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British Industrial History

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Roland Perrier

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Roland Perrier (1840-1887)

1888 Obituary [1]

ROLAND PERRIER was born at Geneva, on the 17th of January 1840, but spent the greater part of his early life in Italy, chiefly in Leghorn and Florence.

His professional career commenced in the latter city on the Maria Antonia Railway, by a pupilage under Mr. Barnes.

In 1860 he obtained an appointment under Mr. John Watson, M.Inst.C.E., on the Bahia and Sao Francisco Railway, Brazil, at that time under construction, and was employed in superintending iron girder work, the erection of pumping machinery in one of the tunnels during construction, and afterwards as assistant in the workshops of the company, and the erection of locomotives and fixed plant.

On the completion of the railway he was employed under the resident engineer, Mr. T. J. Thompson, M.Inst.C.E., on the erection of iron jetties and warehouses in the city of Bahia in connection with the same railway, and on their completion in 1870, was appointed district engineer on the maintenance of permanent way, which position he retained until his death. During the time he occupied this position, the work of maintenance was for several years of a very arduous and exhausting nature, the rains in the winter season frequently causing blocks on the line, especially in the years 1872, 1873, 1873, when nearly eleven miles of line were under water, and necessitating constant duty, and the erection and reconstruction of many culverts and iron girder-bridges, which was ably carried out under his supervision.

The hardships undergone during this period, seriously undermined his health, and he was subject to attacks of a disease incident to a tropical climate, and which ultimately resulted in his death at sea, on the 10th of June 1887, whilst invalided home.

During the period of his office, he was several times in charge of the whole line, during the absence of the resident engineer, and he had also, on different occasions, charge of the workshops and locomotives department, positions of trust which he filled with zeal and ability. From 1881 to 1884, he was employed on the maintenance of the line, and in office work and details, for the construction of the Timbo Branch Line.

Mr. Perrier was an accomplished linguist, speaking with fluency four different languages; and in his private life, was much esteemed for his amiable and generous disposition, which endeared him to all his personal acquaintance, who much regret his loss, at the comparatively early age of forty-seven.

He was elected an Associate-Member of the Institution on the 5th of April 1881.

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