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William Morrish Selvey

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William Morrish Selvey (1880-1948) of Sheffield.[1]

1925 He moved his London office from 66, Victoria-street, to 64, Victoria-street, Westminster SW1.[2]


1948 Obituary [3]

"Fuel and power station engineers, both in this country and in America, will learn with deep regret of the death, which occurred in a London nursing home on Monday, November 15th, of Mr. William Morrish Selvey, in his sixty-ninth year.

Mr. Selvey was born in July, 1880, at Portsmouth, in Somerset, and after a general education at a private school, he was apprenticed in 1894 to the Royal Dockyard at Devonport. In the four years at Devonport he gained a Whitworth Exhibition. Later he studied at the Royal College of Science, London, after gaining a Royal Scholarship. While at Kensington, he was offered a National Scholarship and he studied physics under Professor H . L. Callender. He was awarded the Associateship of the Royal College of Science and also became a Senior Whitworth Scholar. In view of these scholastic successes, he was allowed to take a post-graduate course at the Central Technical College, South Kensington, and during his later period acted as a research student with the late Professor Ayrton....Read More"


1949 Obituary [4]

"WILLIAM MORRISH SELVEY was born at Portishead on 17th July 1880, and died on 15th November 1948. He served an apprenticeship at the Royal Dockyard, Devonport, from 1894 to 1898. While in the Dockyard he attended special classes on two afternoons and three evenings per week, and obtained a Whit worth Exhibition in 1898. In 1899 he obtained a National Scholarship in physics, tenable at the Royal College of Science, South Kensington. In 1902 he obtained a Whitworth Scholar ship, being first in the list that year. It was during his period at the Royal College of Science that the writer first met him.

In 1903 he joined Messrs. Merz and McLellan in Newcastle and was engaged, part-time, on the first section of the electrification of the North Eastern Railway. In 1904 he went to the Wallsend Laboratories, a Merz and McLellan organization, and was engaged in testing the original units in the Carville Power Station, which developed 3,500 kW. at 1,200 r.p.m. Shortly afterwards, he was transferred to the Hebburn Engineering Development Co, also of Merz and McLellan, where he worked with Mr. H. F. Fullagar on steam cycles, and on the development of a gas turbine originally sponsored by Mr. C. H. Merz. He remained there until 1913, when he went to Sheffield and established himself as a Consulting Engineer.

He had by that time a distinct bent towards the accurate testing of power plant, and ultimately be became the best known expert in the United Kingdom for this specialized work. In Sheffield, however, he also developed a practice in connection with colliery electrification, and during the 1914-18 war he represented the Coal Controller in Yorkshire: he had to placate consumers who had not obtained the particular coal they desired. He also developed a connection, which grew considerably in later years, amongst the smaller electrical undertakings, assisting them in their parliamentary procedure and advising them technically on the organization of their power stations. During his later years, this class of work developed very considerably.

In 1923 he moved to Westminster, continuing his testing work, and he became well known as an expert witness. He was also largely interested in refrigeration work, and jointly with Mr. L. R. Morshead was responsible for the design and construction at Hamburg of the largest refrigeration plant in Europe.

Mr. Selvey was connected with the main engineering institutions. He was elected a member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in 1924; he represented the Institution of Electrical Engineers, of which he was a member, from 1922 to 1931 on the first Joint Committee dealing with National Certificates in Electrical Engineering, following up the interest in education which he had shown during his early years on the Tyne, when he had been instrumental in starting an evening school, for engineering apprentices, which ultimately became the first Junior Technical School. He was a member of the Institution of Civil Engineers' Heat Engine Trials Committee which produced the Test Code published in 1927. For this Committee he was a member of various panels dealing with boilers and land and marine turbines, and of sub-committees dealing with general questions.

He was a founder member of the Institute of Fuel in 1925, was elected to the Council in 1930, and became a Vice-President in 1935. In 1941 he was elected President of the Institute, and he was re-elected twelve months later.

He was elected a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers in 1935 and, indeed, had several clients in the United States. He was a member of the Whitworth Society's Committee, and Honorary Auditor.

The outstanding aspect of Mr. Selvey's work was the develop ment of a technique for testing power-station plant which is likely to stand the test of time. All points were duly considered and corrections applied to errors which some observers thought insignificant. His tests were thorough and were regarded as representing, with a minimum tolerance, the actual performance of the plant."

I. V. Robinson, Wh.Sc., M.I.Mech.E.



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