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 . . .

James Graham (1827-1878)

The following is the text of the obituary published by the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) : Memoirs : Obituary Notices 1879 : [174]

James GrahamMr. James Graham was born at Crieff, in the county of Perth, on the 10th of April, 1827, and was educated in the first instance at a local school in his native parish, and afterwards at the Perth Academy, under Dr. Miller rector of that institution.

In the year 1845 Mr. Graham entered the office of his cousin, the late Mr. Alexander Comrie, Assoc. Inst. C.E., who was chiefly employed by the late Mr. James Walker, Past President Inst. C.E., and other leading engineers, in high-class marine and other surveys, in which Mr. Graham attained great proficiency, being distinguished alike for accuracy and rapidity.

In September 1851, Mr. Graham was appointed by the late Mr. Robert Stephenson, M.P., Past President Inst. C.E., as one of the staff of engineers for the Alexandria and Cairo railway. At first he held the position of surveyor, but eventually took charge, as resident engineer, of the construction of a division of the line ; and there he remained until the successful completion of the work, in March 1855.

On returning to London, he was almost immediately engaged by the late Mr. Rendel, Past President Inst. C.E., upon various' important marine surveys, and by Messrs. Lee and Sons in reference to the works they had in course of construction in Harwich harbour.

In July 1856 he proceeded to Russia for Mr. (now Sir John) Hawkshaw, Past President Inst. C.E., upon the Riga and Dunaburg railway; and from that time enjoyed the confidence and support of Sir John Hawkshaw, by whom he was entrusted with many important surveys and investigations. In April 1857 Mr. Graham went to Asiatic Turkey, to explore the country for a proposed line of railway from Samsoun, on the Black Sea, to Amasia and Tokat.

He was subsequently employed by Sir John Hawkshaw upon the engineering surveys of the Taff Vale railway ; of Ely tidal harbour ; of the Charing Cross railway, and its extension to Cannon Street ; of the docks at Hull at various times ; of the East and West India docks ; of the Penarth docks ; of the river Witham, between Lincoln and Boston, and thence to its outfall, including the Fen district in the neighbourhood, which was liable to be inundated by water from the adjacent higher districts ; of the Brighton sewers ; and of the Middle Level, at St. Germains, near King's Lynn, in 1862, when, owing to the failure of the sluice at the outfall, the drainage of the Middle Level district was disorganised, and serious inundation of part of Marshland occurred.

Mr. Graham was also busily engaged, in connection with other engineers, in extending the railway system in various parts of England and Wales, and notably by Mr. Fowler, Past President Inst. C.E. upon the plans of the Metropolitan District railway, as well as by Mr. J. Wolfe Barry, M. Inst. C.E., for the same undertaking.

In 1865 he again visited Egypt, in company with Mr. Harrison Hayter, M. Inst. C.E., and Mr. J. Clarke Hawkshaw, M. Inst. C.E., to make the necessary investigations and surveys with a view to render the Nile navigable above the first cataracts. He was likewise extensively occupied in connection with various dock works, as for instance the Bute docks at Cardiff; the docks at Barrow-in-Furness ; at Harwich harbour; and in 1870 he made careful surveys of Alexandria harbour.

In 1871 he for a fourth time visited Egypt, on this occasion in charge of an extensive expedition, organised by Mr. Fowler, Past President Inst. C.E., for the purpose of exploring and surveying a route for extending the Egyptian railway system into the Soudan.

In 1874 he went to Brazil for Sir John Hawkshaw, to make extensive surveys of various harbours ; and he was subsequently employed upon the inquiry as to means to be adopted for the proper drainage of Glasgow and other towns on the river Clyde, as well as for the improvement of the condition of that river.

Although Mr. Graham chiefly devoted himself to the surveying branch of the profession, partly from choice and partly from opportunity, he by no means confined himself entirely to surveying, as his work often led him far beyond the strict province of the surveyor - in the execution of which his one idea was extreme accuracy - into that of the engineer. He was a man of the highest principle, with a strict sense of duty, which guided him in all his actions. Unassuming in disposition, he was gifted with great moral courage and strength of character. His keen sense of justice, and detestation of anything like unfairness, made him ever ready to espouse the cause of, and assist by his efforts and means, any that he believed to be subjected to such treatment. He was a sure, true, and warm-hearted friend, and kind and affectionate to all who enjoyed the pleasure of his acquaintance.

His active career was continued until the summer of 1878. He had been troubled from the time of his return from Brazil with a tiresome irritation in one of his ears, from which no serious consequence seems to have been apprehended. In October, however, it became rapidly worse, and the mischief spread to the brain, and caused his death on the 22nd of November.

Mr. Graham was elected an Associate of the Institution in April, 1857, and became a Member in December 1875.

 

 

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