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British Industrial History

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George Cawley

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George Cawley (1848-1927)


1927 Obituary [1]

GEORGE CAWLEY, who was born in Lancashire in 1848, was apprenticed to Messrs. Jesse Varley and Company of St. Helens and afterwards came to London to act as millwright and sub-foreman for various firms.

In 1873 he went to Japan as instructor in practical engineering at the newly formed Imperial College of Engineering, Tokio.

He returned to England after five years and became chief draughtsman to Messrs. Gwynne and Company and assistant engineer with a Manchester insurance company. He also visited the mining centres in America.

From 1886 to 1893 he was editor of Industries, and in the latter year commenced consulting practice in Westminster, which he continued until his death on 3rd March 1927.

For twenty years he was consulting engineer to the Imperial Japanese Railways, and he invented a self-generating electric locomotive and an electric haulage system for canals.

He became a Member of the Institution in 1883.


1927 Obituary [2]


GEORGE CAWLEY died on March 3, 1927, at his home in Sutton, Surrey.

Born in Lancashire in 1848, he served his apprenticeship with Messrs. Jesse Varley & Co., St. Helens. Like many engineers of his day, he gained a good technical education at the same time that he was receiving his practical training by attending evening classes, and he distinguished himself in the old Science and Art Department examinations. In the earlier days after his apprenticeship he was engaged in the now almost vanished trade of the millwright, and he was employed in a leading position in this capacity, and as foreman engineer in various works at Westminster, Deptford, Windsor, and Charlton, at the latter place with Messrs. Siemens Brothers & Co., Ltd.

In 1873 he was appointed instructor in practical engineering at the newly formed Imperial College of Engineering, Tokyo, a post he held until 1878. In that year he made a tour of the chief mining districts of Canada and the United States, and then returned to England.

He was next engaged as chief draughtsman with Messrs. Gwynnes Engineering Co., Ltd., Hammersmith, and, later, as assistant engineer with the Boiler Insurance and Steam Power Company. From 1886 till 1893 he was editor of the technical journal Industries, after which he commenced practice in Westminster as a consulting engineer.

For twenty years he was consulting engineer to the Imperial Japanese Railways. At one time he was interested in electric traction, and invented a haulage system for canals.

He was elected a member of the Iron and Steel Institute in 1886, and was a familiar figure at many of the meetings.


1927 Obituary[3]

"THE LATE MR. GEORGE CAWLEY.

The regretted death of Mr. George Cawley, which took place at his residence, Nippon, Sutton, Surrey, on Thursday, March 3, recalls the early reliance placed upon British engineers by Japan. Born in Lancashire in 1848, Mr. Cawley served an apprenticeship with Messrs. Jesse Varley and Company, St. Helens, from 1869 to 1873. Like many engineers of his day, he obtained a good technical education, contemporaneously with his practical training, by attending evening classes, and distinguished himself in the old Science and Art Department examinations. His work in the earlier days after his apprenticeship was in the now almost vanished trade of the millwright, and he was employed in a leading position in this capacity, and as foreman engineer, in various works at Westminster, Deptford, Windsor, and Charlton, at the latter place with Messrs. Siemens Brothers and Company, Limited. In 1873 he was appointed instructor in practical engineering at the newly formed Imperial College of Engineering, Tokyo, Japan, a post he retained until 1878. In that year he made a tour of the leading mining districts of Canada and the United States, and then returned to England. Employment as chief draughtsman to Messrs. Gwynnes Engineering Company, Limited, Hammersmith, followed, and then Mr. Cawley joined the Boiler Insurance and Steam Power Company, Manchester, as assistant engineer. In 1886 he became editor of the technical journal Industries, and occupied this position till 1893, when he commenced practice in Westminster as a consulting engineer. His early work in Japan no doubt influenced his appointment as consulting engineer to the Imperial Japanese Railways, a post he successfully filled for twenty years. At one time he was interested in electric traction, and invented a haulage system for canals. He was one of the older members of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, having been elected a full member in 1883."


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