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British Industrial History

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Frederick Reilly

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Frederick Reilly (1855-1905)

1906 Obituary [1]

FREDERICK REILLY, second son of the late Professor Callcott Reilly, was born in 1855, and entered the Royal Indian Engineering College in 1874, passing out third of his year, but first in Engineering, in 1877, with the Fellowship of the College.

After 2 years’ practical work in England he was appointed to the Public Works Department of India, and served nearly 16 years in the railway branch. Among other works he was employed on the construction of the Holkar and Neemuch State Railway, and the Kohat branch of the Punjab Northern system. Whilst engaged on the Saharanpur division of the North Western Railway, he invented the Reilly gates, providing a semi-automatic method of opening or shutting gates at level crossings, which were adopted on several lines in India.

He also took part in the construction of the Empress Bridge over the River Sutlej, the Chenab Bridge and other less important works. In 1894 he retired from the service with the rank of Executive Engineer, and left India for Europe.

During his career in India, Mr. Reilly displayed marked ability in the discharge of his engineering duties and in his management of men and means, and was conspicuous alike for the quality of his theoretical knowledge and for his skill in applying that knowledge in practice.

Although his professional career practically ended with his retirement in 1894, Mr. Reilly was then still in the prime of life, and he decided to take up the pursuit of art.

On leaving India, he went straight to Paris, and studied earnestly for 6 years, being rewarded by the acceptance of some of his work for exhibition in the Paris Salon.

He then settled in England and set up a studio in Holland Park Road, where he painted portraits of his father and General Sir Alexander Taylor, both of which he presented to Coopers Hill College. He also exhibited at the Society of Portrait Painters, the New Gallery and the Institute of Painters in Oil Colours, and was awarded a gold medal and two silver medals for his work.

Early in 1905 he went out to British Guiana to inspect and report on the engineering undertakings of the Guiana Gold Company.

Having finished his work, he took passage home, but during the voyage, on the 7th June, he died suddenly from heart failure, resulting from an attack of malaria.

Mr. Reilly was elected an Associate Member of the Institution on the 3rd May, 1881.

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