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Leslie Stephen Robertson

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Leslie Stephen Robertson (formerly Robinson) (1863-1916), consulting engineer and secretary of the Engineering Standards Committee

son Sir William Rose Robinson(sic)

1863 October 4th. Born in Madras, India the son of Sir William Rose Robinson and his wife Julia Elizabeth Thomas

Married Eliza Caroline de Bauduy

1916 June 5th. Died at Sea when HMS Hampshire was sunk off the Orkneys.


1916 Obituary [1]

LESLIE STEPHEN ROBERTSON (formerly ROBINSON) was born at Kotagherry, India, on 4th October 1863, being the youngest son of Sir William R. Robinson, K.C.S.I., sometime Governor of the Presidency of Madras.

He was educated in Germany and at King's College, London, and acquired his scientific training at University College, London, under Sir Alexander B. W. Kennedy (then Professor Kennedy) from 1883 to 1885. He was one of the organizers and the first Secretary of the University College Engineering Society.

He next served two years at the works of Messrs. Denny and Co., of Dumbarton, and from 1887 to 1889 was in the drawing-office of the firm, being later appointed to superintend the Experimental Testing Department.

After some experience at sea as engineer on board the R.M.S. "Jumna," he entered the drawing-office of Messrs. John I. Thornycroft and Co., at Chiswick. For a time he acted as works manager until he was put in charge of a large contract for the French Government at the works of the Societe Anonyme des Forges et Chantiers de la Meditermnee, at Havre. On the completion of this work he visited the United States and Cuba.

In 1892 he commenced private practice as a consulting engineer in Westminster, and six years later was joined by Mr. F. D. Outram, late R.E. Until 1898 he represented Messrs. Normand, of Havre, and had charge of their work in this country. He also acted as Secretary of the first section of the International Railway Congress held at the Imperial Institute, and accompanied the Commission on Light Railways appointed by the Cape Government.

Mr. Robertson contributed two Papers to this Institution, one in 1897 on "Mechanical Propulsion on Canals" and the other in 1898 on "Narrow-Gauge Railways." Amongst other literary work he translated and edited the English edition of M. Bertin's treatise on "Marine Boilers," and delivered a course of lectures on "Water Tube Boilers" at University College, London.

In 1901 he was appointed Secretary of the Engineering Standards Committee, and he was thus brought into contact with every British engineer of eminence.

In July 1915, with the permission of that Committee, lie was appointed assistant to the Director of Production at the Ministry of Munitions, and in this position he was concerned with organizing the production of the metal components of gun-ammunition. His knowledge of the engineering capacity of the workshops of Great Britain was invaluable in the important negotiations leading to the enormous increase in the output of munitions that has been accomplished.

It was in this connexion that he became a member of Lord Kitchener's staff on the visit to Russia, and lost his life on 5th June 1916, in his fifty-third year, by the sinking of H.M.S. "Hampshire" off the Orkney Islands. For the purposes of this visit he was granted by the War Office the relative precedence of a Lieut.-Colonel.

Mr. Robertson was elected a Member of this Institution in 1892. He was also a Member of the Institution of Civil Engineers, the Institution of Naval Architects, and of other scientific societies. He was chairman and director of several companies, and a Freeman of the Pattenmakers' Company, of which he was Master in 1914.


1916 Obituary [2]

LESLIE STEPHEN ROBERTSON was among those lost with Lord Kitchener in H.M.S. Hampshire on June 5, 1916. He was attached to Lord Kitchener's staff as a representative of the Ministry of Munitions.

Mr. Robertson was born on October 4, 1863, and received his early education in Germany and at King's College, London. His scientific training was acquired at University College under Sir Alexander B. W. Kennedy (then Professor Kennedy) from 1883 to 1885. During his college career he carried out some original work on cast-iron beams, for which he was awarded the Miller Prize of the Institution of Civil Engineers.

On leaving college, Mr. Robertson served two years at the works of Messrs. Denny & Co., of Dumbarton, and subsequently from 1887 to 1889 took a position in Messrs. Denny's drawing-office, being later appointed to superintend the Experimental Testing Department. He had some experience at sea as engineer on board the R.M.S. Jumna, and in 1889 he entered the drawing-office of Messrs. John I. Thornycroft & Co., at Chiswick. He afterwards had charge of a large contract for the French Government at the works of the Societe Anonyme des Forges at Chantiers de la Mediteranee at Havre.

In 1892 Mr. Robertson commenced private practice as a consulting engineer in Westminster, and six years later he was joined by Mr. Frank D. Outram. During his practice as a consulting engineer, Mr. Robertson designed and superintended the construction of various factories in this country and abroad, and visited Canada and the United States to report on various undertakings.

In 1901 he was appointed secretary of the Engineering Standards Committee, and the admirable work performed by him in that connection is that by which he will always be remembered. In 1915 Mr. Robertson placed his services at the disposal of the Government in connection with the Ministry of Munitions, and was appointed assistant to the Director of Production.

Amongst other literary work, Mr. Robertson edited the English edition of the important treatise on "Marine Boilers" by M. L. E. Bertin, the well-known French naval constructor, and some twenty years ago he delivered a course of lectures on "Water-Tube Boilers" at University College, London. He also contributed various papers to the Institution of Mechanical Engineers and other technical societies.

He was elected an associate member of the Institution of Civil Engineers in 1889, and a full member in 1901.

He was also a member of the Institution of Naval Architects, and was elected a member of the Iron and Steel Institute in 1903.


1916 Obituary [3]

LESLIE STEPHEN XOBEKTRON, who, with Sir Frederick Donaldson, was attached to Lord Kitchener’s staff as a representative of the Ministry of Munitions, also lost his life by the sinking of the “Hampshire” on the 5th June, 1916.

Born in India on the 4th October, 1863, he was the youngest son of the late Sir William Rose Robinson, sometime Governor of Madras, the original family name of Robertson being resumed in 1898. He was educated at King’s College and University College, London, and in Germany, and obtained his practical training with Messrs. Denny and Company, Dumbarton.

He next gLined experience at sea as engineer on board the R.M.S. “ Jumna,” and in 1889 he entered the drawing-office of Messrs. John I. Thornycroft and Company, at Chiswick. Later he was appointed interim works manager until he was put in charge of a large contract for the French Government at the works of the Socletie Anonyme des Forges et Chantiers de la Mediterranne, at Havre. On the completion of this work he visited the United States and Cuba.

In 1892 Mr. Robertson commenced private practice as a consulting engineer in Westminster, and became partner in the firm of Robertson and Outram in 1898. Until 1898 he was the representative of the late Mr. J. A. Normand, M. Inst. C.E., of Havre, and had charge of all his work in this country. He also acted as Secretary of the first section of the International Railway Congress held at the Imperial Institute, and accompanied the Commission on Light Railways appointed by the Cape Government.

In 1901 Mr. Robertson was appointed Secretary to the Engineering Standards Committee, and it is in connection with this important body that probably his most valuable work was done. The present extensive organization, with its numerous subdivisions and constantly increasing activities, embracing very diverse interests and involving the co-operation of a large number of engineers and manufacturers, originated with a small committee appointed, under the chairmanship of Sir John Wolfe Barry, Honorary Member, by the Council of The Institution in January, 1901, to report on rolled sections of iron and steel. That this body has developed smoothly and has executed its work in a thoroughly business-like way is undoubtedly largely due to the tact and powers of organization displayed by its Secretary.

In 1915 Mr. Robertson, with the consent of the Engineering Standards Committee, placed his services at the disposed of the Government in connection with the Ministry of Munitions, and was appointed assistant to the Director of Production.

He was the author of a work on "Water-Tube Boilers,” a translation of Mr. L. E. Bertin’s "Marine Boilers,” and various Papers, including with Mr. de Segundo a Student’s Paper on cast-iron beams, for which he received a Miller Prize.

Mr. Robertson was elected an Associate Member of The Institution on the 3rd December, 1889, and was transferred to the class of Members on the 19th February, 1901.


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