"Through the death of Dr. Edward Hopkinson our company has sustained a great loss. He survived by a short period only a long, intimate and valuable connection that was broken by the passing away of the past Chairman of the company, the late Sir William Mather; a connection that was conspicuous for enterprise and progress in the engineering world and which did so much to establish the reputation of the company in the field of general engineering. He joined the firm of Mather & Platt in 1884 and under his direction the Electrical Section of the business had its inception. He was responsible for pioneer work in the early days of the application of electricity in industry and to railways that has led to world-wide developments. The well-known "Edison-Hopkinson" and "Manchester" Dynamos were designed by Dr. Edward Hopkinson and his brother, Dr. John Hopkinson. His contribution to the development of the multipolar machine is well-known and under his management great strides were made in the development of design and commercial efficiency.
Dr. Hopkinson was made Vice-Chairman of the company in 1899 but retired from active service some years ago, although he remained a member of the Board and was keenly interested in every section of the business of the company up to his death. He attained numerous academic honours; he was a mathematical wrangler, Master of Arts of Cambridge University and Doctor of Science of London University; he was a past President of the Institute of Mechanical Engineers, a member of the Council of the Institute of Electrical Engineers and past President of the Manchester Association of Engineers. His interests in and work for the Salford Royal Hospital, The David Lewis Epileptic Colony and the Manchester Mill Girls' Institute are well-known.
Dr. Hopkinson was Governor of the Manchester University for many years and whilst showing a general interest in the University as a whole, his greatest interest was naturally in the Engineering Department of the University. He served on many Committees; his advice was always readily given and received and he always had a marked and tender spot for the College of his younger days.
Amongst Dr. Hopkinson's activities was his connection with the Chloride Electrical Storage Co. from its inception until his death. He was Vice-Chairman of that company.
Against his personal wish, Dr. Hopkinson yielded to the persuasion of his friends and stood as a candidate for the Clayton Division in the Parliamentary Election of November 1918, when he was elected by a very handsome majority. Unfortunately the state of his health prevented him from taking a very active part in political life.
Possibly the outstanding feature of Dr. Hopkinson's career was his design of the equipment for the First Tube Railway in this country - The City and South London - the largest contract undertaken by the company in electrical equipment up to that time. Other undertakings carried out under his supervision were the Douglas and Laxey Tramway, the Snaefell Mountain Railway and the Blackpool and Fleetwood Tramroad.
Those of us who remember the enormous amount of work he got through in those days, his care for the smallest detail and the anxieties that attend such milsestones on the road of progress, cannot but think that the energy bestowed and the long hours of labour, often under trying conditions, have prevented him enjoying the reward due to such a man in later life. He was a hard worker and many of us can recall instances when the morning brought forth a mass of technical and commercial work, the preparation of which must have involved the burning of much midnight oil, and the example of his efforts was not lost on those subordinate to him.
In later years, Dr. Hopkinson was much interested in the development of the High Lift Turbine Pump. The earliest of the company's manufacture of this type of pump was the "Mather-Reynolds" machine. Dr. Hopkinson was largely responsible for the introduction of many modifications in the design of the Turbine Pumps.
It is when we think of the large number of men who, from time to time, served under Dr. Hopkinson, and who hold or have held important positions up and down the world, that we realise the force and value of a good "Head". While some might doubt the necessity for the great care and foresight which he called for, they have doubtless appreciated the value of it in shaping their own careers. So, just as he was one of the "pillars" of the firm Mather & Platt and helped to earn their good name and reputation, similarly he helped many along the road to make their individual reputation and if he had done no more than this, at least he would have commanded the respect and esteem which we wish to pay to his memory in this brief article."
Mather & Platt also supplied the plant (1885) for the Bessbrook and Newry Railway which was the first railway in the world to be worked by current produced entirely by water power. The dynamos and motors were of the Edison-Hopkinson type.
Dr. John Hopkinson had a profound influence on the scientific work carried out in the pioneer days of electric machines and there is ample evidence that he was very active in the early days of experimental work. However, it would seem that for the greater part of his life he was lost to Industry because he was primarily an academic man. He met a tragic death at a relatively early age as a result of a climbing accident in Switzerland. In fact, his brother, Edward Hopkinson, never actually held a full-time position at Park Works and he was not responsible for the work of the Electrical Department after the transfer to the new home, although he retained a seat on the Board of Directors until 1922. The bulk of his work, therefore, took place during the Salford Iron Works era.
For some time after the Electrical Department was moved to Park Works, John Taylor himself - with the assistance of his able lieutenant, Fred Dowson - accepted responsibility for moulding the business in his own way. He had made himself familiar with the essential facts concerning the Electrical Department while still at Salford and decided to make certain changes before starting operations at Park Works. Among other things, he had made up his mind to model the Commercial work on lines which had proved successful in his old company, relying for the execution of his plans on young men of sound technical ability who had received their engineering training in The Salford Works.