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British Industrial History

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John Webster (d.1945)

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John Webster (1876-1944)

1945 Obituary [1]

JOHN WEBSTER, Wh.Ex., was engaged for practically the whole of his professional career in India. He was born in 1876 and received his technical education at Rutherford College, Newcastle upon Tyne, winning a Whitworth exhibition in 1898. After serving his apprenticeship from 1892 to 1897 at the Gateshead works of the North Eastern Railway, he was employed for a brief period as a fitter by the Wallsend Slipway and Engineering Company. During the next two years gained further experience as a journeyman and later became a foreman in charge of a new shop in the Ordnance Department, at the works of Messrs. Armstrong, Whitworth and Company, Ltd.

He then sailed for India to take up the appointment of instructor in mechanical engineering at the College of Engineering, Madras, and began an association which lasted for thirty years until his retirement in 1931. He was the first mechanical engineer to be appointed to the staff of the college, which until then had only provided for civil engineering students. In addition to the imparting of instruction, his responsibilities included the supervision of the mechanical laboratory and the testing of engines, fuels, and gas. At one time, for a period of thirteen and a half months, he acted for the Chief Inspector of Factories, Madras Presidency.

During the last years of his retirement in England, after the outbreak of the present war, he took up instructional work for the Services, and was principally engaged on lecturing in Naval technical courses at training centres on the South Coast. Mr. Webster, whose death occurred on 9th January 1944, was a keen supporter of the Institution of which he was elected an Associate Member in 1910. He was also a valued member of several other technical societies.

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