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British Industrial History

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George William Horn

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George William Horn (1801-1873)

1874 Obituary [1]

MR. GEORGE WILLIAM HORN was born in London in the year 1801.

After for some years discharging, as deputy, the duties of Clerk of the Declaration in the then Court of King’s Bench, the late Lord Ellenborough appointed him to that office, which he held until its abolition early in the present reign.

In 1839 Mr. Horn joined the London and South-Western Railway Company, as head of the Audit department. During the next fifteen years, in addition to the routine duties of the office, he was much engaged in preparing elaborate statements, to be used in appeals against the rating assessments on various parts of the line ; and, after resigning this post in 1853, he continued to advise the company in these cases.

From that date he was occupied for many years in promoting narrow-gauge railways to the West of England in connection with the South-Western system, and was secretary of several lines subsequently amalgamated with it: among others, the Portsmouth direct and the Devon and Cornwall.

By means of this last a narrow-gauge communication was effected between London, Plymouth, and Devonport. Mr. Horn was also secretary of the Rhymney Railway Company from its incorporation to the opening of the line, four years later, when the offices were removed to Cardiff; and was actively interested in several metropolitan schemes for connecting some of the great trunk lines in the outskirts of London.

He was elected an Associate of the Institution of Civil Engineers on the 5th of December, 1865.

Earlier in life he was for a time a Member of the Royal Archaeological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland.

In 1868, shortly after the murder of his only son near Rosario, in the Argentine Republic, Mr. Horn relinquished all his appointments except two auditorships. Energy and interest in life returned in time, and he spent his remaining years chiefly in travelling. After a short illness, he died at Interlaken on the 9th of July, 1873, in his seventy-second year.

Throughout life Mr. Horn took a keen interest in social and political questions, regarding them from the point of view of the Philosophical Radicals. His character was singularly well-balanced and harmonious. He was unsparing of trouble, and put his whole strength into all he undertook. Upright and honourable, affectionate, generous and genial, with no littleness nor pretence in his nature, he was warmly loved by his friends and always a favourite with the young. Preserving to the last an energetic freshness of heart, and a memory wont to revert to the brighter side of things, he said, two days before death, 'I have had a long life, and have enjoyed it to the end.'

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