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British Industrial History

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Edward Robins

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Edward Robins (1856-1931)

1931 Obituary[1]


Civil engineers in many parts of the world will learn with regret of the death, on September 21, at Lugano, Switzerland, after a short illness, of Mr. Edward Robins, who had travelled extensively in the course of his duties. The elder son of the late Mr. Charles Robins, M.Inst.C.E., Edward Robins was born on April 8, 1856. When 16 years of age he became a pupil of the late Mr. James Samuel, and afterwards served under Mr. P. A. Fraser. In 1877, he was appointed assistant to Mr. George Bush, and became engaged on the preparation of Parliamentary plans for a line of railway from South Molton to Lynton, Devon. Soon afterwards, however, Mr. Robins proceeded to take up an appointment in the Public Works Department of Ceylon, and thereafter much of his life was spent abroad. While in Ceylon, which he left in 1881, he was engaged on the construction of hill roads, bridges and irrigation works, and also carried out work in connection with the deepening of Galle harbour and the building of jetties. In 1881, he joined the Public Works Department of Trinidad, and was appointed District Executive Officer of the Southern Province. The following two’ years were occupied in routine duties and in the construction of roads, bridges, railways, wharves and jetties. In 1883, Mr. Robins accepted a position on the staff of the Public Works Department of British Guiana, and the four years from 1883 to 1887 were spent on the survey of 66 miles of railway, the construction of large sea-defence works, reclamation and drainage works, and the erection of public buildings.

After spending a year in private practice in London, he was appointed, in 1888, chief engineer, on special service, in the island of Dominica, West Indies, and reported on improvements to roads and on a proposed light railway; he also erected several bridges. In 1890, he proceeded to Nicaragua and made surveys for a line of railway from Lake Nicaragua to the city of Rama; he also carried out a detailed survey, with soundings, of the river Escondido, over a distance of 60 miles, and reported, to Messrs. Livesey, Son and Henderson, on how the navigation could he improved and a harbour constructed at Bluefields. The years from 1891 to 1894 were spent in London and, during the succeeding six years, Mr. Robins visited British Guiana, Nyassaland and Ceylon, in all of which he conducted surveys of various kinds. In 1900, he proceeded to the Gold Coast, where he carried out numerous surveys and superintended the construction of several sections of railway. He occupied the position of Chief Engineer of Ways and Works of the Gold Coast Government Railways for several years. Mr. Robins retired some time ago and, of late years, had been living in Switzerland. A former student member of the Institution of Civil Engineers, he was elected an associate member on December 7, 1880, and became a full member on December 3, 1904. He was also, for many years, a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society."

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