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William Jerry Walker Heath

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William Jerry Walker Heath (1835-1869)


1870 Obituary [1]

WILLIAM J. W. HEATH was born at Birmingham on 13th August 1835, and in 1850 was articled to Messrs. Fox and Henderson, London Works, Birmingham, for five years, during which he assisted in the superintendence of the sinking of the pneumatic cylinders for the Rochester Railway Bridge over the Medway, and also in the superintendence of railway works in Sweden.

From 1857 he was engaged as assistant engineer on the Ceylon Railway, till its suspension in 1860; and in the two following years he was occupied with railway works at Lisbon.

In 1863, the Ceylon Rail way being resumed, he was appointed by the government on the engineering staff for its completion, which was effected in 1867.

In 1868 he was appointed one of the government staff of engineers for the irrigation works in India; and in laying out near Baroon, a canal from the river Soane, in connection with these works, he was suddenly taken by sunstroke and died in a few hours on 29th May 1869, in the thirty-fourth year of his age.

He became a Member of the Institution in 1862.


1870 Obituary [2]

MR. WILLIAM JERRY WALKER HEATH, son of Mr. John Joseph Heath, of Birmingham, was born on the 13th of August, 1835.

He was educated at the Proprietary School at Edgbaston, and as he showed a strong predilection for mechanical pursuits, he was articled in 1850 for five years to Messrs. Fox, Henderson, and Co., of the London Works, Birmingham. During the latter part of his pupilage he assisted in the operation of sinking the cylinders, by the pneumatic process, forming the foundation for the railway bridge over the Medway, at Rochester, and he was afterwards employed for one year, by the same firm, in the superintendence of railway works near Malmo, in Sweden.

His next occupation carried him to Ceylon, where he had charge of the erection of buildings and machinery for Mr. G. F. Wilson, F.R.S., and from 1857 he was a general assistant in the drawing-office of the Ceylon Railway Company, under Mr. Doyne (M. Inst. C.E.) until the suspension of the works in 1860.

During the two following years he was occupied in the construction of a railway bridge over the river Tagus, near Lisbon, for Messrs. Kennard.

In 1863, when the works of the Ceylon railway were resumed by the Colonial Government, Mr. Heath received an appointment on the engineering staff as Second-class Assistant Engineer, and he remained until the completion of the line in 1867. Shortly after his return to England, he, in October, 1868, entered the Public Works Department of the Government of India as an Executive Engineer, and was put in charge of the Buroon division of the Soane circle in February, 1869. While occupied in laying out a canal from the river Soane, near Baroon, he received a sunstroke, which terminated fatally, after a few hours' illness, on the 29th Nay, 1869, in the thirty-fourth year of his age.

Mr. Heath displayed considerable constructive ability, and had a great love for his profession; while his unvarying good temper and kindly disposition endeared him to all who knew him.

He was elected a Member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in 1862, and an Associate of the Institution of Civil Engineers on the 1st of December, 1863. He was also a Member of the Asiatic Literary Society.



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