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British Industrial History

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Joel Lean (1859-1904)

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Joel Lean (1859-1904)

1905 Obituary [1]

JOEL LEAN, born on the 4th March, 1859, commenced his engineering career under his father, William Lean, to whom he served a pupilage of 3 years, on the termination of which, in 1877, he obtained employment under the late Charles Richardson, who was then occupied on the construction of the Severn Tunnel.

After subsequently serving as Contractor’s Engineer on branches of the Great Western Railway and the South Devon line, he was engaged by Francis Fox, of Bristol, for whom he set out the Exe Valley Railway, and acted as Resident Engineer on the Weston loop-line.

Returning to Mr. Richardson in 1884. he was occupied on the doubling of the Bristol and South Wales Union Railway and on the Patchway Tunnel, as Resident Engineer.

In 1887 Mr. Lean became a member of the firm of Buchholz, Lean and Metcalfe, practising as Consulting Engineers in London and Bristol. Among the works with which Mr. Lean was personally concerned during subsequent years may be mentioned the erection of flour-milling machinery in Bristol ; the preparation of plans and surveys for railway construction and extension in the Isle of Man ; and the contracts for widening the Great Western main line, undertaken in conjunction with Lancaster Owen, for whom Mr, Lean also acted as Resident Engineer on the work and on the widening of Maidenhead Bridge.

Having previously built the reservoir at Richworth for the Wakefield Corporation, and assisted in the construction of the Dore and Chinley Tunnel, Mr. Lean was appointed by the Sheffield Corporation, about 18 months before his death, as Engineer for the construction of the Rivelin Tunnel for conveying water from the Derwent Valley to Sheffield, in connection with which he developed a system of driving tunnels by electric power.

He took great interest in the Volunteer movement, and was a Major in the East London Engineers Volunteer Corps. His death from pneumonia, at the early age of 45, took place on the 4th August, 1904, at his residence in Broomgrove Road, Sheffield.

Mr. Lean was elected an Associate Member of the Institution on the 2nd February, 1885, and was transferred to the class of Members on the 16th February, 1892.

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