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British Industrial History

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James Hookey

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James Hookey (1839-1903), Engineer-in-Chief General Post Office.

Died 1903 aged 64.[1]

1904 Obituary [2]

JAMES HOOKEY, who died on the 14th of November, 1903, was born at Bristol in 1839, and was educated at Bath, at which place he entered the service of the Electric and International Telegraph Company in 1855. His ability soon marked him out for advancement, and in 1861, after acting as Telegraph Clerk to the Queen, he was appointed Engineering Inspector of the Company's West Midland Section.

In 1862 he was transferred to the office of the then Engineer-in-Chief, Mr. C. F. Varley, serving later under his successor, Mr. R. S. Culley.

On the acquisition of the telegraphs by the State, Mr. Hookey was offered the position of Superintendent of the Telegraph System on one of the great railways, but he decided to enter the Post Office under his old chief, Mr. R. S. Culley.

He was appointed Principal Technical Officer in 1882, and, on the death of Mr. E. Graves, he was promoted to the position of Assistant Engineer-in-Chief.

On the retirement of Sir William Preece in 1899, Mr. Hookey succeeded him as Engineer-in-Chief. He retired on the 31st of March, 1902.

His grasp of detail was remarkable, and being possessed of a very retentive memory, he acquired a store of information on subjects connected with telegraphy which he used to the great advantage of the public service. One of his strongest points was the combination of financial skill with high technical qualifications; but he excelled also in the management of men ; and he will always be remembered for his uniform kindness of heart which won for him the warm regard of those who knew him.

Mr. Hookey was elected an Associate in 1872, and was transferred to the class of Members in 1886.

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