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British Industrial History

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Albert John McColgan

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Albert John McColgan (c1889-1942)

1942 Obituary [1]

ALBERT JOHN McCOLGAN died at Epsom on the 5th July, 1942, at the age of 53. He was born at Limavady, Co. Londonderry, and was educated at Leeds Central High School and subsequently at Leeds University.

He served his time as an apprentice with Leeds City Tramways, obtaining his first appointment at the age of 21 with the Yorkshire Electric Power Co., but after about a year he joined the staff of the Newcastle-upon-Tyne Electric Supply Co. Following some operational work he joined the Construction Department and was concerned with its general activities, both as regards power stations and the wide distribution system which was then extending rapidly.

In 1914 he joined the Royal Engineers and saw service in France, being mentioned in dispatches. He was invalided out at the end of the war with the rank of lieutenant and, although no one knew it, because he never mentioned it, his Army service undoubtedly had impaired his health.

Returning to the Newcastle-upon-Tyne Electric Supply Co., he went on with his work in the Construction Department, but in 1922 accepted an appointment as H.M. Electrical Inspector of Factories under the late G. Scott Ram. Ram had been promised a staff long before this, but owing to the war the appointments were held up and when the little band got to work they found plenty to do. Most of the factories they visited had never heard of the Electricity Regulations made under the Factories Act and it took a lot of tact and persuasion to get things moving.

McColgan was given the Scottish area with an office in Glasgow, his work taking him as far south as Newcastle. This was probably the happiest period of his technical career, and he was most successful in his contacts with supply officers and the electrical people engaged in factory construction and maintenance.

In 1931 when Scott Ram retired he came to London, first of all to take over an area and then to act as Deputy Senior Electrical Inspector in 1934. Although this job did not take him so far afield it widened his usefulness and he became a well-known figure at the various Institution and Association meetings. He earned the reputation of having something useful to say when he spoke, and he began to be missed when his long illness prevented him from filling his accustomed place.

He was elected an Associate Member of The Institution in 1919 and a Member in 1930. Engineers in the industry regarded him as a friendly adviser rather than as a critical inspector, but he could be firm when it was necessary. He leaves a widow and his only son John, now a sub-lieutenant in the Royal Navy.

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