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H. J. Brown

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Published : 1 Article
Pen Names : None
Date of Birth : N/A
Death : N/A
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Brown, H. J. Not identified. "Navvies As They Used to Be" [XIII, 543-50. June 21, 1856] gives the following information about the contributor: Was born in a remote corner of Hertfordshire; attended school for six years in an academy near Harrow, completing his studies there in 1834, at age sixteen. Watching the construction of the London and Birmingham Railway line near Harrow, became interested in engineering; with the aid of Grier's Mechanic's Calculator and "Jones on Levelling," taught himself the rudiments of what he resolved was to be his profession. Despite his guardian's opposition, set out in March 1835 for the nearest railway works, determined to follow in the wake of the Smeatons, Stephensons, and Brunels. Worked with tunnel and embankment construction gangs in Hertfordshire, beginning as tip-boy and bucket-steerer, becoming assistant to subcontractor, then being placed in charge of certain work himself. In his article, describes the navvies of the mid-1830s at work and in their shanty lodgings, and pictures fights that made their name "a bye-word and a terror."

Author: Anne Lohrli; © University of Toronto Press, 1971. 

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