Open main menu

Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 42.djvu/250

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

appeared in 'Engineering,' May 1871, p. 373; in the 'Engineer,' October and November 1873. pp. 281, 288, 301, 304, 316. 322; and in Matheson's 'Works in Iron,' p. 171. Among the numerous railway bills which Ordish and Le Feuvre brought into parliament, was one for constructing a line from Hampstead to Charing Cross, which, however, was lost in the notable year 1866, when railway enterprise was arrested throughout England.

He was entrusted by Mr. W. H. Barlow with the details of the roof of the London terminus of the Midland railway at St. Pancras. It cousists of an arch of 240 feet span, springing from a. level slightly below the platform, and is the largest work of the land in existence. In the course of a description of the station, read before the Institution of Civil Engineers on 29 March 1870, Mr. Barlow said : 'For the details of the roof the author is indebted to Mr. Ordish, whose practical knowledge and excellent suggestions enabled him, while adhering to the form, depth, and general design, to effect many improvements in its construction' (Proceeding, xxx. 82). Views and details of the roof are also given in the 'Engineer,' May and June 1867, pp. 484, 494, 505, 517, 514; and in 'Engineering,' August 1867, p. 148, In conjunction with J. W. Grover, he designed the roof of the Albert Hall at South Kensington, the space covered being an oval about 200 by 160 feet, much larger than anything previously attempted. The structure is a flat dome, of very original construction, containing about four hundred tons of iron. The execution of the work was so perfect that when the scaffolding was removed the roof only sank five-sixteenths of an inch (cf. Engineer, 31 March 1871, p. 221; Engineering, 20 Aug. 1869, p, 117).

Ordish's name was but little known outside the engineering profession, but his resistance was constantly sought in difficult cases; and when the domes of the building for the exhibition of 1662 showed signs of weakness, he was called in to advise. He suggested the addition of a form of bracing which was entirely successful. Among the numerous works in which he was concerned, the following may be mentioned: the roof of the Dutch-Rhenish railway station at Amsterdam, 1863 (Humber, Record, 1863. p. 23; Matheson, Works in Iron, p. 269); roof of the Dublin Winter Palace, 1860 (Humber, Record, 1863, f. 39); winter garden for Leeds infirmary, 1868, Sir Gilbert Scott architect (Matheson, p. 240); roof of St. Enoch's railway station, Glasgow; and the railway station at Cape Town. In conjunction with Max am Ende with whom he had already been associate in other works, he prepared a design a bridge over the Neva at St. Petersburg (Engineer, January 1874, pp. 4, 6, 36, 67), for which he received a prize of 300l. In 1885 he published, with Ewing Matheson, a design for a bridge on the site of the present Tower Bridge (ib. 16 Dec. 1893, p. 547).

In addition to that already mentioned, Ordish took out the following patents: No. 832 (1855), an improved form of bridge rail No, 663 (1857), suspension bridge; No. 2511 (1858), iron permanent way; No. 2459 (1859), elastic key for holding rails in place. This was tried on the Stratford-on-Avon line and on other railways, but, though it answered well, it never came into practied use. No. 1513 (1883), pavements, partly applicable to railways; No. 4490 (1884), lifts.

Ordish became a member of the Society of Engineers in 1857, and in 1860 he filled the office of president. In 1858 be read a Saper 'On the Figure and Strength of Beams, Girders, and Trusses,' a brief abstract of which appears in the 'Transactions' of the society. Ordish had a remarkable feeling for strength and proportion in the material he handled; he was fertile in design, hardly ever repeating himself, and possessed a singular faculty of making rapid mental estimates of the cost of a buildiing. He died at Stratford Place, Camden Town, on 12 Sep. 1886, and was buried in Highgate cemetery.

[Obituary notices in Engineer, 17 Sept. 1886, p. 232; Engineering, 17 Sept. 1886, p. 233; private information.]

R. B. P.

O'REILLY, ALEXANDER (1722?–1794), Spanish general, born in Ireland, of Roman catholic parents, about 1722, entered at an early age the Spanish army. As sub-lieutenant in the regiment of Hibernia he served in the campaigns against the Austrians in Italy, and received a wound that lamed him for life. In 1757 he joined the Austrian army, and took part in two campaigns against the Prussians under his countryman. Count Maurice Francis Lacy [See under Lacy, Peter, Count Lacy]. In 1759 he joined the French army, but was so highly commended to the king of Spain by Marshal de Broglie that he was invited to 'return to the Spanish army and granted the rank of colonel. In that capacity he served in the war with Portugal in 1762, and acquired the reputation of being one of the best officers in the Spanish service. Promoted to be brigadier on the staff and adjutant-general for instruction, he taught the Spanish troops the