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John Napier (1832-1883)

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John Napier (1832-1883)

1832 Born the son of David Napier


1885 Obituary [1]

JOHN NAPIER, eighth and youngest son of the late David Napier, engineer, Lambeth, was born in London on the 29th October, 1832.

He was educated at the High School, Glasgow, and King’s College School, London. After completing his education he proceeded to New Zealand and was for some time engaged in land-surveying.

Having decided to follow the profession of a civil engineer he returned to England and entered the office of Messrs. Walker, Burges and Cooper, in April, 1856. He was at once placed under the resident engineer on the Netherton Tunnel branch of the Birmingham Canal-Navigation, then in course of construction, where he was engaged for about two years; on the completion of these works he returned to Messrs. Walker and Co.’s office in London, where he remained as an assistant till March, 1865, when he was appointed principal assistant to Mr. Thomas Ormiston, then chief engineer to the Elphinstone Land and Press Company, Bombay.

He arrived in Bombay on the 11th May, 1866, and was for three years engaged on extensive works of reclamation from the harbour with tidal-basins, bridges over the railways to connect the estate with the native town and other works ; during six months of this time he had the entire charge of the works in Mr. Ormiston’s absence in England, and his services were substantially acknowledged by the directors and the chief engineer.

The state of Mr. Napier’s health necessitated his going home at the end of his engagement. He therefore left Bombay on the 7th July, 1868, and returned to London. Here he remained for some gears in delicate health and occupied himself with sundry inventions, some of which he ultimately patented. He determined again to visit New Zealand, principally for the benefit of his health, and left London on the 6th May, 1874. After residing for some time there he proceeded to Australia and was engaged in railway engineering in New South Wales.

His expectations of recovery in the colony were not realized, and he died at Sydney in August, 1883. Mr. Napier inherited some of his father’s mechanical ability and was very fond of his profession, but was prevented by his delicate health and retiring disposition from engaging in the active practice of it.

He was elected an Associate Member on the 2nd of May, 1865.



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