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British Industrial History

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William Brew

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William Brew (1868-1942)

Lecturer to the Battersea Polytechnic

1901 Article on Electric Fires [1]

1942 Obituary [2]

WILLIAM BREW was born in December, 1868, and received his technical education at Finsbury Technical College. On leaving Finsbury he spent three years with Messrs. Siemens Brothers as an assistant engineer.

In 1891 he joined the staff of the British Museum as an electrical engineer and finally became resident consultant.

In 1901 he obtained an appointment under the Dublin Corporation in connection with their 3-phase electric power and lighting scheme. Except for a short break of one year, during which he was head of the General Electric Co.'s contract department, he remained with the Dublin Corporation Electric Supply Department until 1910, being Chief Expert Assistant from 1905 to 1910. The experience he gained at Dublin led to the publication in 1911 of his book entitled "Three-Phase Transmission."

From 1911 to 1914 he was Chief Engineer at the Oerlikon Turbine Works, India. On the outbreak of the Great War he returned from India to become Lecturer in Electrical Engineering at Belfast Municipal Technical Institute and External Examiner for Queen's University.

In 1917 he was appointed head of the Electrical Engineering Department at the Birmingham Municipal Technical School (now the Central Technical College). There he was able to continue a friendship started in student days with the then Principal of the College, Dr. W. E. Sumpner. Mr. Brew came to the College at a critical time when all the resources of the College were applied to the war effort. This necessitated not only the organization of special Service courses, but also the organization of the main laboratories to allow of their use by the university students evacuated from Bournbrook. In the period following the war, great changes were made in part-time engineering courses throughout the country. The grouped-course principle was established and a National Certificate scheme was instituted; these necessitated careful organization and planning. He retired in July, 1933. For some years his health had given cause for anxiety and he did not enjoy his retirement for long, his death occurring on the 13th November, 1941.

He joined The Institution as a Student in 1898 and was elected an Associate in 1890, an Associate Member in 1901 and a Member in 1904.

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