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British Industrial History

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William Isaac Last

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William Isaac Last (1857-1911), director of the Science Museum, mechanical engineer

1857 Born in Dorchester; educated as a mechanical engineer.

Initially apprenticed with Messrs. Haywood, Tyler and Company (sic). For the first part of his career, he was involved in civil engineering and mechanical engineering activities in England and South Africa.

1890 appointed as Keeper of the Machinery and Inventions division of the South Kensington Museum.

1900 promoted to Senior Keeper, when the scientific part of the museum had been split into the Science Museum

1904 became Director of the museum

1911. Died

He was an Associate Member of the Institution of Civil Engineers.



1911 Obituary [1]

WILLIAM ISAAC LAST, born at Dorchester in 1857, died on the 7th August, 1911.

Apprenticed with Messrs. Haywood, Tyler and Company, he gained the Senior Whitworth Scholarship and entered Messrs. Whitworth’s works in 1878, subsequently serving as assistant on the Hull and Barnsley Railway, and as works manager with various mechanical engineering firms in this country and South Africa.

In 1890 he was appointed Keeper of the Machinery and Inventions Division at South Kensington Museum and Senior Keeper in 1900.

In 1904 he became Science Director of the Victoria and Albert Museum, an office which he held until his death.

Mr. Last was elected an Associate Member of The Institution on the 6th April, 1886.


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