1907-1908: Tom Hurry Riches

1907-1908: Tom Hurry Riches


Tom Hurry Riches (1846-1911)

29th President of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers

Riches was born in Cardiff, Wales in 1846. He was educated at Trices’ Academy, Cardiff. At the age of 17, he undertook an apprenticeship with the Taff Vale Railway, at their locomotive works. He spent five years in the shops and drawing office of the company. At the same time, he studied Science and Art classes. In 1868, he gained a scholarship at the Royal School of Mines.

On the completion of his apprenticeship, he went to sea for a few months, serving as the second engineer on the S.S. Camilla. On his return, he attended the Royal School of Mines, winning the Science and Art and Whitworth scholarships.

After completing his education he joined the Bute Iron Works and the Bute Old Works as General Manager. He remained in this position for three years, designing and building many iron roofs and bridges, as well as assisting in the general supervision of the company’s engines, machinery, steamers and dredgers.

In 1872, he returned to the Taff Vale Railway as chief locomotive foreman. The following year he was promoted to locomotive superintendent. He was at the time the youngest locomotive superintendent in Britain. He retained this appointment until his death. During that time, the locomotive stock was doubled. His responsibility was also extended to include all carriage and wagon work, the hydraulic and dredging machinery, dock machinery and coaling appliances.

Riches was President of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in 1907. He was also a President of the Association of Locomotive, Carriage and Wagon Superintendents of the United Kingdom, and was a keen member of the South Wales Institute of Engineers.

He died in 1911.

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