Walter Harrison Tittensor was born in Boston, USA on 14 October 1871, the son of Walter Tittensor, architect, and Catherine Gordon. He can be found on the census with his parents in Manchester 1881 and 1891.
Walter Harrison Tittensor married Millicent Mabson Smith on 9th December 1898 in Dundee. We know of two children; Gordon Mabson Tittensor born 8th October 1899 in Dundee, and Lindsay Maclean Tittensor born 1904 in Preston.
Details of his early career can be found in the Electrical Trades Directory 1905:
- Educated private school and Manchester Technical School.
- Pupil to Messrs Rowbotham & Worsley of Manchester.
- Joined Messrs King, Brown & Company, Edinburgh (who were fighting "the great compound winding patent case"). Acted as draughtsman and latterly superintended erection of electrical plant.
- Joined Brush Co. as assistant engineer at their Manchester station, then acted as assistant to Mr. J.J. Mann of the National Telephone Co. who was busy perfecting "The Circuit Line System of Telephony" at that time which was introduced into Dundee and Aberdeen.
- Went to London and joined Blackman Ventilating Co. as motor designer (in charge of electrical department).
- Carried out a large amount of research and experimental work in connection with storage batteries for Dr. Woodward of New York.
- Went to Dundee as assistant engineer of Corporation electric lighting station. Appointed resident electrical engineer to the Corporation of Dundee on the death of W.H. Brownlee. Carried out large extensions to the station plant and mains for electric lighting of the whole borough, and the electrical equipment for the city tramways of over 23 miles of track. The first two sections of line were opened in July and September 1900. The Dundee Yearbook 1898-1900 says of him "Though the least known of the trio who have most to do with the working of the new tramways [with ex-provost Brownlee and Mr Peter Fisher], Mr W H Tittensor, the electrical engineer, is not necessarily the least important. It is his duty to supply the energy which makes the wheels go round, and for a comparatively young man he has responsible duties to discharge. He is an Englishman, and belongs to Manchester, where his first electrical training was gained. Later he migrated to Edinburgh, and then returned to his native town. About seven or eight years ago he was appointed assistant electrical engineer in Dundee, and in 1896 was promoted to control of the station. The department was a small affair when he first came to it, but it has gradually grown with the extension of the electric lighting of the city, and now that the great additions have been made to the generating plant the position will be important and responsible. That Mr Tittensor will rise to the occasion there is no doubt. He has superintended the difficult work of laying cables and erecting the new station, and the interest he has take in all the operations and the ability he has shown augurs well for the success of his department." In recognition of his work, when the new electrical station opened in Stirling Road, Stannergate in 1909 one of the houses was named "Tittensor" after him.
Details of his subsequent career can be found in trade directories, the census, the Kingston Gleaner, and other sources:
- In December 1902 he was appointed Electrical engineer to Preston Corporation to design and equip a system of electric tramways. He was author of a booklet entitled "Official description of buildings, plant, and route equipment - Preston Corporation Tramways." Published by Ambler 1905. Prepared by the engineer, Walter H. Tittensor.
- He became a member of the Institution of Electrical Engineers in 1905. He was also a member of the Institute of Engineers and Shipbuilders of Scotland, the Municipal Electrical Association, and the Municipal Tramways Association.
- From c1906-1910 he was Scottish manager of JH Holmes electrical engineers and naval contractors of Newcastle where he superintended naval construction work in the Scottish shipyards.
- He contributed to discussion on two papers in the Journal of the IEE: on cost keeping in 1907 and induction motors in 1908.
- Between 1911 and March 1918 he was General Manager of the West India Electric Co. He was also Captain & Officer Commanding of the Kingston Company, Jamaica Reserve Regiment.
- He left Jamaica on 6th April 1918 and arrived in New York on 12th April.
He died on 12 May 1921 and his will describes him as an electrical engineer of 1703 Irwin Avenue, McKeesport, PA. He is buried in the McKeesport and Versailles cemetery, PA. His will was proved on 10 November 1922 in Dundee and he left all his money to his wife and for the care of his children. The probate documents describes his wife as Millicent Mabson Smith or Tittensor residing at 604 Aylmer Street, Montreal. Millicent Mabson died or was buried on 20 May 1935 in Mount Royal cemetery, Quebec.
We know little about the family after they left Jamaica. Walter Harrison, his wife and children appear in lists of ships' passengers, and immigration records as they travelled between the UK, US, Canada and Jamaica. We don't know what he worked on in New York. If you have any more information please get in touch. Click here for our contact details
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