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British Industrial History

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John Alfred Griffiths

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John Alfred Griffiths (1848-1933), engineer

1848 Banuary 26th. Born at Bethnal Green, London, the son of Thomas Griffiths, accountant, and his wife Elizabeth Hawkins. He was a younger brother of George Washington Griffiths.

Educated at Owens College, Manchester, in 1865-68, he sat for the examinations of the Royal College of Chemistry, completing the practical part of his training with Gregson, Brown and Son, toolmakers, of Middleton, Lancashire.

Worked with the London and North Western Railway till 1873 when he went to Queensland to join his brother in establishing the foundry of Griffiths Brothers and Co. at Toowoomba.

A partner in 1873-76, he was probably responsible for the design of the company's famous 'Southern Cross' windmill.


1933 Obituary [1]

JOHN ALFRED GRIFFITHS was the oldest surviving Member of the Institution, having been on the roll since 1873.

He was born in London and received his technical education at Owens College, Manchester, where he gained a Whitworth Scholarship in 1870. He also received a period of training at the Royal School of Mines, London. He was awarded the Watt Medal and the Crampton Prize for his paper on "Windmills for Raising Water" read in 1894 before the Institution of Civil Engineers, of which he was an Associate Member.

He went to Australia in 1873 and was engaged on construction work on various railways.

He returned to England in 1879 and subsequently became assistant lecturer at Owens College.

In 1887 he again left for Australia, where he was engaged in work for the New South Wales, Victorian and Queensland Government until he reached retiring age in 1913.

He was 85 years of age at the time of his death, which occurred in Queensland on 30th March 1933.


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