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British Industrial History

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John Kershaw (1827-1912)

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John Kershaw (1827-1912)


1912 Obituary [1]

JOHN KERSHAW was born at Abingdon on 3rd January 1827.

He was articled to Mr. John V. Gooch, locomotive superintendent of the London and South Western Railway at Nine Elms, and in 1850 went with him to the (then called) Eastern Counties Railway, as one of the three engineering superintendents. Whilst there, and on the London and South Western Railway, he conducted many experiments on the consumption of fuel and the resistance of air in locomotive engines.

In 1851 be became superintendent at Dover, under Mr. Cudworth, for whom he made important experiments in the economic working of the Crampton engine as compared with the standard express engines of that line.

In the following year he was appointed Locomotive Engineer of the Midland Great Western Railway of Ireland until June 1854, when shortly afterwards he superintended the construction of the Railway-Carriage and Wagon Building Works at Oldbury, near Birmingham.

In the following year he was appointed Locomotive Engineer of the Great Indian Peninsula Railway, at Bombay, and accomplished the difficult work of superintending the railway from the top of the Bhore Ghaut to Poona, and for the complete success of this undertaking received the thanks of the Indian Government.

Owing to ill-health, induced by his arduous labours in an unhealthy climate, he resigned and left India in 1860.

He designed the 10-wheel bogie-engines for working the Bhore Ghaut incline, the ruling gradient of which is 1 in 37, and as evidence of their suitability, they are still at work, and were the precursors of the bogie-engines now used on the principal English lines.

In the starting of the first cotton mills in Bombay, by some of the leading native merchants, he was professionally consulted.

In after life be was connected with the firm of Sharp, Stewart and Co., late of Manchester, and also with the Oldbury Carriage Works, near Birmingham.

His death took place, after a short illness, in London, on 20th February 1912, at the age of eighty-five.

He became a Member of this Institution in 1866; he was also a Member of the Royal Society of Arts and of the Royal Zoological Society. [S. W. K.]


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