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British Industrial History

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Rice Hopkins

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Rice Hopkins (1807-1857)

1832 Mr. R. Hopkins, Civil Engineer, publishes a report of the Bideford and Okehampton Railway.[1]

1836 Rice Hopkins of Plymouth, became a member of the Institution of Civil Engineers.[2]

1859 Obituary [3]

Rice Hopkins was born at Swansea in the year 1807.

He was the eldest son of the late Roger Hopkins, and the grandson of the late Evan Hopkins, Senior, both well-known Engineers in South Wales during the last century.

Mr. Hopkins commenced his professional career, in the year 1822, at the early age of fifteen, under the instruction of his father, who was then engaged practically in the construction of the Plymouth and Dartmoor Tramroad. He was thus placed in circumstances extremely favourable for acquiring a thoroughly practical knowledge of his future profession, and these circumstances he did not fail to improve.

In after years, he entered into partnership with his father, and then with his brother, Thomas Hopkins, whom he survived many years; and in conjunction with them he was engaged in some extensive works, in Devonshire, in South Wales, in Dorsetshire, and other parts. His practice extended to various engineering works; and he was also much employed in cases of arbitration, and railway compensation.

At the time of his decease, he held the appointments of Engineer to the Llanidloes and Newtown Railway Company, the West Somerset Mineral Railway Company, and the Watchet Harbour Commissioners: the proposed improvements in that harbour being based upon his plans, as approved by the Lords of the Admiralty.

His practical education had impressed him with a fixed opinion of the possibility of constructing railways and other public works at a less cost than was usual, and on that system he conscientiously endeavoured to carry out the works intrusted to him. He had an ardent love for his profession, and considerable abilities for the discharge of his duties; he possessed great powers of application, integrity of principle, and amiability of disposition, by which he was making considerable advance in his profession, when his health gave way, under the pressure of business; and on the 18th of December, 1857, in his fiftieth year, he breathed his last, deeply regretted by a wide circle of friends.

Mr. Hopkins had been for many years connected with the Institution of Civil Engineers: he was elected a Corresponding Member in the year 1836, and on the abolition of that class, in the year 1837, he was transferred to the class of Members. He contributed some maps and works to the Library, and always evinced great interest in the welfare of the Society, at whose meetings he was a regular attendant, whenever his professional engagements permitted him.

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