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Alfred Rumball

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Alfred Rumball (1831-1896)

1897 Obituary [1]

ALFRED RUMBALL, born in London on the loth August, 1831, was the youngest son of Mr. Thomas Rumball, of Epping, and the stepson of Captain A. Vere Drury, R.N.

He was privately educated at Mortlake and at an early age became a pupil of his brother, Mr. Thomas Rumball.

Subsequently he was for seven years in the office of Mr. Thomas Bartlett, who was then engaged on the construction of the London section of the Great Northern Railway for Mr. Brassey.

In September, 1852, he accompanied his brother, who had been appointed Engineer-in-Chief of the Peninsula Railway of Portugal, now forming part of the Royal Portuguese Railways, and was employed as Assistant Engineer, having charge of the section of that line from Lisbon to Santarem.

On the completion of that engagement he was appointed Assistant Engineer under Mr. George Neumann on the Victor Emanuel Railway, then being constructed by Mr. Brassey. He was entrusted with the superintendence of 12 miles of that line, and the manner in which he carried out his work was highly approved by Mr. Brassey.

In 1858 Mr. Rumball was appointed by Mr. Charles Vignoles, Past-President, a District Engineer on the Bilbao and Tudela Railway, on which he remained until 1862.

In that year he was engaged by his brother, who had been appointed Engineer-in-Chief of the Buenos Ayres Great Southern Railway, as Resident Engineer, and it was under his supervision that the first section of that line, from Buenos Ayres to Chascomus, was completed by Messrs. Peto and Betts. Subsequently he carried out the next section of the line, to Dolores, without the intervention of a contractor.

On his return to England, in 1872, Mr. Rumball commenced practice on his own account in Parliament Street, and afterwards in Victoria Street.

In 1873 he was appointed Consulting Engineer to the Argentine Government Railway Commission, during the construction of the Central Northern Argentine Railway and of the Rio Cuarto line. That post he held for four years.

In 1880 he was deputed by Mr. Thomas Rumball to proceed to Santos and report upon the contemplated improvements in that city, and on his report a company was formed called The City of Santos Improvements Company, he being retained as Engineer.

In 1883 Mr. Rumball was appointed Engineer-in-Chief of the Brazil Great Southern Railway, which was completed under his direction, the contract being taken by Messrs. Cutbill and Co.

At the time of his sudden death, on the 17th December, 1896, he was engaged in preparing plans for the extension of that line. From 1889 he also acted as Engineer-in-Chief to the Cordova and North Western Railway, which was completed under his superintendence, the contractors being Messrs. Perry, Cutbill, De Lungo and Co.

In addition to the works above referred to, Mr. Rumball visited Russia, Sweden, Spain and Italy, for the purpose of reporting on engineering projects in those countries, and, in conjunction with Mr. Robert Bruce Bell, elaborated in 1875 a scheme for supplying the city of Turin with water. He also devoted much time, in conjunction with Mr. Abernethy, Past-President, in resuscitating the scheme for new docks on the Thames at Dagenham.

Early in 1860 Mr. Rumball married Jessie, youngest daughter of the late Mr. D. Finlayson, of the firm of Messrs. Finlayson, Bousfield and Co. of Johnstone, N.B., flax spinners.

He was elected an Associate on the 14th April, 1863, and was transferred to the class of Members on the 17th December, 1866. In 1878 and 1879 he rendered service to the Institution by auditing the accounts.

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