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Charles Henry Graham Smith

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Charles Henry Graham Smith (1851-1884), known as Graham Smith

Civil engineer. [1]

1884 September 9th. Died


1884 Obituary [2]


CHARLES HENRY GRAHAM SMITH (Graham Smith), was born in London on the 23rd of May, 1851.

Shortly afterwards his parents visited Australia, and his education was commenced at the collegiate school of the Rev. G. Macarthur, Macquarie Fields, New South Wales.

Returning to England, in 1862 he was placed at King’s College School, where he remained till October, 1866, when he was articled for three years to Messrs. Neilson and Co., of Glasgow. There he acquired a thorough practical knowledge of mechanical engineering, ad at the same time continued his studies by the aid of masters in the evenings, working both in the shops and class-rooms with that earnestness which was one of his distinguishing characteristics.

He then spent six months under Mr. John Fowler, Past-President Inst. C.E., in studying the construction of the Metropolitan District Railway.

In 1870 he was further articled for two years to Mr. George Fosbery Lyster, M. Inst. C.E., Engineer-in-chief to the Mersey Dock and Harbour Board, and had varied experience in the construction of dock and other engineering works, buildings, sewers, and the maintenance of roads.

From May to November 1872 he was employed on the contractor’s staff of the Isle of Man Railways during their construction ; and in the preparation of the Parliamentary deposits of the Gloucester and Ledbury, and the Nettle Bridge Valley lines of the Great Western Railway Company.

After this, till October 1873, he assisted in Mr. Fowler’s office in the preparation of the designs for the disposal of sewage at Malta, the Egyptian irrigation, and other extensive works.

He next became assistant to Messrs. Blyth and Cunningham, MM. Inst. C.E., under whom he was engaged on designs for extensive works on the Caledonian Railway during the Carlisle Citadel Station improvements, and the Central Station works at Glasgow.

He left this situation in August 1874, to become Resident Engineer under Mr. Lyster during the restoration of the Liverpool floating landing stages and bridges, which had been destroyed by fire, and on the construction of the south reserve floating landing stage and piers at Birkenhead ; and in 1877 he was occupied on designs and parliamentary work for the Liverpool Overhead Railway.

At the end of this year he removed to Westminster, and commenced private practice, which he continued to the close of 1881; meanwhile for eighteen months of this period he acted as Secretary to the Association of Municipal Engineers.

Having obtained the appointment of Engineer to the Port Commissioners of Rangoon, British Burmah, he proceeded thither, and besides general routine maintenance work, he erected several screw-pile jetties, with floating pontoon bridges, and reclaimed a large quantity of land. The Government also borrowed his services for a time to inspect and to advise on the improvement of the Moulmein river. Unfortunately, however, some differences having arisen between the Port Commissioners and himself, in which many of his professional friends considered he had been unjustly treated, and the anxiety of his position, in addition to the effects of the climate, having broken down his health, he resigned the appointment and returned to England in May 1883.

In May 1884 he was employed by Messrs. John Fowler and Co., to proceed to San Francisco. He returned in July, and was making arrangements for a permanent residence in that country, when he was stricken down by his last illness, and he died of abscess on the liver, on the 9th of September, 1884.

Mr. Graham Smith was admitted a Student of the Institution on the 5th of April, 1870; and while attached to that class was successful in obtaining two Miller Prizes; on the first occasion, for a Paper on "Practical Ironwork," and on the second, for a communication on "The Design and Construction of the South Reserve Piers and Floating Landing Stage at Birkenhead."

He was elected an Associate of the Institution on the 6th of March, 1877, and was afterwards transferred to the class of Associate Members. Besides the communications for which he received the Miller Prizes, he was the Author of several works on engineering subjects which were published, also of some addresses which met with a favourable reception. He was the founder of the Liverpool Engineering Society, of which he was President in 1876 and 1877, and afterwards Honorary Life Member.

Mr. Graham Smith was clever, well-informed, and very persevering. He had an intense love for his profession, and was always most earnest and conscientious in the performance of everything that he undertook ; while his uprightness and integrity, his gentleness of manner, and kindness of heart, obtained for him the respect and love of all his friends.



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