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British Industrial History

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John Forbes Close

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John Forbes Close (1857-1894)

1894 Obituary [1]

JOHN FORBES CLOSE, eldest son of the late Rev. J. F. Close, Rector of Morne, Co. Down, was born at Morne Rectory on the 27th of February, 1857, and was educated at Cheltenham College.

Having decided to follow the profession of engineering, he was articled in May, 1876, to Easton and Anderson of Erith, for three years. From January to October, 1881, he carried out some electric lighting experiments for Edward Easton, and in the following December he was appointed Assistant Engineer to the British Electric Light Co. During the five years of his connection with that company he took charge of its installation at the Crystal Palace Electrical Exhibition in 1882, put down machinery at the shops in Turnmill Street and acted as superintendent of all out-door work.

In January, 1887, Mr. Close went to Cairo as Chief Assistant to the Egyptian Dredging Company, which was engaged mainly in cleaning, widening and deepening the irrigation and drainage canals of the Delta of the Nile.

On the death of the managing director, H. J. C. Anderson, in March, 1891, Mr. Close was appointed manager to the Company. He held that post until the 22nd of February, 1894, when he died suddenly from a stroke of apoplexy at the early age of 37.

Mr. Close was a promising engineer of typically sturdy character, just and reliable, and would without doubt have made his mark in the profession. He was much respected by the officials of the Government with whom he had dealings as the representative of the Egyptian Dredging Company, and his subordinates, both European and Arab, were devoted to him and placed implicit confidence in his judgment. Conscientious and ardent in his work and of a sanguine temperament, difficulties never ruffled his good temper nor caused him to despond.

He was elected an Associate Member of the Institution on the 1st of May, 1883.

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