The Engineer, 19 June 1874, Vol 37(p404)

WE announce with regret the death of Sir Charles Fox, who died at Blackheath on the 14th inst. He was the youngest son of Dr. Fox, of Derby, and was born in that town on the 11th March, in 1810. He married at the age of 20 a daughter of the late Mr. Joseph Brookhouse, of Derby, who together with four of his children, survives him. He intended when a young man to enter the medical profession and studied for some time with this object with his brother, Mr. Douglas Fox. His natural bent lay, however, in the direction of engineering and constructive design, and even in early youth he manifested most unusual mechanical skill he therefore, relinquished the study of medicine, and at the age of 19 joined the well-known Mr. John Ericcson. of screw propeller fame, then in business at Liverpool, to whom he was articled, and whom he assisted, among other things at the trial of locomotive engines at Rainhill on the Liverpool and Manchester Railway in the year 1829.

He was then placed by the late Mr. Robert Stephenson on the London and Birmingham Railway, then in course of construction - first at Watford, and afterwards in charge of the Extension Works from Camden-town to Euston-square. Upon the completion of this work he joined the late Mr. Bramah in the manufacturing firm of Bramah and Fox; and some time afterwards, upon the death of Mr. Bramah, became the Senior partner in the firm of Fox and Henderson, and Co., of London, Smethwick, and Renfrew. Since the year 1857 he has practiced in London as a civil and consulting engineer with his two elder sons, who continued the business under the title of Sir Charles Fox and Sons. During the 45 years of his professional life, Sir Charles has been engaged in works of magnitude in all parts of the world. He was the inventor of Fox's safety switch, and contributed largely to the improvement of the permanent way and fittings of railways and of ironwork construction generally. His chief work, however, was the building in Hyde Park for the Exhibition of all nations in 1851. The late Sir Joseph Paxton having suggested the idea of a structure of iron and glass, up to that time never applied on a large scale, Sir Charles (then Mr.) Fox was enabled, from his intimate knowledge of ironwork construction, at once to grasp the importance of the proposal, and with his own hand to work out most of the details. His firm took the contract for the erection of the building. and work having commenced towards the end of September, 1850, the Exhibition was opened by her Majesty in person on the 1st of May, 1851. In connection with this event Sir Charles, in conjunction with Sir W. Cubitt and Sir Joseph Paxton, received the honour of knighthood. His firm afterwards removed the building from Hyde Park and re-erected it with many alterations and additions, for the Crystal Palace Company at Sydenham. Sir Charles had been a member of the Institution of Civil Engineers since 1838. He was also for several years a member of council of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.

Top of page ; Go to Sir Charles Fox-notes; Return to Background Index;

19/03/02 Last Updated 23/03/02