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British Industrial History

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Joseph Edmundson Parker

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Joseph Edmundson Parker (1868-1939)

1939 Obituary [1]

"JOSEPH EDMUNDSON PARKER had a varied engineering career in South Africa, where he gained considerable experience as a constructional engineer, specializing in the erection of large factories.

He was born in 1868 and served his apprenticeship partly with Messrs. Kitson and Company, at the Airedale Foundry, Leeds, and partly in the workshops and drawing office of Messrs. R. and W. Hawthorn, Leslie and Company, Ltd., Newcastle upon Tyne. After gaining a year's further experience as a draughtsman with Messrs. John Spencer and Sons, at the Newburn Steel Works, he went in 1888 to Bilbao, as draughtsman and assistant engineer for Messrs. Rivas and Palmer.

Returning to London in 1890, he joined Messrs. Babcock and Wilcox, Ltd., as a draughtsman, but two years later he became a consulting engineer, and also supervised the construction of the Round Oak Iron and Steel Works for Mr. Bernard Dawson. In 1894 he left for South Africa, to take charge of the erection by Messrs. Lewis and Marks, a firm of Transvaal engineers, of a large works at Hatherley. Mr. Parker went into business on his own account as a consulting engineer in 1896, remaining in the Transvaal; a year later he took up the appointment of mechanical engineer to the Matabele Gold Reefs and Estates Company, Ltd., and subsidiary companies.

In 1901 he was made mechanical engineer to the Rhodesia Exploitation and Development Company, Ltd., a position which he held for many years. He left for England in 1914 and was concerned with the construction of a munitions factory; he returned to the Transvaal in 1917, at the request of Messrs. Lewis and Marks, to reopen a glass works, and he travelled to America to purchase the machinery required. In 1920 he was appointed constructional engineer to the Dundee Coal and By-Products Company, and took charge of the erection of their plant in the Dundee district, Natal. Mr. Parker retired in 1924 and lived at Pretoria. His death occurred in Durban on 19th June 1938. He had been a Member of the Institution since 1906."

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