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British Industrial History

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William Kilvington

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William Kilvington (1852-1895)

1895 Obituary [1]

WILLIAM KILVINGTON was born on the 18th of July, 1832, at Hartlepool, of which town his father held for many years the post of Clerk to the Guardians. He began his career in 1867 as an apprentice at the works of Thomas Richardson and Sons, West Hartlepool, where he spent five years in the pattern shop, erecting-shops and drawing-office.

He then attended for a session the College of Physical Science at Newcastle-on-Tyne, devoting himself mainly to the study of physics and mathematics, in which subjects he attained considerable distinction.

Mr. Kilvington’s long connection with the North-Eastern Marine Engineering Co commenced in 1873, when he entered its works at Sunderland as a draughtsman. In the following year he was appointed head of the drawing office, of which he had charge until the end of 1882, when he was transferred to the Northumberland Engine Works at Wallsend, the Company’s new establishment, as Manager. That post Mr. Kilvington held for nearly thirteen years, having entire control of the works, from which on an average twenty to twenty-five sets of marine-engines were turned out annually, as well as high-pressure pumping engines for waterworks. He was responsible for upwards of 1,500 workmen and for the design of machinery, for the preparation and signing of specifications, and for estimates of costs for tendering.

Mr. Kilvington died on the 24th of July, 1895, after only a week‘s illness from inflammation of the bowels. Gifted with natural ability of a high order, he showed great tact in dealing with the ever-recurring labour problems of the day, winning alike the confidence of the workmen and the esteem of the staff, with the members of which he was in constant contact.

In addition to his official duties, he was a director of the Walker and Wallsend Union Gas Co, and for many years a member of the Wallsend Local Board. He took great interest in scientific and technical instruction in the Mid-Tyne district, was a member of several scientific bodies, and a Vice-President of the North-East Coast Institution of Engineers and Shipbuilders. In private life he made many friends, being always ready to assist those in need and contributing unobtrusively to several charitable undertakings.

Mr. Kilvington was elected an Associate on the 5th of March, 1878, was subsequently placed among the Associate Members, and was transferred to the class of Member on the 10th of April, 1894.

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