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British Industrial History

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James French

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James French (1846-1894)

1895 Obituary [1]

JAMES FRENCH, second son of Mr. William French, Surveyor, was born on the 19th of May, 1846, at John Street, Bedford Row, London.

In 1863 he was articled to Lucas Brothers for three years, during which time he went through the shops and the machinery department of that firm at Lowestoft.

From 1866 to 1872 he was employed by Messrs. Lucas Brothers as an assistant on various contracts, including the stations on the metropolitan extension of the London, Chatham and Dover Railway, the Albert Hall and the Exhibition buildings at South Kensington. For the two following years he assisted his father in taking out quantities, chiefly in connection with the metropolitan extensions of the Great Eastern Railway.

In 1874 Mr. French was appointed Chief Assistant to J. C. Simpson on the construction of the Main Drainage works of Buenos Ayres. During the three years he was thus engaged, he was responsible for the carrying out of about 40 miles of tunnelling, and was regarded as 'a reliable assistant, being most exact in all his work and remarkably steady and persevering.'

From 1877 to 1880 he carried out on his own account contracts on the Rio Grande and Porto Alegre Railway, including some preliminary work in connection with the large bridge over the river Jacuhy.

In 1880 Mr. French was appointed manager of the Dorstfontein Mining Company’s works at Dutoitspan, in South Africa, for which he superintended the erection of engines, machinery and general plant, and three years later he became manager to the Bultfontein Diamond Mining Company....[more]

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