Dredge, James (DNB12)

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DREDGE, JAMES (1840–1906), civil engineer and journalist, born in Bath on 29 July 1840, was younger son, by his wife Anne Vine, of James Dredge of that place, an engineer who designed and patented a form of suspension bridge with inclined suspension rods carrying the roadway. His elder brother, William, under whom he served articles, was also an engineer. After education at Bath grammar school Dredge spent three years (1858-61) in the office of D. K. Clark; in 1862 he entered the office of Sir John Fowler [q. v. Suppl. I], and was engaged for several years on work connected with the Metropolitan District railway. But Dredge soon gave up practical engineering for engineering journalism. From the start in Jan. 1866 of the weekly periodical 'Engineering,' which was founded by Zerah Colburn on his retirement from the editorship of the 'Engineer' in 1865, Dredge helped in illustrating and occasionally wrote for the paper. On Colburn' s death in 1870 Dredge and W. H. Maw, the sub-editor, became joint editors and proprietors. Dredge helped actively in the management until May 1903, when he was disabled by paralysis.

Dredge was keenly interested in international exhibitions. He described for his journal those at Vienna (1873), Philadelphia (1876), and Paris (1878 and 1889), publishing his reports of the first and last in book form. He was also officially connected as a British commissioner with exhibitions at Chicago (1893), the transportation exhibits at which he described in a volume (1894), at Antwerp (1894), at Brussels (1897) and at Milan (1906). For services at Paris in 1889 he was appointed an officer of the Legion of Honour, and for his work at Brussels he was made C.M.G. in 1898.

As a close friend of the American engineer, Alexander Lyman Holley, he delivered an address in Checkering Hall, New York, on 2 Oct. 1890, at the installation of a bronze bust of Holley in Washington Square, New York (Engineering, 1. 433). For the Ameri- can Society of Mechanical Engineers, of which he was elected an honorary member in 1886, he prepared a special memoir of Sir Henry Bessemer [q. v. Suppl. I]. He also wrote the article on Bessemer for this Dictionary. He was elected a member of the Institution of Civil Engineers on 4 Feb. 1896, and of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in 1874, and was a member of the council of the Society of Arts (1890-3). In 1901 he founded, as a monthly supplement to 'Engineering,' a journal called 'Traction and Transmission,' which he edited with much care until it ceased in 1904. Dredge died at Pinner on 15 August 1906. He was long a widower; an only child, Marie Louise, survived him. With Mr. Maw, Dredge published in 1872 'Modern Examples of Road and Railway Bridges.' Other of his publications, which were largely based on contributions to 'Engineering,' were: 'History of the Pennsylvania Railroad' (1879); 'Electric Illumination' (2 vols. 1882); 'Modern French Artillery' (1892), for which he received a second decoration from the French government, and 'The Thames Bridges from the Tower to the Source,' part i. (1897).

[Engineering (with portrait), 24 Aug. 1906; Min. Proc. Inst. Civ. Eng. clxvi. 382.]

W. F. S.