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British Industrial History

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Basil Harding Butler

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Basil Harding Butler (c1884-1942), director of Kirkstall Forge

1942 Obituary [1]

The death occurred very suddenly at Kirkstall Forge, Leeds, on July 29, 1942, of Major B. H. Butler M.C.

Major Butler, who was 58, had taken a leading and most active part in the management of Kirkstall Forge, Ltd., since the last war, and had been Governing Director for many years.

He was particularly interested in the Volunteers and Territorials, and he served through the last war in France, where he commanded "A" Battery, 245th Brigade, and was awarded the M.C. At the end of the war he threw himself into the work of reconstruction, and took a large share in the extension and reorganizing of all the various departments of the works.

In addition to his technical and engineering knowledge, he had marked abilities in the construction and layout of buildings, and admitted that, if circumstances had not shaped his career at Kirkstall Forge, he himself would have chosen the profession of architect.

Major Butler was proud of the fact that the Butler family had been in continuous control of the Forge since the year 1779, and that the works themselves were one of the oldest in the country, dating back to the founding of Kirkstall Abbey (adjacent to the works) in 1152. Indeed, Major Butler for many years lived at Kirkstall Abbey House, which was the residence of the last Abbot after the Dissolution in 1539.

When the Home Guard was formed, Major Butler was appointed Commanding Officer of the Company formed at Kirkstall Forge, a position he held until a few weeks before his death. He was educated at Malvern College, and leaves a widow, two sons, and a stepdaughter.

He was elected a member of the Institute in 1938.

1942 Obituary [2]

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