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Frank Bailey

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Frank Bailey (1859-1931) Engineer and joint manager of the City of London Electric Lighting Co,


1931 Obituary [1]

IT is with regret that we have to record the death of Mr. Frank Bailey, engineer and joint manager of the City of London Electric Lighting Company.

For many years Mr. Bailey was connected with the electricity supply industry and his death removes one of the best-known and most enthusiastic workers in that field. Long before the steam turbine had established itself as a prime mover suitable for driving electric generators, he installed machines of that type in the Manchester-square and Sardinia-street stations of the Metropolitan Electric Supply Company whilst acting as that company's engineer.

Mr. Bailey commenced his training in 1875 when he entered the workshops of Bradley and Craven, makers of colliery winding and pumping engines. Subsequently he entered locomotive works, and about 1881 became interested in electrical matters.

In 1883 he joined the Telegraph Construction and Maintenance Company, and after undertaking important work for that firm he was appointed resident engineer for the carrying out of the electric lighting of the Great Western Railway from Paddington to Westbourne Park. Mr. Bailey remained in charge of these works until 1887, when he joined Mr. J. E. H. Gordon, who had formed the Whitehall Electric Supply Company, which was acquired by the Metropolitan Electric Supply Company in 1888.

In October, 1889, he was appointed engineer to the Metropolitan company, and held that position until 1896, when he became a director of the company.

In January of that year he was appointed engineer to the City of London Electric Lighting Company, and in that capacity carried out many important extensions and alterations at the Bankside station. Whilst with the Metropolitan Company he was also responsible for much notable work, including the preparation and plans of the Willesden generating station.

He was a member of the Institution of Civil Engineers and served on the Council of the Institution of Electrical Engineers, of which he was also a member.


1931 Obituary[2]

"THE LATE MR. FRANK BAILEY.

A notable personality, the first part of whose professional life was spent in the times when most of the problems of electric supply still awaited solution, has, we regret to say, been removed from the ranks of electrical engineers by the death on Monday last of Mr. Frank Bailey, joint managing director of the City of London Electric Lighting Company, Limited. Mr. Bailey was born in 1859, and received a good general education, on the completion of which he desired to take up engineering. Mr. Bailey was one of those electrical engineers who, like most of his contemporaries in the infancy of applied electricity, received his early training in mechanical engineering—by no means a bad beginning. He started in, 1875, regular apprenticeship, in shops and drawing office with Messrs. Bradley and Craven, Wakefield, makers of colliery winding and pumping engines, and in 1880 obtained further experience by entering the York locomotive works of the North Eastern Railway, later adding to his knowledge by a study of surveying and general engineering construction in the office of the engineer of that railway. Finding, however, that electricity made a strong appeal to him, he set to work to obtain practical knowledge of it, and spent some time at the City of London Technical College in this pursuit. His progress was rapid and qualified him in 1883 for the post of assistant to the late Mr. J. E. H. Gordon, who was then manager of the electric light department of Messrs. Telegraph Construction and Maintenance Company. An appointment as resident engineer for the electric lighting of the Great Western Railway from Paddington to Westbourne Park followed. This work presented many difficulties, as will he realised by all who have had to deal with the earlier forms of reciprocating engines used for power generation, hut all were successfully overcome, and the plant was put into regular service in 1886. Mr. Bailey remained in charge for another year, when the railway company took over the plant, and then rejoined Mr. Gordon, who, in the meantime, had formed the Whitehall Electric Supply Company. This was eventually taken over by the Metropolitan Electric.Supply Company, and in 1889 Mr. Bailey was appointed engineer to it, a position held until his acceptance of a directorship in the company in 1896. Recognition of his abilities had also led to his appointment, in 1895, as engineer to the City of London Electric Lighting Company.

He was responsible for the virtually complete change-over from the single-phase plant to continuous-current generators, and for the generating station at Bankside, Southwark. In 1897 he prepared the scheme, plans, and specifications for the Willesden works of the Metropolitan Company, and acted as consultant on lighting and power plant to many towns and colonies. During the war Mr. Bailey succeeded the late Sir James Restler as chairman of the Metropolitan Munitions Committee, and was also chairman of the Construction Board of the Perivale National Filling Factory. Later he was concerned in the.negotiations leading to the Acts of Parliament under which all the London supply companies now operate. He was admitted to the Institution of Civil Engineers in 1889, and became a full member in 1899. He served for some time on the council of the Institution of Electrical Engineers, of which he was also a full member. Mr. Bailey possessed great powers of administration and organisation, and will also he remembered for his interest in the welfare of the staff and employees under his charge."



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Sources of Information

  1. The Engineer 1931/06/19
  2. Engineering 1931/06/19