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William George Brounger

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William George Brounger (1820-1902)

1902 Obituary [1]

WILLIAM GEORGE BROUNGER was born at Hackney on the 26th June, 1820, and, having been educated at Totteridge and at London University School, became a pupil of the late Sir Charles Fox (then Mr. Fox), under whom he was engaged on the construction of the London and Birmingham Railway.

In l851 he was employed by Messrs. Fox and Henderson to set out the Exhibition Building, now the Crystal Palace, with regard to which work Joseph Gwilt, in his “Encyclopedia of Architecture,” wrote the symmetry and strength of this vast building depended upon the accuracy with which the simple plan was drawn out, and much credit is due to Mr. Brounger, who superintended this portion of the work.”

In the early fifties he was placed in charge by Messrs. Fox and Henderson of the laying out and construction of the Zeeland Railway in Denmark, from Roskilde to Korsor, which he executed in so substantial and excellent a style as to bear favourable comparison with the best works in England.

About the year 1854, on the nomination of Sir Charles Fox, the Consulting Engineer, Mr. Brounger was appointed Engineer to the Cape Town Railway and Dock Company, and surveyed and supervised the construction of the first railway in South Africa, from Cape Town to Wellington. When that line and the branch to Wynberg were taken over by the Cape Government in 1874 he was appointed head of the Railway Department, with the title of “Railway Engineer for the Colony,” and the success which has attended the Cape Government railways is in a large measure due to the skill and energy displayed by him in the discharge of his onerous duties.

During his tenure of office the railways in the Cape Colony were extended to a length of upwards of 1,500 miles. The arduous and trying nature of his duties at the Cape resulted in the complete breakdown of his health in 1884, when he retired on a well-earned pension. Mr. Brounger passed the remainder of his days at Guildford in Surrey, where he died on the 5th October, 1901, having spent not only a useful life, but one which presented an example of high integrity and moral rectitude.

He was elected an Associate of the Institution on the 4th May, 1847, and was transferred to the class of Members on the 29th November, 1864. In 1885 he presented a Paper descriptive of the Cape Government railways, for which he was awarded a Telford medal and premium.

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