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Lawrence Fletcher White

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Lawrence Fletcher White (1864-1900)

1901 Obituary [1]

LAWRENCE FLETCHER WHITE, born on the 3rd October, 1864, obtained his first professional experience in the service of Messrs. Braddock and Matthews, contractors, under Mr. G. L. Waring, their engineer at Southport, on the construction of the West Lancashire Railway from Southport to Preston.

He was next engaged on widening works on the Bolton and Kenyon Railway, and subsequently on the construction of a branch of the Caledonian Railway between Airdrie and Coatbridge, near Glasgow.

In March, 1884, he left the service of Messrs. Braddock and Matthews and was articled to Sir Douglas Fox, Past-President, and Mr. Francis Fox, by whom he was employed on the construction of the Mersey Railway tunnel under Mr. A. H. Irvine, the Resident Engineer.

On the completion of his pupilage he was retained by Messrs. Fox as an Assistant Engineer on the Mersey Railway tunnel works, with occasional Parliamentary work, and for a short time as an assistant to Sir Charles Metcalfe on the Southport and Preston Junction Railway.

During 1888 and 1889 Mr. White was employed by Messrs. John G. Meiggs, Son and Company on railway surveys and construction in the Argentine Republic. While there he made a survey of the town of Santa Fe for a proposed drainage system, and also of the river and country between that town and Colastine: had charge of the construction of the tanks and culverts on the Santa Fe to Cordoba line for two months, and for four months was engaged in making the land plans and running trial lines outside Rosario for a railway into that town.

On the expiration of his agreement with Messrs. Hume Brothers, who were the representatives of Messrs. Meiggs in the Argentine Republic, Mr. White returned to England, and in May, 1890, went out for Mr. M. P. Grace to Peru on the extension of the Oroya Railway over the Andes. This line was then open as far up as Chicla, 12,218 feet above the sea. He was engaged on the survey and construction of the extension over the summit, a tunnel about 3 mile in length at an altitude of 15,720 feet, and also made a survey and plan of the portion of the line between Chicla and Lima.

It being desired to expedite the completion of the survey of the River Desaguadero between Lakes Titicaca and Poope in Bolivia, Mr. White was sent out in charge of a party to join the engineers already engaged on that work. The River Desaguadero at that spot is at an altitude of nearly 12,000 feet, and the country along its course is exceedingly barren.

In 1892 he was engaged by the Peruvian Corporation and placed in charge of one of the two parties of engineers sent out to survey and locate a railway proposed to connect the Oroya line with the navigable waters of the Amazon. This work lasted about five months, and was of a difficult and also dangerous character, owing to the unfriendliness of certain of the natives on the head waters of the Amazon. All the members of the engineering expedition returned to Lima safely and in good health. The means of transport were, first, and as far as a track existed, by pack mules; afterwards, when the forest was impenetrable, by canoes worked by friendly natives.

Mr. White returned to England at the end of 1892, and in the following year was engaged by Sir Douglas Fox and Mr. Francis Fox to set out and make the working plan and sections of a portion of the Great Central Railway extension to London. In 1894 he prepared the estimates and made the plans of a section of that line, and for the following five years was Resident Engineer in charge of the construction of a section of that railway for Messrs. Fox.

In December, 1899, Mr. White went to Ceylon as Chief Assistant of the Northern Railway for the purposes of superintending the construction of a new line from Kankesanturai to join the existing line. He was thus engaged until his death, the result of a snake bite, which took place at Jaffna on the 28th October, 1900.

Mr. White was elected an Associate Member of the Institution on the 6th May, 1890, and was transferred to the class of Members on the 12th December, 1899.

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