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John Horace Bowden

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John Horace Bowden (1875-1933), electrical engineer to the Borough of Poplar Electricity Department

1934 Obituary [1]

John Horace Bowden was for many years electrical engineer to the Borough of Poplar Electricity Department, and was responsible for several notable improvements at the power station of this undertaking. He dispensed with a very inefficient and obsolete system of direct-current generation and installed three new 1,500 h.p. extra high-tension three-phase turbo-generators, with conversion to low-tension direct current by nine La Cour motor converters, this being the first installation of its kind in the country. During his superintendency the department obtained permission from the London County Council to erect steel chimneys on the boiler house, and was the first undertaking to do so. In addition, the undertaking was one of the first to offer cheap power for industrial use, and the first to supply all users, if they so desired, with power at a fixed standard charge plus a charge of 0.5d. per unit for all energy consumed. The generating station was the first in the country to be erected with complete equipment for burning pulverized coal, and Mr. Bowden was responsible for reducing the running costs to the lowest figure of any power station working under similar conditions in the Metropolitan area.

Mr. Bowden was born at Stretford, Manchester, in 1875, and received his early education at Bloxham College, Oxfordshire, and his technical training at Owens College, Manchester and Finsbury College, London.

He served an apprenticeship from 1891 to 1896 with the Great Central Railway at their Gorton works, after which he was made a draughtsman and later locomotive inspector.

In 1898 he was appointed resident engineer to the Brompton and Kensington Electric Supply Company and in 1901 joined the South Metropolitan Electric Light and Power Company as resident works engineer and held this position until 1904, when he took up his appointment at Poplar.

His death occurred at Grove Park on 14th July 1933. He had been a Member of the Institution since 1910 and was also a Member of the Institution of Electrical Engineers.

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