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British Industrial History

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Robert Crichton

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Robert Crichton (1847-1895)

1895 Obituary [1]

ROBERT CRICHTON was born at Glasgow on the 21st of December, 1847. His father, Mr. David Crichton, was cashier at the Hurlet and Campsie Alum Works, of which Sir James King is now the principal. His grandfather, James Crichton, was a well-known philosophical instrument maker, established in Glasgow for about half a century. This James Crichton when a young man of promise was taken into the family of Dr. Anderson, Professor of Natural Philosophy in the University, for whom he made models and instruments and from whom he gained scientific knowledge. He invented and constructed, in the course of his long business career, instruments excellent in their day, including astronomical apparatus, dipping - needles, hydrostatic balances, weather-gauges, thermometers, and index-locks.

Robert Crichton was educated at the High School, and became in 1863 a pupil of Robert Strathearn, civil and mining engineer. Having served a pupilage of four years, he was for two years assistant on the engineering staff of the Glasgow and South Western Railway.

Then from 1869 to 1873 he was with Kyle and Frew, Ronald Johnstone and Rankine, and William Crouch, all of Glasgow.

In 1873 he was again on the engineering staff of the Glasgow and South Western Railway, remaining until 1875, when he entered the service of the London and North Western Railway Company. At first he acted as resident assistant engineer of the West Cumberland District under Mr. S. B. Worthington.

In August, 1883, the lines between Carlisle and Ingleton were added to this district, which in the following year was extended to Euxton Junction, when Preston became Mr. Crichton's head-quarters.

In 1886 he was promoted to the post of assistant divisional engineer of the same extended district, and on the death of J. G. Brickenden, in November, 1887, he was appointed divisional engineer of the Northern Division of the London and North Western Railway. This post he held during the remainder of his life.

While photographing a building on the railway at the end of December, 1894, Mr. Crichton slipped on stepping from some loose bricks and grazed his leg. Blood-poisoning seems to have developed from a trifling wound and within three weeks he died at his house in Lancaster, on the 17th of January, 1895, at the age of forty-seven years.

Mr. Crichton was a careful, conscientious worker, with a considerable amount of Scottish tenacity of purpose when he believed himself to be in the right. He had acquired much sound practical knowledge, for which he was distinguished rather than for scientific attainments. He was the inventor of improvements in diamond railway-crossings.

Mr. Crichton was elected a Member on the 3rd of February, 1891.

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