Thomas Rowatt

Last updated

Thomas Rowatt FRSE FSAS OBE MM (18791950) was a 20th century Scottish engineer who became Keeper then Director of the Royal Scottish Museum.


He was born in Kew on 7 November 1879 to Scottish parents. His grandfather Thomas Rowatt (d.1880) was involved with James Young in the Scottish shale oil industry. [1]

Kew suburban district in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames

Kew is a district in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames, 1.5 miles (2.4 km) north-east of Richmond and 7.1 miles (11.4 km) west by south-west of Charing Cross; its population at the 2011 census was 11,436. Kew is the location of the Royal Botanic Gardens, now a World Heritage Site, which includes Kew Palace. Kew is also the home of important historical documents such as Domesday Book, which is held at The National Archives.

James Young (chemist) Scottish chemist, born 1811

James Young was a Scottish chemist best known for his method of distilling paraffin from coal and oil shales. He is often referred to as Paraffin Young.

His family moved to Scotland in his youth and he was educated at Ewart High School in Newton Stewart. He studied Engineering at the Wohler Schule in Frankfurt-on-Main and at Heriot-Watt College in Edinburgh. [2] He served his apprenticeship at Carrick & Ritchie, crane builders, at the Waverley Engineering Works on Easter Road, Edinburgh. [3]

Newton Stewart town in Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland

Newton Stewart is a former burgh town in the historical county of Wigtownshire in Dumfries and Galloway, southwest Scotland. The town is on the River Cree with most of the town to the west of the river, and is sometimes referred to as the "Gateway to the Galloway Hills".

Edinburgh Capital city in Scotland

Edinburgh is the capital of Scotland and one of its 32 council areas. Historically part of the county of Midlothian, it is located in Lothian on the Firth of Forth's southern shore.

Easter Road, Edinburgh

Easter Road is a main road in Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland. It is so called as it was known as the 'Easter (eastern) road to Leith'. As maps of Edinburgh in the late 18th century show, it had a counterpart in "Wester Road". Until the creation of Leith Walk in the middle of the 17th century these were the two main routes from Leith to Edinburgh. Historic personages who have ridden up Easter Road have included Mary, Queen of Scots (1561) and Oliver Cromwell.

In 1901 he became an assistant at the Royal Scottish Museum. In 1909 he was promoted to Assistant Keeper. In 1921 he replaced Alexander Gait as Keeper and in 1934 succeeded Edwin Ward as Director of the Museum. [4]

In the First World War he served with the Royal Engineers attached to the Royal Naval Division at Antwerp. Redeployed to Gallipoli in 1915 he won the Military Medal for bravery.

Royal Engineers corps of the British Army

The Corps of Royal Engineers, usually just called the Royal Engineers (RE), and commonly known as the Sappers, is one of the corps of the British Army.

Antwerp Municipality in Flemish Community, Belgium

Antwerp is a city in Belgium, and is the capital of Antwerp province in Flanders. With a population of 520,504, it is the most populous city proper in Belgium, and with a metropolitan area housing around 1,200,000 people, it's the second largest metropolitan region after Brussels in Belgium.

Gallipoli peninsula

The Gallipoli peninsula is located in the southern part of East Thrace, the European part of Turkey, with the Aegean Sea to the west and the Dardanelles strait to the east.

In 1935 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. His proposers were Percy H. Grimshaw, Alexander Stephen, Sir Thomas Hudson Beare and John Brown Clark. [5]

Royal Society of Edinburgh academy of sciences

The Royal Society of Edinburgh is Scotland's national academy of science and letters. It is a registered charity, operating on a wholly independent and non-party-political basis and providing public benefit throughout Scotland. It was established in 1783. As of 2017, it has more than 1,660 Fellows.

Percy Hall Grimshaw FRSE FERS ISO was an English entomologist and zoogeographer. He was an expert on butterflies.

Dr Alexander Charles Stephen FRSE PRPSE was a 20th-century Scottish zoologist.

He was President of the Watt Club 1937/8. [6]

He retired in 1945 and died on 7 April 1950.

Related Research Articles

Brigadier-General Sir Alexander Gibb was a Scottish civil engineer. After serving as Civil Engineer-in-Chief to the Admiralty and Director-General of Civil Engineering at the Ministry of Transport, he established the engineering consultancy firm Sir Alexander Gibb & Partners.

Sir Gordon Smith Grieve Beveridge FRSE MRIA FEng FIChemE FRSA was a Scottish chemist. He served as President and Vice-Chancellor of Queen's University of Belfast, Northern Ireland, from 1986 to 1997. He was knighted in 1994 for his services to higher education and died in Belfast.

William George Nicholson Geddes CBE DSc FRSE FEng was a Scottish civil engineer.

Sir Francis Grant Ogilvie CB FRSE was a Scottish educator, museum director, and scientist.

Douglas Alexander Allan, CBE, FRSGS, FRSE, FMA was a geologist and curator, eventually becoming the director of the Royal Scottish Museum in Edinburgh, from 1945 until 1961.

Archibald Barr FRS FRSE LLD was a Scottish scientific engineer, inventor and businessman. He was a co-founder of Barr & Stroud, and invented the Barr & Stroud Rangefinder.

Prof Walter Brown FRSE was a Scottish mathematician and engineer.

Robert Silver British physicist

Prof Robert Simpson Silver CBE FRSE FIP MIME (1913–1997) was a Scottish physicist and mechanical engineer, awarded the Unesco Prize for Science in 1968 for his discovery of a process for the demineralisation of sea water. Prior to his work there had been no commercially viable desalination process that involved continuous flow; plants had to be stopped and emptied of accumulated salt from time to time, such as when a passenger liner using desalination was in port. Silver performed a thermodynamic analysis showing that reverse osmosis and "multi-stage flash" were the optimal processes for purification of water. As reverse osmosis technology was less advanced in the mid-20th century he designed multi-stage flash equipment, of which the first operational large-scale installation was in Kuwait.

Prof Neil Campbell FRSE FRSC OBE was a Scottish chemist and amateur athlete. He served as Vice President of the Royal Society of Edinburgh from 1972 to 1975. He was associated with the University of Edinburgh for 74 years of his life.

Charles Augustus Carlow FRSE DLitt LLD was a leading Scottish mining engineer and owner and managing director of the Fife Coal Company Ltd., that was based in Leven, Fife.

Dr George Alexander Carse FRSE RSSA was a leading Scottish physicist and educationalist. In 1925 he was the first Mitchell Lecturer.

Prof Alexander Robert Horne FRSE OBE MIME PRSSA (1881–1953) was a Scottish engineer and author.

Prof William Hutchison McMillan MIME FRSE was a British mining engineer. He was Head of the Department of Mining and Fuels at University College, Nottingham then Professor of Mining in Edinburgh. In authorship he usually appears as W. H. McMillan.

Sir Thomas Carlaw Martin FRSE LLD was a Scottish newspaper editor and Director of the Royal Scottish Museum.

Robert Waldron Plenderleith FRSE (1901–1974) was a 20th century Scottish engineer and museum curator. From 1953 to 1956 he was President of the Royal Scottish Society of Arts. He was also President of the Astronomical Society of Edinburgh 1959/60 and Chairman of the Edinburgh Scientific Film Society 1963 until death. In authorship he is known as R. W. Plenderleith.

Sir William Reid FRSE FIME DSc DCL was a 20th century Scottish businessman and mining engineer. He served as President of the Mining Institute of Scotland 1951/2 and as President of the Institute of Mining Engineers 1956/7. He was Chairman of the Durham Division of the National Coal Board.

Prof Richard Stanfield PRSSA FRSE MICE MIME (1863–1950) was a 20th century British civil engineer.

Alexander Steuart PRSSA FRSE (1884–1960) was a 20th century Scottish inventor and horologist. In 1921 he patented the Steuart Clock an early accurate electric clock.


  3. Edinburgh Post Office Directory 1895
  5. Biographical Index of Former Fellows of the Royal Society of Edinburgh 1783–2002 (PDF). The Royal Society of Edinburgh. July 2006. ISBN   0 902 198 84 X.