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British Industrial History

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Robert George Clark

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Robert George Clark O.B.E. (1880-1940)

Engineer to Middle Level Drainage and Navigation Commissioners, and Consulting Engineer, Middle Level Offices, March, Cambs.

Career:

  • About thirty-five years' experience in dock, harbour and river engineering also land drainage, and re-inforced concrete.

1941 Obituary [1]

Major ROBERT GEORGE CLARK, O.B.E., was appointed chief engineer to the Middle Level Drainage and Navigation Commissioners in 1921 and held that position at the time of his death, which occurred on 26th October 1940. He carried out many drainage projects in the Fens, the most notable being the design and construction by direct labour, of the Outfall Pumping Station at St. Germans, Norfolk, by which project he introduced large-scale fen pumping. For this work he was awarded the O.B.E.

He was born in 1880 and received his technical education at the Victoria Institute, Port Talbot, and at evening classes at the Goldsmiths' College, from 1894 to 1901. After serving his apprenticeship with Messrs. G. S. De Retter and Sons of Limehouse, E., he returned to Cardiff in 1901 to take charge of work under his father's firm, Messrs. Clark and Company, engineers and contractors. He was engaged on the design and construction of public works at Port Talbot and of a three-span steel bridge over the River Avon and on the survey and building of a railway line and sidings between Port Talbot and Maesteg.

He then took up an appointment in India as civil engineer under the Public Works Department, and on his return to England in 1906 he accepted the position of chief assistant on the staff of the Portland Cement Manufacturers, Ltd. For the next two years he was employed on the design and construction of a deep-water pier and several timber wharves on the Thames and Medway. From 1909 to 1914 he was district engineer to Messrs. Mouchel and Partners, Ltd., and was associated on their behalf, in South Wales, with a large variety of reinforced concrete structures for collieries, railways, and dock companies.

He then joined the Royal Engineers and proceeded to France in 1916, where he received a staff appointment as assistant director of inland waterways. On leaving the Army in 1919, he went into practice on his own account in Cardiff and was so engaged until 1921. While holding his appointment with the Middle Level Drainage Commissioners, he presented papers to the Institution of Civil Engineers and the Royal Society. He successfully introduced dragline excavators to the Fens, and advised drainage and catchment authorities in all parts of England on the alleviation of flooding. Major Clark was elected a Graduate of the Institution in 1902 and was transferred to Associate Membership in 1906; he was also a Member of the Institution of Civil Engineers.


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