltd., specializing in the supply of such equipment to contractors and corporations, and this connexion he held up to the time of his death which occurred at Ealing on 17th April 1926.

He joined this Institution as an Associate Member in 1899, and was transferred to Membership in 1909.

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