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Thomas Gaul Browning

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Thomas Gaul Browning (1831-1873)

1875 Obituary [1]

MR. THOMAS GAUL BROWNING was born on the 5th of June, 1831.

When fifteen years old he was articled to Mr. Ware, Architect and Builder, of Exeter, with whom he remained until he was twenty-one. During his pupilage he obtained a prize given by the Mayor of Plymouth for 'the best set of drawings and plan for a gentleman’s mansion,' to be competed for by apprentices only.

After a short service under Mr. Cummings, the late City Surveyor of Exeter, Mr. Browning in April 1853 came to London, and entered the office of Mr. Seth Smith, the eminent builder, of Pimlico, when he was chiefly occupied in superintending Government hydraulic works at Woolwich.

About March 1855, he was appointed a clerk of works under the Metropolitan Commissioners of Sewers, and subsequently, on the formation of the Metropolitan Board of Works, became Assistant Surveyor of the parish of Marylebone. Such a position in one of the wealthiest and most populous of the metropolitan parishes, always one of great responsibility, became doubly arduous at this time, and required the most unremitting attention.

The Metropolitan Railway Company was slowly burrowing a tunnel through the heart of the parish, closing streets, diverting sewers, undermining houses, and otherwise trespassing in a domain hitherto sacred to the parochial authorities.

Simultaneously with these works, among the heaviest and most complicated in modern engineering, many miles of new sewers had to be built, besides the less onerous, but scarcely less important, work of maintaining the streets and roads in an efficient state.

Mr. Browning, however, gave such satisfaction in the performance of his varied functions that in March 1866, on the retirement of the Chief Surveyor, he was appointed his successor. He was one of the first to advise the employment of the steam roller and the snow plough in a metropolitan parish, and he devoted much time and thought to the perfection of a new fire escape, which was on the point of being introduced when its inventor was suddenly cut off in the forty-second year of his age, after a brief illness. Mr. Browning was much and deservedly respected in the parish of Marylebone as a most conscientious, able, and hard-working officer, who laboured early and late in the performance of his duty.

He was elected an Associate of the Institution of Civil Engineers on the 2nd of December, 1862, and died on the 30th of December, 1873.

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