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David Bremner

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David Bremner (1818-1852)

1842 David Bremner of Wick, Caithness, became a member of the Institution of Civil Engineers.[1]


1853 Obituary [2]

Mr. David Bremner, the second son of Mr. James Bremner, M.Inst.C.E., was born at Wick, Caithness-shire, on the 14th February 1818.

Whilst at school he exhibited great steadiness and assiduity, and a decided inclination for the studies most necessary for the profession he subsequently adopted. He then devoted himself to the acquisition of the theory and practice of surveying, and among his first mechanical efforts were some ingenious improvements in cranes used in harbour-works.

Upon one of these works, the completion of the harbour of Keiss, Caithness (in 1833), for which his father had the contract, David Bremner may be said to have commenced his active career.

In 1834 he was transferred to the works at Sarclett, four miles south of Wick, another contract taken by his father, where the proprietor, aided by the Fisheries Board, had vainly attempted to raise a structure for sheltering the fishing-craft; but the violence of the waves had baffled all the constructive skill and power, of those who preceded Mr. Bremner.

By the united skill and perseverance of the father and son, the work was brought to a satisfactory termination, and in 1835, David Bremner, still acting under his father, was chiefly intrusted by him with the execution of the works, designed by Him, for the new harbour of Lossiemouth, the port of Elgin, in Morayshire. Here he was very successful, in the methods of damming out the water from the excavations in the rocks, whilst in progress, in spite of the furious onslaught of the waves of the North Sea, to which the works were fully exposed. His coolness in difficulty, his ingenuity in devising means for executing the work, together with his perseverance and determination, impressed all, with whom he was brought into contact, with very favourable opinions of his qualifications.

With the object of giving him experience in other branches of the profession, he was then placed under the late Mr. John Gibb (M.Inst.C.E.), of Aberdeen, and was by him employed at the erection of the Victoria Viaduct, over the Weare, at Beddick, Durham.

Thence he removed, in 1839-40, to Granton, Edinburgh, where, at the new pier, he enjoyed the advantage of the experience and instructions of Mr. Howkins (Assoc.Inst.C.E.), by whom he was engaged as Assistant, and at the end of 1840, Walker and Burges, the Engineers-in-chief for those works, kindly admitted him into their office in London, where he remained until his father required his aid, in 1842, in the construction of the harbour at Pittulie, in Aberdeenshire.

In 1844 he was intrusted by Mr. Simpson (V.P.Inst.C.E.), with the direction of the new Harbour and Dock-works at West Hartlepool, Durham, where he remained, until a vacancy occurred, under the Trustees of the River Clyde and Harbour of Glasgow, when he was elected, in a flattering manner, to the position of Resident Engineer, and, aided by his brother Alexander, performed the duties with great credit, until his premature decease, on the 14th March 1852, in the thirty-third year of his age, generally regretted as a promising engineer, who, if he had been spared, would have attained a good position in the profession.

He joined the Institution, as an Associate, in 1842, and became a Member, by transfer, in 1851. During his residence in London he attended the meetings very regularly, and the part he took in the discussions indicated the practical nature of his professional education.


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