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George Pothecary

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George Pothecary (1841-1876)


1876 Obituary [1]

MR. GEORGE POTHECARY was born on the 1st of October, 1841, at Munslow, Salop, where his father practised as a surgeon for nearly twenty years.

In the year 1852, on his father removing to the South of England, he was sent to Sherborne Grammar School, entering the house of the head master, the Rev. H. D. Harper, where his amiable disposition rendered him a general favourite with his companions, and secured him the esteem of the masters.

On leaving school he chose the profession of a Civil Engineer, and was articled, in 1859, for three years to Mr. W. Humber, Assoc. Inst. C.E. At the expiration of his pupilage, failing to secure employment in London, he entered a college at Chester to prepare for a competitive examination for an appointment in the Indian Public Works Department, which he passed in July 1863, standing sixth on the list.

On reaching Calcutta he was appointed Probationary Assistant Engineer on the second division of the Grand Trunk Road at Shergotty, and was engaged in the erection of some large bridges. On this division he remained for about three years, being gazetted Assistant Engineer, 2nd grade, in September 1864, and Assistant Engineer, 1st grade, in October 1865. At the latter date he was appointed to the Lower Assam Division, where he had charge of a district of 20,000 square miles, but was obliged to return to Calcutta owing to an attack of fever.

In February 1867 he passed the examination in the native languages, by the higher standard, and was posted to the Mahanuddy Division; and later in the same year was promoted to Executive Engineer, and was transferred to the Pooree Division. On the 1st of March, 1869, he was appointed to the charge of the Southern Cuttack Division, and afterwards to that of the Hooghly River Division.

Early in 1870 he was transferred to the Circular and Eastern Canals Division, and was selected as Assistant to Mr. Leonard, M. Inst. C.E., in carrying out the important works for the improvement of the Fort of Calcutta, the commencement of the fine works for facilitating the import and export of goods. In the same year he officiated for seven months, during the absence of Mr. W. Clark, M. Inst. C.E., as Engineer to the municipality of Calcutta, and took the entire control of the drainage, road, and water works ; and subsequently, in 1871, he was again employed by the Justices of Calcutta in making investigations as to the drainage of that city.

After a visit to England, he, in the middle of 1871, was appointed Assistant to the Chief Engineer of Bengal (Mr. H. Leonard), and Assistant Secretary to the Government of that province. On the outbreak of the famine in Berar, early in 1874, he was sent to Mozufferpore as special Superintending Engineer of the Sarum, Champarum, and Tirhoot districts, under Sir Richard Temple, although at the time only a second-class Executive Engineer. The arduous labours there incurred told upon a constitution never strong, and his health became seriously impaired. For his management of the famine relief works he received the commendation of the Government of Bengal.

He paid a short visit to England in 1875, returning to Calcutta to resume the duties of his appointment as Assistant to the Chief Engineer, in September; but was obliged finally to leave India at the end of February 1876.

He died at Paris, of disease of the heart, while on his way to England, on the 17th of May, 1876, having only been elected an Associate on the 13th of January, 1874. Though without opportunity of doing any very conspicuous work, Mr. Pothecary saw much and varied service, and he was held by his superior officers, as well as by his contemporaries, to be one of the ablest of those selected by competitive examination, and to be one of the most promising men in the department. Fond of the profession, of easy and polished manners and refined taste, endowed with it good memory, well read in the current literature of the day, with a good voice and a correct ear, he was a favourite not only with the members of his own department, but also with the other officers of Government with whom he had to deal. His geniality, amiability, and kindness of heart endeared him to many a home, and he was as much liked in private life, as he was esteemed and respected in his professional capacity.

The Royal Indian Engineering College at Cooper’s Hill is indebted to his exertions as Secretary to the Committee which inaugurated and successfully established the scholarships given by the Indian Civil Engineers to the College.


1876 Obituary [2]

The death is announced of Mr. Pothecary, C.E., lately attached to the Public Works Department of the Bengal Secretariat. Mr. Pothecary was much prostrated by exposure and hard work during the famine; he took a short furlough to Europe, but without avail.


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