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British Industrial History

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Frederick William Oldfield

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Frederick William Oldfield (1875-1924)

1924 Obituary [1]

FREDERICK WILLIAM OLDFIELD was born at Cottingham, near Hull, on 24th February 1875.

His early education was gained at the St. Mark's Church School, Hull, and at the Hull and East Riding College.

In 1889 he was articled to Sir W. Alfred Gelder, F.R.I.B.A., architect and surveyor, Hull, and for completion of his term to Messrs. R. and J. Dempster, engineers, Manchester, with whom he remained some years, gaining valuable insight into the construction and working of gas-plant of various kinds.

In 1896 he was appointed assistant engineer to the East Hull Gas Co., where his father was chief engineer.

On leaving this post he became, in 1901, assistant engineer at the works of the Ilford and Barking Gas Co., and two years later he was appointed Engineer and Manager to the Beverley Corporation Gas Undertaking. Here, under his superintendence, important construction work was carried out, including gas-holder, carbonizing and purifying plant, and sulphate of ammonia plant. When the Beverley Corporation acquired the local Water Works, that department was placed under Mr. Oldfield's charge, and on the lines of a scheme he drew up new filtration and pumping plants were installed.

In 1920, after a tenure of nineteen years, ill health compelled him to resign, but later on in the same year, after complete rest and recovery, he obtained appointment as Engineer and Manager to the Chester-le-Street Gas Co., also becoming consulting engineer to the Washington Chemical Co., Ltd., where he carried out extensive renewals and alterations.

In May 1924, thanks largely to the greatly improved position it had attained, both on the engineering side and the financial, under Mr. Oldfield's management, the Newcastle and Gateshead Gas Co. made a proposal for the absorption of the Chester-le-Street undertaking, and this was eventually accepted.

He died whilst the amalgamation was being carried through, after a short illness, on 23rd June 1924, at the age of forty-eight.

He became a Member of this Institution in 1913; he was also a Member of the Institution of Gas Engineers, and was the fourth generation of his family to enter the gas profession.

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