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Frank Forrest

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Frank Forrest C.B.E. (1879-1950), chief engineer and manager of the Birmingham Corporation Electricity Department.

1950 Obituary [1]


WE deeply regret to record the death, after a short illness, of Frank Forrest, C.B.E., M.I.C.E., M.I.Mech.E., M.I.E.E., on Monday, November 27th. Mr. Forrest had a lifelong association with the electricity supply industry, and was a part-time member of the South-Western Electricity Board. He was a Past-President of the Incorporated Municipal Electrical Association and a past member of Council of the Institution of Electrical Engineers.

Frank Forrest was born in 1879 and educated in Woolwich from 1887 to 1894. He then served a five-year apprenticeship with Siemens Brothers & Co., Ltd., Woolwich. During the first six years of the 1900s he occupied several posts, including a period of a year and a half, immediately after his apprenticeship, on the engine-room staff of King Leopold II of Belgium's Royal yacht. In 1906 he was appointed substation engineer of the Birmingham Corporation Electricity Supply Department, thus beginning a long association which lasted until his retirement in 1944.

He held the post of substations engineer until 1918, when he was appointed chief assistant engineer; in 1930 he was promoted to the position of chief electrical engineer of the Corporation. The responsibilities of this post included the supervision and extension of the very extensive system of power stations, substations and transmission and distribution lines in the Birmingham area. Mr. Forrest was appointed to the South-Western Electricity Board in 1947, before vesting date, and his wide practical experience was of inestimable benefit to the Board in the task of building up an electricity supply organisation to cover the southwestern area. He was awarded the C.B.E. in 1945.

1952 Obituary [2]

FRANK FORREST, C.B.E., whose death occurred at Lyme Regis on 27th November 1950 at the age of seventy-one, was formerly chief engineer and manager of the Birmingham Corporation Electricity Department. He was educated privately and at King's College, where he took a course in electrical engineering. He served his apprenticeship in the Woolwich works of Siemens Brothers, Ltd., passing through all the departments, from 1893 to 1898, and spent the next two years as assistant engineer in the Alberta, the yacht of the King of the Belgians. After a short engagement as chief assistant engineer in the Tynemouth Corporation Electricity Department, he came to London and entered the service of the Charing Cross and City Electricity Supply Co as assistant engineer, in which capacity he was responsible for the installation and maintenance of substation machinery.

He moved to Birmingham in 1906, where for twelve years he held the position of substation engineer in the Corporation's Electricity Department. He was then promoted to be chief assistant electrical engineer and became responsible to the city electrical engineer for the construction of the generating station at Nechells with an initial capacity of 75 megawatts and of the first station at Hams Hall, with an initial capacity of 60 megawatts, the capacities of these two stations being subsequently increased to 130 megawatts and 90 megawatts respectively. The frequency of the plant and motors in the area was also converted from 25 to 50 cycles per sec., a task which required much careful planning and organization.

From 1930 until his retirement in 1943, Mr. Forrest held the appointment of Birmingham city electrical engineer. He served subsequently for a brief period in the Public Utilities Branch of the Control Commission in Germany and at the time of his death was a member of the South Western Electricity Board.

He was appointed C.B.E. in 1944 and had been a Member of the Institution since 1921. He was also a Member of the Institutions of Civil and Electrical Engineers and was a member of council of the latter Institution from 1937 to 1939. In addition he was a past-president of the Incorporated Municipal Electrical Association.

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