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Thomas Tenison Ryan

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Thomas Tenison Ryan (1835-1876), Civil engineer.

Caledon, Cape of Good Hope.

Died 16th Dec 1876 aged 41. [1]


1877 Obituary [2]

MR. THOMAS TENISON RYAN was born on the 17th of June, 1885.

At the age of seventeen he was articled to the late Mr. T. J. Woodhouse, M.Inst.C.E., being employed from the autumn of 1852 until 1856 on the studies and construction of the Turin and Novara railway, and subsequently upon the Chivasso and Ivrea railway, the Mont Cenis tramways and docks at Genoa, all of which were being carried out by Mr. Woodhouse, and on his death by Mr. Charles Henfrey, for the late Mr. Brassey, Assoc. Inst. C.E. Here Mr. Ryan gave great satisfaction, and on the completion of his articles was recommended by Mr. Henfrey to Mr. John Watson, M.Inst.C.E., for whom, in October 1858, he went to Brazil as an assistant on the contractor’s staff of the Bahia and San Francisco railway, his position being that of a District Engineer.

After remaining five years in Brazil Mr. Ryan returned home, and until March, 1866, acted as Mr. Watson’s agent on the Mid-Wales railway, having charge, latterly, of the entire line, including junctions, &c.

On leaving Mr. Watson he received a flattering letter commending his ability, zeal, and steadiness. Mr. Ryan was by this time thoroughly conversant with the construction of railway works, to which branch of the profession he had always given the preference, and though the commercial crisis of 1866 had to a great extent paralysed engineering at home, he procured an appointment as agent and Engineer for Messrs. Eckersley and Bayliss, the contractors for the Bath and Mangotsfield branch of the Midland railway.

Here he remained until October 1868, when, having passed the prescribed examination, he entered the service of the Government of India, under a covenant for five years, a8 an Executive Engineer in the Department of Public Works. He was at first put in charge of 50 miles of the Banda and Saugor road and of the northern division of the Agra Grand Trunk road, but in March 1870 was transferred to the railway branch, and employed on the studies and construction of the Kharrian Pass, Punjab Northern State railway; afterwards he took charge of the Khanpur division of the Indus Valley line.

While thus occupied, Mr. Ryan became seriously affected by malaria and jungle fever, and though specially recommended for promotion, he was obliged to leave India at the termination of his five years’ agreement.

After in some measure recruiting his impaired health, Mr. Ryan was for a few months again employed by Mr. Watson on surveys for an extension of the Mid-Wales railway, and subsequently received an appointment in the Public Works Department of the Cape of Good Hope, arriving in Cape Town on the 11th of April, 1875, and, being employed under the Chief Inspector of Public Works, principally in the construction of roads. But the trying climate of the Indus Valley had completely undermined his constitution, and after a short service in the department Mr. Ryan died on the 16th of December, 1876.

He was elected an Associate of the Institution on the 5th of December, 1871.


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