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British Industrial History

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William Graeme Tomkins

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William Graeme Tomkins (1817-1868)

1835 William Graeme Tomkins of Albion Place, Blackfriars, an engineer with Bryan Donkin, became a member of the Institution of Civil Engineers.[1]

1870 Obituary [2]

ME. WILLIAM GRAEME TOMKINS was born in the year 1817, at South Lambeth, Surrey.

From 1833 to 1840 he served a pupilage under the late Mr. Bryan Donkin (V.P. Inst. C.E.), and on that gentleman’s recommendation was, on the 10th of March, 1835, elected a Graduate of the Institution of Civil Engineers.

In 1837 he accompanied Mr. Donkin’s son to Italy, and helped to design some millwork for the Tyrol. Being found very intelligent, the firm retained him as an assistant from 1840 to 1843, when he was a good deal occupied in designing an iron mill for South Wales.

From 1843 to 1853 he was engaged in Russia on his own account, in general practice, on various works-amongst others, the then Moscow Waterworks; and he was consulted as to the design and carrying out of paper mills in the neighbourhood of that city.

He was employed, from 1853 to 1855, on the Great Western Railway of Canada, as Resident Engineer on the Central division, and he afterwards remained in that country from 1855 to 1860, acting on his own account, during which time he was more particularly engaged in laying out and constructing roads, and was the Engineer to St. Mary’s and Exeter, in the county of Perth, Canada West.

After his return home, in 1860, he was connected with various professional works, but more especially at the Exchequer, for the Lords of the Treasury, in the subdivision of the standard instruments for the measurement of gas under the recent Act of Parliament.

Latterly he had become interested in the manufacture of meters, and he had made a journey to St. Petersburg with a view to introduce a new kind of liquid meter, for measuring spirits, $c. On his way back, exposure to intense cold brought on a serious illness, which terminated fatally on the 11th of January, 1868, in the fifty-first year of his age.

He had only been transferred to the class of Members of the Institution on the 2nd of April, 1867, his repeated and long-continued absence in distant countries having led to his omission to make the application earlier.

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