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Alexander Kendall Mackinnon

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Alexander Kendall Mackinnon (1826-1900)

1900 Obituary [1]

ALEXANDER KENDALL MACKINNON was born at Monte Video on the 29th August, 1826.

Coming to England at an early age, he received his preliminary education at Hoddesdon in Hertfordshire.

From 1847 to 1849 he attended the engineering and architectural classes at University College, London, after which he was placed for a time with Mr. Thomas Page, under whom he was engaged on the construction of the Victoria and Albert Bridges over the Thames at Datchet, near Windsor.

In 1852 Mr. Mackinnon was appointed Engineer to the Monte Video Gasworks, which he entirely remodelled.

Having completed that work, he proceeded in the following year to Buenos Aires, where he was placed by the Government on a Commission charged to examine and report on designs for a Custom House and for a railway from the capital to San Jose de Flores.

He afterwards prepared plans for a railway from Monte Video to the town of La Union in connection with a scheme for a line from Monte Video to the Duragno, since carried out.

In 1854 he was compelled by family matters to return to England, and for the following seven years he resided at Penzance, where, although he held no definite appointment, he practised from time to time as a Mining Engineer.

In 1863 Mr. Mackinnon again went to Uruguay, where he was employed by the Municipality of Monte Video on various road improvements.

Three years later he was appointed Director General of Public Works, and in that capacity one of his first actions was to induce the Government of Uruguay to make obligatory the use of the theodolite in all surveying operations instead of the compass. A geodetic survey of the country was then carried out.

In addition to advising as to railways and telegraphs, he was responsible for the design and construction of the London and River Plate Bank House, the lazaretto on the island of Flores, a new Custom House, a sea-wall for the improvement of the Port of Monte Video, and other public works,

He was sent to England by the Government with special powers to raise a loan of £3,500,000, and to make contracts for the ironwork of the new Custom House, in both of which undertakings he was successful

He assisted in the formation of the North Western of Uruguay Railway Company and in the construction of part of that line, as well as in the laying of the Telegraph Cable from Monte Video to Chuy on the frontier of Brazil, since absorbed by the Western and Brazilian Telegraph Cables. He also rendered considerable assistance in the formation and subsequent reorganization of the Central Uruguay Railway Company.

In 1887 he was appointed Consul for Uruguay, and in the following year he presented to the Government further plans for the improvement of the Harbour of Monte Video. He was for some years Chairman of the Monte Video Gas Company.

Mr. Mackinnon died at his residence, 12 Fopstone Road, Earl’s Court, on the 19th February, 1900.

He was elected a Member of the Institution on the 5th April, 1870.

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