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William Robert Galbraith

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William Robert Galbraith (1829-1914) was a civil engineer during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

1829 July 7th. Born

Became one of the 2 principal Assistant Engineers of the firm of Locke and Errington

1862 After the death of J. E. Errington, William Robert Galbraith went into partnership with Julian Horn Tolme for the purpose of continuing the practice.

1862 Galbraith was appointed engineer of The London and South Western Railway with Julian Horn Tolme, succeeding John Edward Errington. [1]

1869 The partnership of Tolme and Galbraith expired by efflux of time

1892 he formed an engineering consultancy with R. F. Church. As Galbraith and Church they undertook numerous projects for other railways besides the LSWR, including the Baker Street and Waterloo Railway which became known as London Underground's Bakerloo Line. In total he designed and oversaw the construction of over 14 miles of London's underground railways).

In the 1890s Galbraith was the North British Railway's Parliamentary Consultant, acting as a resident expert and adviser during Parliamentary hearings on the company's engineering projects).

He was employed by the London and South Western Railway as a consulting engineer for over 40 years, overseeing the design and construction of nearly all that company's new lines between 1862 and his retirement in 1907.

In the 1890s Galbraith was the North British Railway's Parliamentary Consultant, acting as a resident expert and adviser during Parliamentary hearings on the company's engineering projects).

His projects included:

1914 October 5th. Died



1914 Obituary [2]

WILLIAM ROBERT GALBRAITH, who died at his residence, 91, Finchley Road, London, on the 5th October, 1914, was the second surviving son of Mr. William Galbraith, solicitor, Stirling, Town Clerk of the Burgh and Sheriff Clerk of the County.

He was born in 1829, and was educated at the Stirling Academy and at Glasgow College. In 1846 he was articled to Mr. Errington, of the firm of Locke and Errington, who had then a very extensive railway practice in England, Scotland and the Continent. During his apprenticeship, and until 1855, he was engaged in the London office, and out of doors in England and Scotland, in the varied duties of a large engineering establishment, on various railways, among others the Aberdeen Railway (as District Engineer), the Scottish Central Railway (now portion of the Caledonian Railway), the London and North-Western Railway (Crewe and Shrewsbury), East Lancashire Railway, and the London and South-Western Railway.

From 1855 onwards Mr. Galbraith’s time was mostly given to the London and South-Western Railway extensions westward of Yeovil, and in 1856 he was appointed Resident Engineer to the Yeovil and Exeter Railway, and subsequently to the Exeter and Exmouth Railway, together a length of 60 miles.

On the death of Mr. Errington in 1862 he was appointed by the London and South-Western Railway as their Engineer for new works, taking also the supervision of their Parliamentary business. He constructed most of their new railways for the next 40 years in the counties of Middlesex, Surrey, Hants, Dorset, Devon and Cornwall, as well as, in conjunction with his partner and former pupil, Mr. R. F. Church, with whom he was associated for many years, a number of branches and extensions, promoted independently, but ultimately acquired or worked by the South-Western Company, among which may be mentioned the branches to Swanage, Chard, Seaton, Sidmouth, Ilfracombe, and the extensions west of Exeter to Okehampton, Plymouth, and Devonport, Holsworthy, and the North Cornwall Railway to Bodmin and Padstow in Cornwall.

In 1892 the Company became owners of the Southampton Docks, on which a large sum of money has since been expended, under Mr. Galbraith’s supervision, in the construction of two large graving docks, as well as deep-water quays, warehouses, and other works. He was Consulting Engineer from 1880 to 1890 to the North British Railway Company in charge of their Parliamentary work. During that period he also laid out and constructed their Inverkeithing and Burntisland and Glenfarg Railways in continuation of the Company’s route from the north of the Forth Bridge towards Dundee and Perth, and in a subsequent session he prepared and carried through the Parliamentary plans for the alteration and enlargement of Waverley Station in Edinburgh.

From 1892 he was Engineer with the late Mr. Greathead, and subsequently with Sir Alexander Kennedy, Engineer of the Waterloo and City Railway; with Sir Benjamin Baker and Mr. R. F. Church, of the Baker Street and Waterloo Railway; and with Sir Douglas Fox, of the Charing Cross, Euston and Hampstead Railway, in all fourteen miles of tube railways. He retired from the active pursuit of engineering about 1907.

Mr. Galbraith was elected a Member of The Institution on the 7th March, 1865, became a Member of the Council in 1894, and a Vice-President in 1906, but in consequence of illness was unable to accept the nomination for the Presidency of The Institution in 1907, and again in 1908.


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