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George Paddison (1825-1869)
1871 Obituary 
MR. GEORGE PADDISON was born at Louth, in Lincolnshire, on the 2nd of November, 1825.
He received a general education at the Louth Grammar School, and his education as a Civil Engineer was subsequently completed at the Putney College for Civil Engineers. From his earliest years he was truthful, fearless, and brave. His daring may be imagined from the fact that at the age of thirteen he climbed, outside, to the top of the spire of Louth church, which is nearly 300 feet high. This feat had been but twice before recorded.
From 1846 to 1819 he was employed as an Assistant-Engineer on the York and North Midland lines of railway.
In April, 1863, he was appointed Chief Assistant-Engineer to the Valparaiso and Santiago railway ; and, for three years, till the temporary suspension of the line, in June, 1857, he occupied the position of Resident Engineer, in charge of one of the most important sections, and by his ability, practical knowledge, and energy contributed largely to the successful realization of a railway which ranks with the most difficult lines in the world.
He, however, remained for nine months longer in Chili, during which he was engaged in the completion of a large reservoir and dam for irrigation at Catapilco, about 40 miles from Valparaiso ; in the delineation and construction of an irrigation canal near Huasco, in the north of Chili; and in the delineation, survey, and estimates of the Coquimbo railway, with the construction of which he would have been entrusted as Chief Engineer had he remained in Chili.
Mr. Paddison then proceeded across the continent to Paraguay, and in June 1858, was appointed Engineer to the Assuncion and Villa Rica railway by the celebrated dictator, Lopez. He was at first quite alone, pending the arrival of the assistant-engineers; and explored, surveyed, and determined on 45 miles of line in a country of which no maps were to be procured, and he made the final plans for a considerable portion. The actual works were commenced in June, 1858, and the line was opened in September, 1861.
Mr. Paddison left Paraguay for England in the following year, not on account of the works being finished, but owing to a disagreement as to the terms of a new contract.
In July, 1864, he was engaged by Messrs. Peto, Betts, and Crampton, to proceed, as Second Engineer, to Peru, to survey a line of railway from the Pacific Coast, across the Andes, into Bolivia. The route lay from Tacna, in Peru, to La Paz, south of Lake Titicaca, and thence to Cochabamba. He suffered great hardships on this survey, and after the revolution of January, 1865, returned to Iquique; and as the constant revolutions made arrangements with the Bolivian Government impossible, he went again to Chili. Here he was so on entrusted, as Chief Engineer, with the survey and construction of a line of railway through a desert in the north of the country, from Flojo to Cerro Blanco, between 60 miles and 70 miles long. This work he accomplished with great economy, and much to the satisfaction of the company ; its cost being less than £2,000 per mile, locomotives and trucks included. It was finished in December, 1867, and handed over to the directors of the company in January, 1865.
On the termination of this engagement he was appointed by the Board of Directors of the Coquimbo railway to examine and report upon the works of the Coquimbo extension, previous to their being handed over to the company. This was a delicate commission, requiring much judgment and knowledge of the subject, as the line had been constructed by the contractor for a lump sum, on his own plans, without supervision, inspection, or intervention on the part of the company. Mr. Paddison, however, earned the gratitude of both the parties concerned, by the satisfactory execution of this commission.
In January, 1869, he was appointed, by the Chilian Government, one of the Commissioners to report on the Public Works of the country.
About the same time he accepted an engagement with Messrs. William Gibbs and Co., to survey some extensive nitrate-grounds in the south of Bolivia, and to examine into the means to be adopted for the manufacture of nitre, and into the facilities for its shipment.
A new company, Milbourne Clark and Co., was established in Bolivia, for dealing in Bolivian produce, but more particularly for the manufacture of nitre. Mr. Paddison was appointed manager, and left Valparaiso in April, for the purpose of erecting the requisite works. He surveyed the harbour of Autofogasta, then called La Chimba, and fixed the locality of the port; erected one pier, and laid down the plans of another; constructed a road from the port to the nitrate-works, and completed a distillery for supplying fresh water.
In November he was taken ill from enlargement of the liver; he arrived at Valparaiso on the 12th, but gradually sank, and died on the 24th of that month, leaving a widow and two sons, and a large circle of friends to mourn his loss. He was greatly esteemed as a friend, for his amiability, gentleness of manner, and generous character ; while he was much respected as a man of high principle, unflinching courage, good ability, energy, and practical knowledge; and the most unqualified dependence was placed in him by all his employers.
Mr. Paddison was elected a Member of the Institution on the 3rd of March, 1863. He highly valued the connection, and bore testimony to the standing it conferred on Civil Engineers in such countries as South America. His almost constant residence abroad prevented his attending the meetings more than once or twice, but he took part in the discussion on the Santiago and Valparaiso railway.