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Thomas Lovell

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Thomas Lovell (1827-1878)


1879 Obituary [1]

MR. THOMAS LOVELL, eldest son of Mr. Charles Wells Lovell, of Gray’s Inn, solicitor, was born on the 6th January, 1827.

He was educated at Ring’s College School, London, under Dr. Major.

At the age of sixteen he was articled to the late Mr. William Scamp, M. Inst. C.E., during which time he was engaged on Admiralty works at Malta, including graving docks, slips, bakeries, &c. This opportunity of gaining practical knowledge, and the example of hard work set by the master, were not lost upon the pupil, and were frequently referred to with satisfaction in after life.

Mr. Lovell’s first engagement was at the Portland breakwater, then under construction, where he remained for about two years as an assistant engineer.

He was next employed on the South Eastern Railway, between Folkestone and Dover; and afterwards for six years was with the Messrs. Rigby, as contractors’ engineer, on the works of the Portland and Holyhead breakwaters, and. the Windsor and River Lee improvements.

In March 1855 he was appointed an assistant engineer on the Madras railway, and rose from the third to the first class in the company’s service. He resigned in May 1862, having in the interval been engaged for two years as an assistant engineer in charge of 25 miles of line, and for five years as resident engineer, having the responsibility of the construction of the works, at first on a district of 40 miles, and then of 80 miles.

Mr. Lovell next had the superintendence for a short time of the construction of a new dock at Malta, and of alterations to the harbour. But he soon accepted an appointment on the contractors’ staff for the construction of the Jubbulpore line of the East Indian railway.

On the completion of this contract Mr. Lovell returned to England, and again, after a short interval, he sailed for India once more, having been appointed a district engineer on the Oudh and Rohilkund railway, on the 15th August, 1868. He was placed in charge of the western division, extending from Lucknow to Moradabad, including the Aligarh branch, 60 miles in length, which branch was opened for traffic long before any other portion of the company’s system. The completion of this link with the East Indian railway enabled the Oudh and Rohilkund Railway Company to draw from Aligarh the stores and materials so requisite to prosecute with despatch their main line in Rohilkund. The principal work on this section was the bridge across the Ganges, at Rajghat, the first attempt ever made to span that river. Notwithstanding the expedition with which the work was carried through, stability in its construction was always kept in view; and Mr. Lovell was publicly congratulated by Sir John Strachey, Lieutenant-Governor of the North-Western Provinces, when the bridge was opened.

While the branch referred to was being proceeded with, Mr. Lovell was also engaged in promoting the construction of the main line to Moradabad, a length of 215 miles. The rapid progress of the western or Rohilkund line was noticeable from its earliest period, and elicited the encomium of the Government of India, as well as that of the Board of Directors in London.

On the 1st February, 1869, he was promoted to deputy chief engineer, and afterwards to chief engineer, and had the satisfaction before long of seeing the completion of the entire system. During his tenure of office as chief engineer, a second bridge was carried across the Ganges, at Cawnpore, and many important bridges were completed on the Oudh line, viz., The Tonse, near Akberpore, in Fyzabad, the Gumti and Saie in Jounpore, and the Burna at Benares.

In the spring of 1875 Mr. Lovell obtained a year's leave of absence. On his way to England he made a tour round the world. From Calcutta he went to China, thence to Japan, San Francisco, and New York, visiting in succession Pekin, Hong Kong, Nagasaki, Yokohama, the far-famed Yosemite Valley, Salt Lake city, Philadelphia, Boston, Washington, and other important cities, finally passing through some parts of Canada. During this tour he inspected most of the important engineering works in each country, especially in the United States, where he received the greatest kindness and courtesy from his brother professionals.

In the autumn of 1876 Mr. Lovell returned to India, and was latterly engaged in drawing up a project for a steam ferry at Rajghat, Benares, to enable goods wagons to crow from the Oudh. and Rohilkund railway terminus to the East Indian railway station on the opposite bank of the Ganges. In April of 1878 he lost his wife, to whom he was much attached. This had a most depressing effect; and though h8 battled manfully against its effects, his health. began to give way, and he died of carbuncle at Mussoorie, on the 23rd of August, 1878.

Mr. Lovell was universally esteemed, respected, and liked. Besides a complete mastery of work, he had great powers of organisation, as well as discrimination in selecting his staff. It was owing to these characteristics, and his unflagging determination to overcome all difficulties; that the works on which he was engaged were always executed with promptitude.

He was elected a Member of the Institution on the 2nd of December, 1862.


1879 Obituary [2]



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