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Obituary Sir Angus Paton

SIR ANGUS Paton, President of the Institution of Civil Engineers in 1970/71 and former senior partner at Sir Alexander Gibb and Partners, died last week aged 93.

He once described the vast Kariba dam and hydroelectric power station in southern Africa as the 'highlight of my professional career' - the difficult scheme was completed in 1960, on time and within its £75M budget.

This project's success led to the firm's involvement in many of the biggest dam projects in the world over the next two decades. These included schemes in the Sudan, Argentina, South Africa and two large dams, the Mangla and Tarbela in Pakistan.

It was at school at Cheltenham College that Sir Angus' love for mathematics and engineering was developed. After winning a scholarship to University College London, he graduated with a first class honours degree in civil engineering in 1925.

He then joined his uncle Sir Alexander Gibb's firm and by 1934 was in charge of building the new Guinness brewery in Park Royal, north west London. This £2M project included seven large steel-framed buildings, a power station, storage silo, roads and railway sidings. He was made a partner of the firm in 1938.

In the office Sir Angus was renowned for his ability and problem solving. His colleagues were fully aware, and often in awe, of the fact that he was capable of doing 'any job quicker and better than anyone else'.

Sir Angus took over as senior partner at Gibb in 1955. At the same time he took charge of the Kariba project. The difficult scheme would see the construction a 130m high double curvature arch dam - the biggest ever constructed - and a 600MW underground power station at a remote site 280km downstream from the Victoria Falls.

Working with French dam expert Andre Coyne, Sir Angus led the overall design and construction supervision on site.

After this project he continued to encourage the firm's expansion overseas. One of the biggest of these projects was to advise the World Bank during construction of the highly complex Tarbela Dam in Pakistan.

Sir Angus took an active interest in the profession. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1969 as well as President of the ICE in 1970/71. He published many learned papers and continually urged the industry to spend more on research and development. He was central to the formation of the government- backed Construction Industry Research and Information Association

He was knighted in 1973 and in 1976 was a founding Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering. In 1977 and 1978 he was one of the few engineers to be appointed vice president of the Royal Society. He retired in 1977.

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