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British Industrial History

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William Rawlett Parsonage

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William Rawlett Parsonage (1875-1939)


1939 Obituary [1]

"WILLIAM RAWLETT PARSONAGE, who died on 24th March 1939, will be remembered by many members for his recent work in connection with the enlargement of the George Stephenson Memorial Chancel in Holy Trinity Church, Chesterfield. The Council associated themselves with his efforts to obtain funds for this purpose, and in 1937 a short biography of George Stephenson by Mr. Parsonage was published in the PROCEEDINGS.

He was born in 1875 and received his education at Bromsgrove National School. He served his apprenticeship from 1890 to 1896 at the works of Messrs. G. E. Belliss and Company, Birmingham. From 1896 to 1898 he was teaching engineering subjects in the schools of the Birmingham School Board. From 1898 to 1900 he was employed under the Wolverhampton School Board, first in their day technical school; but later he opened two centres and inaugurated manual instruction for the Board. Towards the end of this period he was appointed lecturer on the steam engine at the Municipal Technical School, Birmingham, and in 1900 he became lecturer in civil and mechanical engineering on the permanent staff of this school.

During the period between 1903 and 1916 he continued there as senior lecturer in the same subject, and at the same time he carried on some consulting work and, in 1910, obtained the B.Sc. (Eng.) degree of London University. From 1915 to 1916, besides being a part-time teacher on the civil staff of Birmingham University, he was associated with Professor F. C. Lea, O.B.E., D.Sc., M.I.Mech.E. (Member of Council) in researches on the heat treatment and mechanical work to be given to aircraft tubing. In 1916 he received a commission as lieutenant in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve, and in 1918 he was transferred to the Royal Air Force as a captain. From 1919 to 1920 he was head of the mechanical engineering department of the Municipal Technical Institute, Coventry. In 1920 he was appointed head of the Engineering Department (Mechanical and Electrical Engineering) of the County Technical College, Wednesbury, Staffordshire. In 1926 he was appointed principal of the Chesterfield Technical College. This college held its first classes early in 1927 and in 1934 it was extended. He held this post until his retirement in 1938, and he was also a member of the Court of Governors of Sheffield University, a member of the University Advisory Committee in Coke and By-Products, as well as a member of a similar committee connected with the City and Guilds of London Institute. He was elected a Graduate in 1899, transferred to Associate Membership in 1901, and transferred to Membership in 1921."


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