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Henry Cripps Matheson

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Henry Cripps Matheson (1857-1901).

Born and educated in Nottingham.

After receiving a mechanical engineer's training he was for some time engaged at Andrew Handyside and Co, Derby, and afterwards at Manlove, Alliott and Co's, Nottingham. He next went to China for Matheson and Grant.

Entering the service of the Chinese Government, he lived for some years in Formosa, managing and constructing a railway from Tuatutia to Ki-lung. On his retirement, he received the Order of the Double Dragon of the second class.

On his return to England he joined the firm of John Birch and Co., for whom he went to Egypt, where he made preliminary plans for light railways in the Delta, and also assisted Mr. Birch in projecting a desert railway.

In 1899 he went out to China with Mr. Birch, and travelled up the Yang.tze to Chung-king, and across country to Canton. Going northwards, he arrived in Tien.tsin just as the siege began, and did several weeks' service as a volunteer. He returned to Shangai only to hear the sad news that Mr. Birch had been drowned in the Yellow River.

After some months in China and Japan, he was returning to England by the Pacific route on board the Rio de Janeiro, when it sunk. He was one of those that lost their lives that day on the American liner. [1]


1901 Obituary [2]

. . . After being trained at the works of Messrs. Handyside and Company, in Derby, early in 1877 he entered the drawing office of Messrs. Manlove, Alliott, Fryer and Co, Bloomsgrove Works, Nottingham, and became head draughtsman there in October, 1879, a post which he held until the end of 1882. . . . Mr. Matheson left Nottingham to go to China, in 1883, as representative of Matheson and Grant, of Walbrook, London, and lived for some years in Hong Kong. . . . [more]


1901 Obituary [3]

HENRY CRIPPS MATHESON was born in Nottingham on 28th October 1857, and was educated at the Grammar School, which afterwards became the Nottingham High School.

After training as a mechanical engineer at the works of Messrs. Handyside and Co., Derby, he entered in 1877 the drawing office of Messrs. Manlove, Alliott and Co., Nottingham, and became head draughtsman there in 1879, a post which he held until 1882.

In 1883 he went to China as representative of Messrs. Matheson and Grant, engineers, London, and lived for some years in Hong Kong.

In 1887 he took up his residence in the island of Formosa, which had then been made a separate province. There he superintended the works in connection with the collieries at Keelung, and in 1889 became consulting engineer for the railway, which had been sanctioned by the Chinese Government.

On his retirement at the end of 1894 he received from the Emperor the Order of the Double Dragon of the second class.

He then returned to England, and entered the service of Messrs. John Birch and Co. in February 1895, for whom he went out to Japan; soon after his return he went to Egypt, where he made preliminary plans for light railways in the Delta, now working with success, and also assisted the late Mr. John Birch in projecting a "desert" railway.

After several visits to Egypt he became in 1899 a managing director of Messrs. John Birch and Co.

In September of the same year he went out to China with Mr. J. G. Birch, and travelled up the Yang-toe Kiang to Chung-King. There they parted, Mr. Birch going northwards to the Yellow River, and Mr. Matheson travelling across country to Canton. From there he went up to Shanghai and Tientsin, where he arrived just in time to take part as a volunteer in the defence of the town.

Returning to Shanghai he heard the news that Mr. Birch had been drowned by the wreck of a raft on the Yellow River. After some stay in China and a visit to Formosa, now under the Japanese Government, he was coming home to England with the hope of soon returning to China, when he was drowned in the wreck of the s.s. "Rio de Janeiro" off San Francisco, on 22nd February 1901, at the age of forty-three.

He became a Member of this Institution in 1882.


1901 Obituary [4][5]

...perished on the wreck on the American liner, City of Rio de Janeiro...the Chinese representative of Birch and Co...


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