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John Brogden, Junior

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John Brogden, Junior (1823-1855)

1856 Obituary [1]

Mr. JOHN BROGDEN, Jun., eldest son of Mr. John Brogden, the well-known Contractor, was born at Manchester, in the year 1823.

He received the first rudiments of his education at the academy in Blackburn ; and, afterwards, evincing taste for scientific pursuits, was sent to Manchester, where he studied chemistry, under Dr. Lyon Playfair and Messrs. Day and Stone. The knowledge, which he thus gained, he was enabled practically to employ, during a subsequent residence of three years, at the chemical works in Clayton, near Manchester.

The Father, being extensively engaged in the execution of railway contracts, found it necessary, in 1840, to associate his son in his undertakings, and he was consequently employed upon the contract works of the Manchester and Birmingham line, of which the late Mr. Buck, (M. Inst. C.E.,) was Engineer.

After the completion of a considerable portion of this railway, he assisted in the construction of the Manchester and Leeds extension into Manchester.

He was subsequently employed, in conjunction with his Father, in executing contracts for works on the Northampton and Peterborough, -the East Lancashire, -the Ashton Branch of the London and North-Western, -and the Manchester and Altrincham Railways, and for the drainage works at Lynn, in Norfolk.

He also executed, on his own account, a contract on the Gravesend and Rochester Railway, and another on the North Kent line.

When railway construction had somewhat diminished, being fond of geology, he turned his attention to minerals and mining. The first enterprise of this kind, was undertaken, in conjunction with his partners, in raising hematite ore from the mines in Furness, in connection with which, they established an iron and steel manufactory near Ulverstone ; and he also became a partner in the Glamorganshire Iron and Coal Works, in South Wales.

In 1851, he purchased, in conjunction with his brother Mr. Alexander Brogden, the North Shore Cotton Mills in Liverpool, which they carried on until the mills were destroyed by fire, in the summer of 1853.

The late Mr. George Stephenson had entertained a great desire to establish a railway communication between the Furness district, and the Lancaster and Carlisle Railway, and at the same time, to reclaim a part of the sands of Morecambe Bay. He had frequently discussed the subject with Mr. Brogden, sen., and although deferred, the project was not lost sight of.

In 1851, an Act was obtained for this purpose, the principal promoters being the Duke of Buccleuch, the Earl of Burlington, Mr. Brogden, sen., and Mr. J. R. McClean, (M. Inst. C.E.,) who became the Engineer of the line. Mr. John Brogden, jun., being largely interested in the undertaking, became Vice-chairman of the Ulverstone and Lancaster Railway Company, and took, during the last three years, a very active part in carrying out the works. The popular doubts of the practicability of crossing the sands over any part of Morecambe Bay, in defiance of the course of the tides and the constant shifting of the fresh-water channels, tended only to heighten his interest, and to increase his determination to accomplish the task, of which he lived to see the greater portion successfully completed. A Paper on the construction of these Sea Embankments, was contributed to the Institution by Mr. James Brunlees, (M. Inst. C. E.), who had succeeded Mr. McClean as Engineer of the line, and was read before the Institution, on the 23rd of January 1855.

Mr. Brogden joined the Society as an Associate, in May 1852 ; he always evinced the greatest interest in its proceedings, and whenever he was in London, attended the Meetings with regularity and took part in the proceedings. He was also a Fellow of the Geological Society and a Member of the British Association.

He died at his residence, Lightburn House, Ulverstone, on the 6th of November 1855, at the early age of thirty-two. During the course of the day, he had been inspecting an iron mine, and it is conjectured, that the stooping posture which he was compelled to assume, had produced some injury to the brain. In the evening when about to leave his house to preside at a Missionary Meeting in Dalton, he suddenly fell down in an apoplectic fit, and died in about an hour afterwards. His death excited universal sorrow in the neighbourhood, and his memory will be long and fondly cherished by his numerous and attached friends.

He was an active and practical man of business, and had an extensive and varied knowledge of men and things. He was frank, kind, and courteous, not only to his friends, but to all with whom his extensive business transactions brought him into contact : and the workmen in his employ, will long regret the loss of so forbearing and considerate a master. He was ever ready to cooperate in promoting 0bjects for the benefit of the town in which he lived, and showed the great interest which he felt in the general progress and welfare of the people, by contributing an active support to every measure, calculated for the amelioration of their condition, and the advancement of education.

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