Penarth Dock, South Wales - 150 years - the heritage and legacy  
Penarth Dock, South Wales - the heritage & legacy . . .

Index to Volume Seven - The People - Dock Family Trees - Engineers, Artisans & Doers . . .

John William Brewer (1841-1894)

The following is the text of the obituary published by the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) : Memoirs : Obituary Notices Volume 119 Issue 1895 : [174]

John William Brewer (1841-1894)John William Brewer, born at Llanelly, Brecknockshire, on the 26th of March, 1841, was the fourth son of the late John Brewer, who for more than forty years was engineer and agent to an important firm of iron manufacturers, and was also manager of the Rumney Railway previous to its amalgamation with the Brecon and Merthyr line.

Leaving school at the age of fifteen, he spent three years in the Locomotive Department of the Runmey Railway, under his father, and then served articles for a similar period to David Jones, the engineer of that line. After the expiration of his pupilage he made surveys and prepared working drawings for the conversion of the railway from Bassaleg to Rhymney into a parliamentary line and for the branch from Machen to Caerphilly.

In June, 1861, Mr. Brewer was appointed an Assistant to John Williams, the engineer of new works on the Taff Vale Railway, and for the following nine years was engaged on the Llantrisant and Taff Vale Junction, the Dare Valley, the Brecon and Merthyr, and the Rumney lines ; on the Pontypridd Waterworks ; and on the Llangennech and other colliery surveys.

In 1870 he took an office in Cardiff, where he practiced for the next ten years as a Civil and Mining Engineer. During that period he constructed branch lines to the Treforest Tinworks, to the Rhondda and Ely Colliery, and to the Penrhiwceiber Colliery; prepared surveys of the Ynysybwl branch, of the Penarth Docks, of several collieries and of Crawshay Bailey’s mineral estates ; and assisted in the general engineering work of the Taff Vale Railway.

From 1880 until his death Mr. Brewer was permanently in the service of the Taff Vale Railway,

The Evening Express reported upon Mr. Brewer's death during August 1894 :

Death of Mr. J. W. Brewer - Fatal Termination to the Surgical Operation - 'We deeply regret to have to announce the death of Mr. John William Brewer, the well-known engineer of the Taff Vale Railway Company, which sad event occurred at St. George's-road, Pimlico, London, at 3.15 on Sunday afternoon. The deceased gentleman went to London some time ago to undergo an operation, which was performed on Wednesday last. After the operation inflammation and erysipelas set in and the deceased suffered serious relapse. Dr. Bond, Dr. Storer, and Dr. Norton attended Mr. Brewer on Friday, and, as their patient's condition was critical, Sir Morgan Morgan and Colonel Morgan, Mr. Brewer's brothers-in-law, were summoned. There was no improvement on Saturday, and on Sunday Mr. brewer gradually sank and passed peacefully away. Mrs. brewer, who was overcome with grief, Sir Morgan Morgan, Colonel Morgan, and Mr. D. H. Morgan, deceased nephew, were at the bedside.

Mr. Brewer, who was 52 years of age, was one of the best known engineers in South Wales and the West of England, and enjoyed the esteem of a very large circle of friends. He was the third son of Mr. John Brewer, who was for many years engineer of Mr. Crayshaw Bailey's railway running from Nantyglo to Newport. Mr. Brewer served his time with his father, and about 25 years ago joined the late Mr. John Williams, civil and mining engineer to the Taff Vale Railway Company. In this position he acquired a vast amount of knowledge, and about twelve years ago he was appointed assistant engineer to the company.  From this time until the retirement of Mr. H. O. Fisher, in 1892, he controlled the mineral department. His work was always appreciated by the directors, and it came almost of course that when Mr. Fisher resigned Mr. Brewer should succeed him as engineer to the company, a position which he occupied up to the time of his death. the greater responsibility thrown upon him brought out his capacity as an engineer with even greater force than before. He was a remarkably quick and accurate surveyor, and the work which came under his control - often of an important and peculiar nature - was always performed in a manner which the utmost satisfaction. The fact that in many cases the collieries run close to and underneath the railways made the engineering exceedingly difficult, as subsidence would almost certainly result unless the greatest care was taken. In this respect Mr. Brewer was exceptionally successful. Among the works which he carried out were the laying out of the Clydach Vale railway, the Treferig Valley Railway, the Cowbridge and Aberthaw Railway, and the Roath branch of the Taff Vale Railway. He recently had a good deal of Parliamentary work, and as witness he always showed great ability and keen perception of his work. In his earlier days Mr. Brewer was a great athlete, and a keen sportsman, and one of the best shots in the district. His company was always appreciated by his numerous friends, all of whom will deeply regret his sudden demise. About ten years ago married a sister of Sir Morgan Morgan, and leaves three children to mourn his death. He was devotedly attached to his family, with whom the deepest sympathy will be felt in the irreparable loss which they have sustained in the death of so loving a husband and father.

The body of Mr. Brewer will be conveyed from London to Cardiff to-day (Monday). Though no date has yet been fixed for the funeral, it is understood that the internment will take place at Llandough.' - Evening Express [135] [361] 27th August 1894.

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