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James Nelson Shoolbred

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James Nelson Shoolbred (1835-1907)

Also see James Nelson Shoolbred (Consultant)

1866 Married at Liverpool to Mary Walton

1881 Living at 11 Alexander Road, Norwood: James N. Shoolbred (age 45 born Bangor, Caernarvonshire), Civil Engineer. With his wife Mary Shoolbred (age 34 (?) near Liverpool) and their children Winifred Shoolbred (age 2 born Norwood) and Francis Shoolbred (age 1 born Norwood). Also two visitors and two servants.[1]


1908 Obituary [2]

JAMES NELSON SHOOLBRED died on the 8th September, 1907, at Kirkwall in Orkney.

Born at Bangor in 1835, his early practical experience was gained under the late Mr. Charles Blacker Vignoles, Past-President, on the construction of the Tudela and Bilbao railway in Spain.

After a short period in Ireland, he went in 1865 to Liverpool, where he engaged in consulting practice. His work at Liverpool lay chiefly in the design and construction of large warehouses and industrial works, involving heavy ironwork, but he also carried out tidal survey work in the estuary of the Mersey. The experience thus gained he embodied in a Paper, "On the Changes in the Tidal Portion of the River Mersey, and in its Estuary," which was read before The Institution in 1876, in which year he removed from Liverpool to Westminster.

Mr. Shoolbred's association with municipal electrical enterprise in this country began in 1888, when he carried out the electric lighting of Bradford, before which date only ten towns in Great Britain were lighted by electricity. Subsequently he acted as consulting engineer for similar installations at Brighton, Birkenhead, Accrington, Stockport, Doncaster and many other places.

Mr. Shoolbred took a deep interest in the work of the various societies with which he was connected, and contributed several valuable Papers to their proceedings. He was a Member of the Society of Arts and of the Institution of Electrical Engineers, and served on a committee appointed by the latter body to consider the question of fire risks from electric lighting. He also acted on several occasions as secretary to the Mechanical Section of the British Association.

Mr. Shoolbred was elected an Associate of The Institution on the 2nd February, 1864, and was transferred to the class of Members on the 9th May, 1876.


1908 Obituary [3]

JAMES NELSON SHOOLBRED died on September 8, 1907, at Kirkwall, in Orkney.

He was born at Bangor, in Wales, in 1835, and became a pupil of Charles Vignoles.

Mr. Shoolbred achieved a considerable reputation during the earlier developments of electrical engineering, and was regarded as one of the pioneers of municipal electrical engineering enterprise. He acted as Consulting Engineer to many municipalities, and the first work of this character which he took in hand was in connection with the lighting installation for Bradford in the year 1888, before which date only ten towns in Great Britain were lighted by electricity.

Two years later he was acting as Consulting Engineer to the Brighton Corporation, and in 1895 in the same capacity for Birkenhead, in 1897 for Accrington, in 1898 for Stockport, and in 1899 for Doncaster. He was Consulting Engineer to these Corporations not only in their general works, but he also supervised the completion of the electrical installations until they were taken over by the several municipalities. He appears also to have acted for many other towns when seeking provisional orders or Parliamentary powers, and in many cases success was due to the advice given by Mr. Shoolbred in the preparation of the proposals.

Two papers were contributed by him to the Proceedings of the Institution on "The Measurement of Electricity for Commercial Purposes," read in 1883, and another on "Electric Light on the Forth Bridge Works," read in 1885. Mr. Shoolbred was also a member of the Committee appointed by the Institution in 1882 to draw up rules and regulations for the prevention of fire risks arising from electric lighting, and assisted in the work of publishing the first edition of the present Wiring Rules of the Institution.

Mr. Shoolbred was also an expert in harbour engineering work, and was closely connected with the construction of the Mersey Estuary.

He was elected a Member of the Institution in 1881.


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