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British Industrial History

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Thomas Cabry

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Thomas Cabry (1801-1873)

1801 Born in a village near Newcastle - presumably son of Joseph Cabry and Mary Smith.

Worked for George Stephenson

1830 Appointed manager of then Canterbury and Whitstable Railway

1836 Appointed Manager of the York and North Midland Railway

1841 June 4th. Married Margaret Ann Bookless

1861 Living at Holdgate Villa, Holdgate Road, York: Thomas Cabrey (age 59 born Newcastle-upon-Tyne), Sheriff of the City of York, C. Engineer. With his wife Margaret Cabrey (age 46 born York). Also his nephew and niece (Lee). Two servants.[1]

1871 Living at The Mount, York: Thomas Cabry (age 69 born Northumberland), Civil Engineer. With his wife M. A. Cabry (age 56 born York). Two servants.[2]

1873 September 5th. Died.


1874 Obituary [3]

THOMAS CABRY was born on 6th June 1801, at the village of New York near Newcastle-on-Tyne; and having at an early age entered the engine factory of Mr. George Stephenson at Newcastle, then a very small concern, was in 1829 entrusted by him with the erection of stationary engines at numerous places in Great Britain and Ireland; and subsequently, having had charge of the erection of the stationary engines for working the incline of the Canterbury and Whitstable Railway, he was on the completion of the works in 1830 appointed Resident Engineer and Manager of that line.

In 1836, on the recommendation of Mr. Stephenson, he was appointed Resident Engineer for the construction of the York and North Midland Railway; and on the completion of that line in 1839 he was appointed Engineer and Locomotive Superintendent. While holding the latter appointment he invented and carried out in practice a simple construction of expansion valve-gear for locomotives, which formed a step towards the link-motion subsequently invented.

On the railway becoming merged in the North Eastern Railway in 1854 he ceased to hold the position of Locomotive Superintendent, and became Engineer of the southern division, embracing about 650 miles of railway, with a great number of timber bridges, some of them of large dimensions, the renewal of which with more permanent materials was successfully effected by Mr. Cabry. There are also several tunnels in which extensive renewals have been effected by him under considerable engineering difficulties; one at Leeds, nearly half a mile long, was increased 5 feet in width by taking down and rebuilding the side walls, leaving in the original crown of the arch.

In consequence of a great portion of the ground being old coal workings and disintegrated shale, serious difficulties were encountered, and the work of reconstruction occupied two years, from 1866 to 1868, during which the whole of the traffic was carried on through the tunnel without interruption upon a single line of rails.

Failing health having led Mr. Cabry in 1870 to resign his situation, he was requested to retain it for some time longer, and accordingly did so until June 1871, when he finally retired, and his services were specially recognised by the directors.

His death took place on 5th September 1873, in the seventy-third year of his age.

He was a Member of the Institution from 1847, the year of its formation, and was at one time a member of the Council.


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