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British Industrial History

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Edwin Kitson Clark

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1931.

Edwin Kitson Clark (1866-1942)

Director, Kitson & Co., Ltd., Airedale Foundry, Leeds

Nephew of John Hawthorn Kitson. After 1876 joined his uncle in the re-construction of the firm Kitson and Co.

Career:

  • Shrewsbury (Head Boy).
  • Trinity College, Cambridge (Exhibitioner, Major Scholar, First Class Classical Tripos).
  • 1891 2nd Lieut., Leeds Rifles.
  • 1909 Raised O.T.C. at Leeds University.
  • 1913-15 O.C. 8th W. Yorks Regiment.
  • 1915-18 O.C. 49th Div. Depot, France.
  • 1929 Lieut-Col E. Kitson Clark

Past-President I.Mech.E. and I.Loco.E. Deputy-Lieutenant for Yorkshire.

Author of Engg. and Archaeological papers, and a History of Kitsons of Leeds.


1943 Obituary [1]



1944 Obituary [2]

Lt.-Colonel E. KITSON CLARK, T.D., D.L., M.A. (Past-President), was for over forty years a director of Messrs. Kitson and Company, Ltd., the famous Leeds locomotive-building firm established by his grandfather, James Kitson, in 1837. Col.

Kitson Clark was born in 1866, the only son of Dr. E. C. Clark, Regius Professor of Civil Law at Cambridge University. He received his general education at Sutton Valence Grammar School until 1882 when he went to Shrewsbury where, in his last two years, he was head of the school. He then obtained an exhibition at Trinity College, Cambridge, where he afterwards became a Major Scholar, and graduated B.A. in 1888 with first-class honours in the Classical Tripos; he obtained his M.A. degree in 1892. He began his engineering training with a three years' pupilage, which he served in the Airedale Foundry of Messrs. Kitson from 1888 to 1891, after which he was made assistant works manager. Subsequently he was appointed works manager and in 1897 he became a partner in the firm.

On the reconstitution of the business as a limited liability company two years later, he was made a director. Among the outstanding developments with which he was associated were the Kitson-Meyer articulated locomotive for steep gradients and sharp curves, and the Kitson-Still locomotive in which an endeavour was made to combine steam and Diesel propulsion. Colonel Kitson Clark's interests outside his professional work were very wide.

He was commissioned a second lieutenant in the 3rd (Volunteer) Battalion of the West Yorkshire Regiment as far back as 1891; in 1908 he took a leading part in establishing the Leeds University O.T.C., and served in the West Riding Territorial Army and Air Force Association from its inception. By 1913 he had risen to the rank of lieutenant-colonel, in which capacity he commanded the 8th Battalion of the West Yorkshire Regiment. During the war of 1914-18 he was on active service in France, and from 1915 to 1918 he commanded the 49th Divisional Depot. Apart from these activities he deservedly enjoyed a great reputation as an archaeologist; he was for many years a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, a rare distinction for an engineer, and carried out a number of important historical researches on which he brought to bear gifts of the highest order. His published works show exceptional erudition, combined with a lively imagination in reconstructing past events, which made his papers and lectures on the engineering methods of antiquity of particular value.

At the centenary celebrations of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway in 1930, it was an especial joy to him to see the old 0-4-2 locomotive Lion, built by his grandfather, restored to running order, and he himself drove it on the demonstration track. His writings, however, were not confined to the past, and in the last years of his life he contributed to The Engineer a series of articles on important contemporary problems, such as the relationship between Capital and Labour, in which he distilled his lifelong experience. His long connection with the Institution lasted for forty years. He was elected a Member in 1903; in 1921 he took a leading part in the formation of the Yorkshire Branch, becoming its first chairman and first serving on the Council in that capacity; three years later he gave his first lecture to the London Graduates' Section, choosing as his subject "Engineering and Literature". From 1922 to 1927 he served continuously on the Council, and in 1927 he was appointed a Vice-President, becoming President in 1931. In the latter year he welcomed the members to a notable Summer Meeting at Cambridge. He served on the Council until February 1935, when he was elected an Honorary Life Member.

His paper on "An Internal Combustion Locomotive", which he represented in 1927, gave an account of the Kitson-Still locomotive; whilst in 1931 he delivered a memorable Presidential Address on "Humanity under the Hammer". His last published work for the Institution was an address to the London Graduates' Section in 1937, on "Engineering through the Nations"; illness, however, prevented him from delivering it personally. In the same year the firm of Kitsons celebrated its centenary, and Colonel Kitson Clark published his book "Kitsons of Leeds 1837-1937" which gave the chronicles of the family business. In addition to his work for the Institution, he was a keen supporter of several other technical societies; he was a Member of the Institution of Civil Engineers, and a past-president of the Institution of Locomotive Engineers.

His loyalty to Leeds was strong, and for over thirty years he was secretary of the Leeds Philosophical and Literary Society; he was past-president of the Leeds Civic Society; president of the Leeds Thoresby (antiquarian) Society; and secretary of the Leeds Luncheon Club since its foundation. Throughout his life he took a deep interest in Leeds Parish Church, and was an authority on its history.


1943 Obituary [3]



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