Thomas Watkinson

Sunday’s Obituary – William Henry Watkinson (1860-1932)

William Henry Watkinson is my 2nd cousin 3x removed. His parents are Thomas Watkinson and Harriet Mason. Our common ancestors are Anthony Mason and Mary Brayshaw – my 4x great grandparents.

William was born in Keighley, West Yorkshire – his birth is registered in the June quarter of 1860.

On 5 June 1889 William married Emma Crabtree at the Baxter Congregational Church, Kidderminster, Worcestershire. They had four children:-

Gwendolen – 1890
Arthur Stanley – 4 August 1891
Hilda Muriel – 17 May 1895
Geoffrey Lionel – 20 July 1899

William was an extremely successful and distinguished university professor of engineering. He died on 14 February 1932 and an obituary was published in the Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer on Tuesday 16 February 1932 (image from http://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk).

William Henry Watkinson - Yorkshire Post & Leeds Intelligencer 16 February 1932.png

Distinguished Northern Engineer

Professor William Henry Watkinson, a past-president of the Liverpool Engineering Society, has died at his residence in Bromborough, Cheshire, at the age of 71.
Professor Watkinson was a native of Keighley and had only an elementary school education. He worked as a half-timer in a mill and later served his apprenticeship to the practical side of engineering in a workshop in the town. Evening classes at the Keighley Institute provided the foundation of his scientific training. Following a period during which he worked in Bradford, he entered Glasgow University in 1882, becoming one of the assistants of Sir William Thomson, afterwards Lord Kelvin.
As assistant to Sir William Thomson and Professor Fleming Jenkin, he played a part in superintending the manufacture and laying of two Transatlantic cables.
He was at Glasgow University for five years, holding the Thomson Research Scholarship from 1885 to 1888 and the Whitworth Scholarship in 1886. Later he was Lecturer in Engineering at Sheffield and Professor of Engineering at Glasgow and the West of Scotland Technical College. He was Professor of Engineering at Liverpool University for 20 years, and was the inventor of superheaters and internal combustion engines.
Among his publications were papers read to the Institution of Naval Architects and other institutions.

Further reading about William is available on Grace’s Guide to British Industrial History – here.

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