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Mark Huish

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Captain Mark Huish 1809(?)-1867


1868 Obituary [1]

CAPTAIN MARK HUISH was descended from an old Leicestershire family.

He entered the East India Company’s service at an early age, and obtained rapid promotion.

Returning from India, he became Secretary and General Manager of the Glasgow and Greenock Railway, shortly after its opening in 1839 or 1840 ; and was Secretary and Manager to the Grand Junction Railway Company from 1841 to 1845. In this year the Grand Junction Railway Company was amalgamated with the Liverpool and Manchester and Bolton Railway Company, and Captain Huish was appointed manager of the united companies.

During the memorable gauge contest of 1845-46, in which he took an active part, the Grand Junction sought an independent line to London - an attempt which led to its amalgamation, in 1846, with the London and Birmingham Railway. The fusion of these companies into one undertaking - the London and North Western - was in a measure due to the personal influence of Captain Huish, and he became the general manager of the whole line. His rule was based on sound commercial principles, as well as upon an admirable system of centralization ; and he was a zealous and determined upholder of the interests of the Company with which he was connected. He enforced the utmost responsibility everywhere, and succeeded by this and other means in securing regularity, safety, and celerity in railway travelling, and a command over sudden and overwhelming eruptions of traffic.

In September 1858, Captain Huish resigned his post, in consequence of the course taken by the leading representatives of the competing lines with which the London and North Western Board had to carry out traffic arrangements. After the final acceptance of his resignation, in November, 1858, he was presented with an address, and testimonial from upwards of five thousand persons in the employ of the Company. During the entire period of his connection with the Company, Captain Huish exercised an important influence over its councils, and the undertaking continued to increase by the absorption of other lines, and the construction of additional branches.

In 1846 the capital was £16,000,000 and the revenue £2,000,000 ; and in 1858, the capital was £25,000,000, and the revenue £3,000,000. The advice and opinion of Captain Huish, owing to his ability and experience, were frequently sought by those connected with other companies, and his influence generally was felt and admitted by the entire body of railway managers.

Captain Huish was Chairman of the Clifton Suspension Bridge Company, Deputy-Chairman of the Electric and International Telegraph Company, and a Director of the Isle of Wight Railway Company, of which he was the main supporter. He also took a warm interest in the introduction of the pneumatic system of railways.

On retiring from the management of the London and North Western Railway, Captain Huish took up his permanent residence at Combe Wood, near Bonchurch, in the Isle of Wight. He joined the Ventnor Rifle Corps as a private, and was a staunch supporter of the volunteer movement. At the earnest solicitation and unanimous voice of the corps, he, a few months before his death, accepted the command of the Company, and by the heartiness with which he set to work, raised it to a considerable degree of efficiency.

And if in business and public matters Captain Huish's name was so well known, so in moral and benevolent movements was he a foremost man. He was especially an active supporter of the London City Mission, and was always ready to advocate its claims. Other benevolent objects also had his hearty co-operation ; and his house was often thrown open for religious meetings, and for the reception of various societies with which he was connected. Captain Huish was elected an Associate of the Institution of Civil Engineers on the 6th of April, 1852 ; and served as an Associate of Council in 1859-60. Shortly after his election he presented a Paper to the Institution on Railway Accidents; their Cause, and means of Prevention; detailing particularly the various contrivances which are in use, and have been proposed."'

He died, after a short illness, on the 18th of January, 1867, aged fifty-eight years; and was interred in the parish church of Uonchurch.


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