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Frederick Palmer

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Sir Frederick Palmer (1862-1934).
1929. Tilbury Docks, New Dock and Dry Dock.
1930. Plan of Tilbury Docks.
1930. Tilbury passenger landing stage.

Sir Frederick Palmer (1862-1934) of Rendel, Palmer and Tritton

1862 Born the son of George Palmerson

1884-1901. Engineer on the East Indian Railway

1929 Consulting Engineer for the Tilbury Docks.

1934 Died on April 7th of Pneumonia.


1934 Obituary [1]

SIR FREDERICK PALMER, K.C.M.G., C.I.E., son of George Palmer, was born on the 31st January, 1862, at Llandovery, Wales.

In 1903 he married Florence, daughter of Mr. J. E. Mason, of San Francisco, who, with a son and two daughters, survives him. He died on the 7th April, 1934, at Lingfield, Surrey.

He served an apprenticeship from 1877-79 with the Great Western Railway and continued as Assistant Engineer to November, 1883.

At 21 years of age he was selected by Mr. (later Sir) Alexander Rendel, M. Inst. C. E., whose partner he was to become 30 years later, for the post of Assistant Engineer on the East Indian Railway, and he became Resident Engineer in the Ghat Section in 1889.

Two years later he was made Personal Assistant to the Chief Engineer of that Railway, Mr. F. E. Robertson, M. Inst. C. E., continuing in that position until 1893, when he was promoted to District Engineer on surveys and construction. He was responsible for the construction of the Moghalserai-Gaya line, which was commenced in 1896 and completed in 1900, and included the Sone Bridge of ninety-six 100-ft. spans-the longest bridge in India.

He then returned to England on leave, and while in this country accepted the post of Chief Engineer of the Port of Calcutta. The steady growth of the Port necessitated much reconstruction and expansion, and, with prophetic insight into the subsequent rapid growth of vessels, he formulated in 1906 a bold scheme for the acquisition of land and the improvement of the Port, which was carried out with only minor changes during the following quarter of a century. This included the new King George’s Dock, opened in 1929. Although the scheme had been promptly approved and the necessary land acquired, its designer retired from India in 1909 to become the first Chief Engineer to the newly-constituted Port of London Authority.

Once again he set himself to the planning of a vast project of expansion sufficient for the requirements of the Port for 20 or more years to come. This involved the improvement and co-ordination of existing docks, the enlargement of the Albert Dock, and the construction of the King George V Dock and of the new lock, docks, and passenger landing-stage at Tilbury. The great plan was evolved in 4 years, whereupon he resigned his position and entered into partnership with Sir Alexander Rendel and Mr. (later Sir) Seymour Tritton, MM. Inst. C. E., but retained a connection with the Port as Consulting Engineer. His firm were appointed Consulting Engineers to the Indian Government and Indian railways.

During the War he joined the Ministry of Munitions; he was also Consulting Engineer to the Air Ministry, whilst his firm were appointed Consulting Engineers to the War Office. His connection with the new Hooghly bridge, the proposals regarding Waterloo and Charing Cross bridges, and other important works abroad, is well known. He selected Port Churchill as the terminal port for the Hudson Bay Railway, and planned the Montreal terminus of the Canadian National Railways. His firm designed the new harbour at Haifa and co-operated in the new Zambesi Bridge.

In addition to other activities he served for 14 years on the International Consultative Commission of Works of the Suez Canal Company.

In 1907 he was made a Companion of the Indian Empire, and he became Knight Commander of the Order of St. Michael and St. George in 1930.

Sir Frederick was elected an Associate Member on the 1st April, 1890, and transferred to the class of Members on the 29th November, 1896. He was President of The Institution in 1926-27, and served on the Council from 1915 until his death.


1934 Obituary [2]




See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. 1934 Institution of Civil Engineers: Obituaries
  2. The Engineer 1934/04/13
  • 1915 Indian Biographical Dictionary