Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 146,706 pages of information and 232,164 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.
Edward Purser (1821-1906)
1856 Married Anna Jane Mallett.
1906 Obituary 
It is with regret we have to announce the death of Mr Edward Purser, M.Inst.C.E. at his house in Smyrna on the 26th inst. Mr Purser was born in Dublin in 1821 and was employed on the construction of the South Eastern Railway and the Great Northern Railway . . . . [more]
1907 Obituary 
EDWARD PURSER, late General Manager and Chief Engineer of the Ottoman Railway, died at Smyrna on the 26th October, 1906, in his eighty-fifth year.
The fifth son of the late Mr. John Purser, of Rathmines Castle, county Dublin, he was born on the 16th December, 1821, near Dublin, in which city he received his education, graduating in Arts at Dublin University in 1842.
He served a pupilage under the late Sir William Cubitt, Past- President, subsequently acted as Resident Engineer on the floating landing stages at Liverpool, and was next employed for 3 years as principal assistant engineer on the construction of the metropolitan division of the Great Northern Railway.
In 1850 Mr. Purser joined the staff of the East Indian Railway, then about to be begun. Proceeding to India he served for 4 years in Bengal as chief assistant engineer under the late George Turnbull, and was then appointed Chief Engineer of the North West Provinces division of the line. The works in the North West included several fine ashlar arched bridges in the Mirzapur district, and large bridges over the Tonse river and the Jumna at Allahabad and Agra.
All work was suspended at the outbreak of the Indian Mutiny, but Mr. Purser and his assistants remained at their posts and rendered assistance to the military officers in the construction of redoubts and other defence works.
In 1858 he resigned his appointment on the East Indian Railway, and in the following year, on the invitation of Sir Macdonald Stephenson, he went out to inspect the works of the Ottoman Railway, and shortly afterwards he was appointed Chief Engineer of the line. The construction of the line included heavy works in the Ephesus Pass, but these were successfully carried out, and the railway opened to Aidin in 1866. In the early stages of their enterprise, owing to the attitude of the Turkish Government and to other causes, the company experienced considerable financial difficulty, and during this period Mr. Purser rendered material assistance to the directors. Amongst other measures he urged the construction of various extensions of the line, and in 1868 he was appointed General Manager in addition to his office of Chief Engineer, and was entrusted with the conduct of negotiations with the Turkish Government to obtain concessions for the extensions which he advocated. These were subsequently constructed under his direction and resulted in a great improvement in the value of the undertaking.
Mr. Purser had much at heart the further prolongation of the railway, and with that object in view extensive surveys were made in the country beyond Dinair, and he personally carried out a reconnaissance as far as Karaman in the hot months of 1899.
In the following year he resigned his position, after 40 years' service with the company, at the age of 79, but continued to live at Smyrna until his death 6 years later. His career afforded ample proof of the professional skill and administrative capacity with which he was endowed, as well as of his courage and perseverance in the face of difficulty, but the popularity and esteem which he won from all was clue to the influence of his personal character and to his generous and considerate disposition.
Mr. Purser was elected a Member of The Institution on the 7th February, 1860.