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William Henry Patchell (1862-1932)
39th President of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers
Patchell was born in Lincolnshire, England in 1862. He served a five-year apprenticeship with Robey and Company. In 1881, he was sent to take charge of seven compound Robey steam engines which were being exhibited at the Paris Exhibition. He later became their representative in Spain and was responsible for the installation of electric lighting plant at Barcelona, Cordova, Madrid and Valencia.
In 1886, he was appointed Manager of the Millwall Works of the Electrical Power Storage Company and was involved with the development of public and private electric supply plant. In 1893, he was appointed engineer-in-chief of the Charing Cross and Strand Electric Supply Company and was responsible for the design and construction of the new works at Lambeth, which opened in 1896. He was also responsible for the design of the new station at Bow in 1902.
In 1906, he resigned and established a consulting engineering practice, specializing in electric generation and the electrification of mines. He was appointed a member of the Home Office Committee on Electricity in mines in 1904.
He was President of the IMechE from 1924-1925 and had served on Council and many committees for 22 years at the time of his death. He was largely responsible for the inauguration of Local Branches.
He died at the age of 70 years on 24 November 1932.