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British Industrial History

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Richard Ravenhill

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Richard Ravenhill (1800-1887)

1800 Born in Clapham, son of John and Jane Ravenhill

1840 Richard Ravenhill of Clapham Common, became a member of the Institution of Civil Engineers.[1]


1887 Obituary [2]

RICHARD RAVENHILL was connected with this Institution for nearly half a century, having been elected an Associate on the 10th of May, 1840.

He was born at Clapham on the 25th of December, 1800, and began his early education in a private school, from whence he was sent to Eton, and finished with a private tutor, who was one of the first mathematicians of the day.

His habits were of a sedentary nature, and he entered his father’s counting-house in the City. The firm, Ravenhill and Oldham, had large transactions with Spain and Gibraltar, and at these places he subsequently represented them for many years, during which period the seeds of his future business habits were sown and much force of character developed.

Mr. Ravenhill’s connection with the marine-engineering world began in 1835, when he entered into partnership with the late Joseph Miller, F.R.S., M. Inst. C.E., at Glass House Fields, Ratcliff, undertaking the commercial and financial management of the firm of Miller, Ravenhill and Co.

After the retirement, through ill-health, of Mr. Miller in 1852, he remained for about ten years with his other partners, to whom his lengthened experience and sound financial advice proved of the greatest assistance during the pressure of business arising from the Crimean War, and the subsequent universal introduction of the screw-propeller into the British and foreign navies.

During the period he was connected with the east of London he, in conjunction with his firm, strongly advocated it cordial support of the local schools and charities, including the Tower Hamlets Dispensary, the London Hospital, and the Poplar Hospital and on the establishment of the Volunteer force, in 1859, he was unanimously requested by the officers of the Tower Hamlets regiment to accept the post of Treasurer, which he held for some time.

In all business engagements Mr. Ravenhill was one of the old school. His word was his bond, and his honesty and integrity still live in the recollection of those with whom he had commercial relations ; whilst in private life his strong religious principles, and his unbounded liberality, will cause his memory to be both highly respected and gratefully remembered by the wide circle of friends-rich and poor-with whom, during a long life, he was connected.

He died on the 18th of January, 1887, having a few weeks previously completed his eighty-sixth year.



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