Barnett, James Rennie

SUBJECT AREA: Ports and shipping
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b. 6 September 1864 Johnstone, Renfrewshire, Scotland
d. 13 January 1965 Glasgow, Scotland
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Scottish naval architect described as one of the "Fathers of the Modern Lifeboat Fleet".
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Barnett studied naval architecture at the University of Glasgow and served an apprenticeship under the yacht designer George L. Watson. This was unusual as most undergraduates tended, then as now, to spend their initial years in the various departments of a shipyard, with concentration on the work of the drawing office. In 1904 Barnett succeeded Watson as Principal of the firm, and was simultaneously appointed Consulting Naval Architect to the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI), a post he held until his retirement in 1947. During this period many changes in lifeboat design brought increasing efficiency, better ranges of stability and improvements in operational safety. The RNLI recognized the great service of Barnett and his predecessor by naming two lifeboat types after them: the Watson and the Barnett.
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Principal Honours and Distinctions
OBE 1918. Royal National Lifeboat Institution Gold Medal.
Bibliography
Barnett was a member of both the Institution of Naval Architects and the Institution of Engineers and Shipbuilders in Scotland. Between 1900 and 1931 he presented a total of six papers to these institutions, on steam yachts, sailing yachts, motor yachts and on lifeboat design.
FMW

Biographical history of technology. - Taylor & Francis e-Librar. . 2005.

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