Civil engineer and historian;
Born March 29, 1926; Died August 9, 2013.
Jim Shipway, who has died aged 87, had an engineering heritage so rich and unique that it was almost inevitable it would influence his career path.
As the great-grandson of the consulting engineer to two of Scotland's greatest engineering achievements - Glasgow's subway and the world-famous Glenfinnan Viaduct - civil engineering and history both ran in his blood, he said.
However his own route to success in the same field was slightly hindered initially by his lack of a Higher maths qualification and the matter of serving his country during the Second World Wa. Undaunted, he used his down-time, whilst an RAF radio operator with South East Asia Command, to teach himself maths, sitting his Higher on his return home to gain a place to study engineering at Glasgow University.
Later he would display a similarly determined streak of academic dedication to achieve a PhD from Edinburgh's Heriot Watt University - at the age of 76.
Born in Glasgow's Netherlee, he and his identical twin brother were something of a surprise to his 40-year-old mother, who had no idea she was expecting two babies until she was about to deliver.
Educated locally, he left school at 17 and then served for four years in the RAF, stationed in Ceylon, now Sri Lanka, during World War II.
But he had always wanted to be a civil engineer and, after the maths hiccup, he graduated from both Glasgow and Strathclyde universities in 1951, gaining qualifications in engineering and structural engineering.
After a brief spell in contracting with Sir William Arrol and Co Ltd, his professional life was spent on major works in Scotland's central belt where he looked after the Glasgow office of Ove Arup and Partners for seven years. He also served with the firm in Lagos, Nigeria and moved with Arup to Edinburgh before working as a director in a smaller Edinburgh firm, Cuthbertsons.
He favoured engineering design work above all else, preferring to steer clear of other facets such as contract administration, and towards the end of his career designed a flood relief scheme for an area of Upper Springlands, Perth. The protective wall was severely tested by a major flood the following year, 1989 (the worst since 1814), when Perth was inundated. The Tay rose to within nine inches of the wall's top, but it stood firm, much to Mr Shipway's - and his client's - relief.
A Fellow of the Institution of Structural Engineers, he had also been a Fellow of the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) since 1967 and on its panel for historical engineering works, representing the Glasgow and West of Scotland region, since 1998.
More than 100 years earlier his maternal great-grandfather, Alexander Simpson, had been instrumental in the creation of the world's third underground system - after London and Budapest - the Glasgow Subway.
Mr Shipway always said his mother could remember her grandfather's plans for the underground laid out on the dining room table and when the subway celebrated its centenary, in 1996, he spoke movingly of the family connection: "The underground was his dream and he would have been delighted to know how dear to the hearts of the people of Glasgow it has become. Here's to another 100 years."
Five years later, along with his daughter Morven, he unveiled a plaque, at the city's St Enoch subway station, honouring his great grandfather for his outstanding contribution to civil engineering.
Alexander Simpson had also been involved with a number of other important works, among them the Mallaig extension to the West Highland Railway which includes the Glenfinnan Viaduct, famous for its modern-day role starring in the Harry Potter films.
It was also reputed for many years to be the scene of a legendary incident which entered Highland folklore: during the construction of the line by Sir Robert McAlpine, a horse and cart were said to have fallen down one of the viaduct pillars and been concreted into the structure.
In 1987 Mr Shipway's good friend, Professor Roland Paxton, used a fish-eye lens camera, inserted into boreholes in the pillar, to try to ascertain if the story was true. He found no evidence of a horse or cart.
Years later, on the basis of local hearsay, the search switched to the Loch nan Uamh Viaduct near Arisaig. An inspection hole showed only that the pillar was full of rubble. But in 2001 Mr Shipway was fascinated to discover the results of a radar imaging operation by Prof Paxton.
It revealed the remains of a horse above the wreckage of a cart, proving the truth of the legend, albeit at a different location.
Mr Shipway, who with Prof Paxton co-authored two volumes of Civil Engineering Heritage, also wrote on the origins and history of the West Highland Railway extension, produced technical papers on the centenaries of the Tay Railway Bridge and the Forth Bridge and wrote several booklets and other papers for ICE and the Institution of Engineers and Shipbuilders in Scotland, on whose council he served for some years.
In addition, he gave lectures on aspects of engineering history, including on the life and work of engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel.
After retiring he did some consulting work and was in his 70s when he decided to do a PhD, often skipping meals and writing late into the small hours to complete his thesis on the development of the girder bridge. He graduated in 2002.
His life's passion was civil engineering and he had only one hobby, he said: "Attempting to lead the Christian life." Uncompromising about keeping Sunday free for God, he was an elder in the Church of Scotland, mostly in Edinburgh's Holyrood Abbey Church, for more than 50 years.
A friendly, unassuming, generous man and a great encourager, he was widowed twice by the death of his first wife Jane in 1969 and his second wife Ann in 1999. He is survived by two daughters and a son.
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