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John Sutherland Valentine

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John Sutherland Valentine (1813-1898).

Died 1898 aged 85.[1]


1898 Obituary [2]

JOHN SUTHERLAND VALENTINE was born at Hartshorne, near Burton-upon-Trent, in Derbyshire, on the 21st September, 1813.

He was educated at he Grammar School at Coleshill, Warwickshire, where his father then resided, engaged as Surveyor of several of the turnpike roads in the district, upon which he designed and carried out many important improvements.

At the age of sixteen young Valentine entered the office of Mr. John Dumolo, a land and mineral surveyor living at Kingsbury, near Tamworth, where he remained five or six years, during which period he was employed on the preliminary surveys of the Birmingham and Liverpool, and the London and Birmingham Railways.

In the year 1835 he entered the office of the late Mr. John Urpeth Rastrick, under whom he was employed for a period of ten years upon most of the railways projected by that engineer.

In the year 1845 Mr. Valentine was appointed joint engineer with Mr. Rastrick of the proposed railway from Ambergate by Nottingham and Grantham to Boston and Spalding, the preliminary surveys for which he superintended ; but he resigned this appointment in favour of Mr. John Underwood, afterwards Engineer-in-chief to the Midland Railway Company (under whose superintendence the line from Nottingham to Grantham was constructed), having been appointed engineer to construct the railways from Lynn to Ely, Lynn to Wisbech, and Lynn to East Dereham, in Norfolk, which had been laid out and the Acts obtained under his charge as Assistant Engineer under Mr. Rastrick. The whole of the works upon these lines were designed and executed under Mr. Valentine’s direction.

In the following year, upon the resignation of the late Mr. G. W. Buck through ill-health, he succeeded that gentleman as engineer of the Ely and Huntingdon Railway, and constructed the portion of that line from St. Ives to Huntingdon. After the completion of these railways, which had been amalgamated under the title of the "East Anglian Railways Company,” and now form part of the Great Eastern Railway system, Mr. Valentine removed to London and was actively engaged there in engineering matters until 1853, when he was appointed Engineer to the line then projected under the title of the “Central Peninsular Railway of Portugal ” from Lisbon to Oporto and the frontier of Spain. In the autumn of that year he went to reside at Lisbon, and laid out and superintended the construction of the first section of that line from Lisbon to Santarem, which was the first railway made in Portugal.

In the year 1859 Mr. Valentine projected the South-Eastern of Portugal Railway from Vendas Novas to Evora and Beja in the province of the “Alemtejo,” a concession for which he obtained from the Portuguese Government for a company formed in London. This line was laid out and the contract let to Mr. Edward Price under his superintendence, soon after which he resigned his connection with it.

The following railways have since that time been designed and executed under Mr. Valentine’s superintendence ; (1861-62) the line from King’s Lynn to Hunstanton, the West Norfolk Railway from Heacham to Wells, the Ely, Haddenham, and Sutton Railway in Cambridgeshire, and the Thetford and Watton Railway; (1873-75) the Watton and Swaffham Railway; (1876-7) the Sutton and St. Ives Railway in Cambridgeshire and Huntingdonshire, and the laying out and obtaining the Act for the Lynn and Fakenham Railway in Norfolk, which has since been constructed by Messrs. Wilkinson and Jarvis and extended to Norwich and Yarmouth.

In the year 1862, upon the bursting of the sluice on the Middle Level Drainage and immediately afterwards of the sluice on the Smeeth and Fen drainage in Marshland, Mr. Valentine was retained by the Commissioners of Sewers for the county of Norfolk to advise them as to the best mode of securing the district of Marshland from inundation, the sluice upon the “ Marshland drain” being the only one remaining to prevent the whole of that fertile country being submerged. To effect this object he built a timber dam or sluice across the drain above the main sluice on the River Ouse, and connected it with the banks of that river by banks on each side of the drains of sufficient height to keep out the tide, and by this means secured the country against any further catastrophe. About the same period Mr. Valentine also constructed defensive works for the protection of the low lands extending along the sea coast from Snettisham Beach by Hunstanton to Holme on the estate of Mr. Le Strange, the sea having in several places breached the barrier of sand and shingle which extends along a great portion of this part of the property.

In 1871 he constructed works for supplying the new town of Hunstanton St. Edmunds with water.

In the year 1876 he was appointed Engineer to the King’s Lynn Dock Company, the large corn warehouses for which were designed and built under his superintendence, and in 1877 he laid out and carried through Parliament the extension dock which was constructed (1881-83) under his direction. He became Chairman of the Hunstanton and West Norfolk Railway Company, the Ely and St. Ives Railway Company, and the Hunstanton Water Company.

He was elected a Director of the King’s Lynn Docks and Railway Company in 1888, and on the death of Sir Lewis W. Jarvis at the latter end of that year he became Chairman of the Company. He was also a Director of Moule’s Earth Closet Company.

From the year 1875 to the completion of the Bentinck Dock at King’s Lynn in 1884, his son, Mr. Frederick Valentine, was in partnership with him.

About the year 1885 Mr. Valentine retired from business, though not from work, for his active duties in connection with the public companies with which he was associated were maintained almost to the last. He was for many years a well-known figure in the committee-rooms of both Houses of Parliament. His long connection with the railway world and the experience he obtained when promoting his early schemes rendered him a good and valuable witness, and he was retained in many of the great railway fights.

After a residence at Kensington of nearly forty years he, in 1893, removed to Hythe, in Kent, where he died on the 24th March, 1898, in his eighty-fifth year.

Mr. Valentine was elected a Member on the 2nd May, 1848. He contributed the following Papers to the Minutes of Proceedings: “Description of a timber bridge erected over the river ab Hilgay on the line of the Lynn and Ely Railway,” and "Description of the line and works of the railway from Lisbon to Santarem.”



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