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Percy Burrell

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Percy Burrell (1833-1890)

1891 Obituary [1]

PERCY BURRELL was born at Camberwell on the 14th of June, 1833.

After passing two years (1849-1851) in the office of his father, the late Mr. John Burrell, Architect, he was articled for four years (1851-1855) to Mr. Thomas Page, with whom he remained for three years after the completion of his articles, as assistant, during the construction of the Windsor, Chelsea, and Westminster Bridges, the Chelsea Embankment, Charrington’s Coal Wharf, etc.

In January 1859 he entered the service of the Paraguayan Government.

In 1862 he and Mr. Valpy were appointed joint Engineers-in-Chief to the Asuncion and Villa Rica (Government) Railway, and other government works in Paraguay, including topographical military surveys, location and formation of encampments, and the designing and superintendence of important works of defence during the war against Brazil and the Argentine and Uruguayan Republics.

At this period about 46 miles of the railway were opened for traffic, and 15 more were ready for rail-laying, and the line as far as Villa Rica was surveyed. Among the works undertaken by the partners were river improvements, designing machinery, &c., as well as the design and construction of the Palace of President Lopez, which was considerably injured by the allies during the war; but which has now been repaired and adapted for the meetings of Congress, and other State purposes.

On the virtual conclusion of the war in the latter part of 1869, Mr. Burrell returned to London, where he and Mr. Valpy were joint engineers to the passing of the Act of the Wharves and Warehouses Steam-Power and Hydraulic-Pressure Company through Parliament, which Act was subsequently taken over by the General Hydraulic Power Company.

They were also engaged in bringing out improvements in railway rolling-stock and permanent way for railways and tramways.

After devoting some years to English and foreign professional practice, Mr. Burrell went, in the latter part of 1881, to Venezuela to make a report on the proposed line of railway from the port of La Guaira to Caracas, on which railway he acted as Resident Engineer for Mr. James Livesey from March to November, 1882, when he was compelled to return to England through having suffered a severe sunstroke whilst in the performance of his duties.

After a short rest he again resumed practice in London, and in April 1889, became joint engineer with Mr. Valpy to the Paraguay Central Railway.

It is probable that the attack of sunstroke sustained by Mr. Burrell in Venezuela was the cause of his comparatively early death, which took place on the 27th of November, 1890.

He was elected a Member of the Institution on the 5th of May, 1874.

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