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Hubert Conrad Sparks

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Colonel Hubert Conrad Sparks (1874-1933), one of the partners in the firm of Sparks and Partners

1907 Went into partnership with his brother Charles Pratt Sparks as consulting engineers; consultant to American Manufacturing Co, St Louis Cordage Co and affiliated companies.[1]

1933 Obituary [2]

Colonel HUBERT CONRAD SPARKS, C.M.G., D.S.O., M.C., was the possessor of a brilliant record of military service during the War, which was interposed between two lengthy periods of consulting electrical engineering as one of the partners in the firm of Messrs. Sparks and Partners.

He was born at Putney in 1874 and was educated at Repton School. He took a course in electrical engineering at Faraday House, and in 1892 commenced an apprenticeship with Messrs. W. H. Allen and Company.

In 1895 he joined Messrs. S. Z. de Ferranti as representative on various municipal contracts for the supply of electric light and power.

Subsequently he joined Messrs. Babcock and Wilcox as head of the erection department, remaining with that firm from 1900 to 1904. He was responsible for the installation of the boiler plant at Lots Road power station.

He then took up the appointment of assistant engineer to Messrs. Yates and Thom and in 1907 joined Messrs. Sparks and Partners. During the succeeding years he was principally concerned with the electrification of collieries in South Wales.

In 1914 he embarked for France as a sergeant in the London Scottish Regiment, and received a commission in December of that year. He was awarded the M.C. in June 1916 and shortly afterwards was also awarded the D.S.O. and Croix de Guerre with palms after the Battle of the Somme. In 1918 he was appointed Commandant of Labour in the Third Army with the rank of colonel and subsequently received the C.M.G. for his services in that capacity.

Early in 1919 he returned to Messrs. Sparks and Partners and resumed his work in connexion with the design of power stations and electrical transmission schemes. He maintained a close connexion with American practice and made annual visits to the United States, to keep in touch with developments there.

Col. Sparks retired in 1926 and devoted his time to the interests of the London Scottish Regiment and the British Legion.

He was elected an Associate Member of the Institution in 1907 and was transferred to Membership in 1911. He was also a Member of the Institution of Electrical Engineers.

His death occurred on 15th October 1933.

1933 Obituary[3]


We regret to record the death of Colonel Hubert Conrad Sparks, which occurred in London on Friday, October 13, at the age of 59.

Colonel Sparks, who was born at Putney on February 14, 1874, was the youngest son of Mr. E. A. Sparks, barrister-at-law. He was educated at the Temple-grove School, East Sheen, and also at Repton, after leaving which he attended the mechanical engineering course at Faraday House. He served a three years’ apprenticeship with Messrs. W. H. Allen, Sons and Company, Limited, Bedford, and in 1895 became contract manager in London for Messrs. Ferranti, Limited, assisting in the installation by that firm of electric lighting plant at West Ham, Islington, and Tunbridge Wells, and in the power stations of the City of London Co and the South London Electric Supply Corporation. From 1900 to 1904 he was head of the erection department of Messrs. Babcock and Wilcox, Limited, and was subsequently for two years engineering representative of Messrs. Yates and Thom in the London district. In 1906-07 he made an extensive tour of Europe and the United States, during which he acted as adviser to the American Manufacturing Co, of Brooklyn, and other firms for the installation of electrical equipment, while on his return to this country he entered into partnership with his brother, Mr. C. P. Sparks, as a consulting engineer, and continued to act in that capacity until the time of his death. This firm built up an extensive practice as consulting engineers for the electrification of collieries, especially in South Wales, and besides acting as consulting electrical engineers for the British Empire Exhibition at Wembley in 1924, are well known as experts in connection with a number of electrical power schemes.

Colonel Sparks had a distinguished military career during the Great War. Being mobilised with the London Scottish in 1914 with the rank of sergeant, he served with great distinction throughout the period of hostilities and was made a Companion of the Order of St. Michael and St. George, as well as being awarded the Distinguished Service Order, the Military Cross and the French War Cross for his services. After the war he devoted a great deal of his spare time to his old regiment and the British Legion. He was elected ah associate member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in 1907, and was made a full member two years later. His connection with the Institution of Electrical Engineers began in 1895, when he was elected an associate, being made an associate member in 1907 and a member in 1911. He served on the Council of the latter body from 1917 to 1920."

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