Laurence Kettle

Published in Issue 1 (January/February 2014), Volume 22

Portrait of Laurence Kettle by Seán Keating. (© the estate of Seán Keating, IVARO 2013)

Portrait of Laurence Kettle by Seán Keating. (© the estate of Seán Keating, IVARO 2013)

Laurence Kettle was born in 1878, a son of Andrew Kettle, the Parnellite politician and one of the founders of the Land League. He was a brother of Tom Kettle, the nationalist and poet who was killed at the Battle of the Somme in 1916. He was a founding member of the Irish Volunteers in 1913 and, together with Eoin Mac Neill, secretary of its provisional committee. During the 1916 Rising he was held captive by the insurgents in the College of Surgeons, before resuming his responsibilities for the city’s power supply. He had trained as an electrical engineer and joined Dublin Corporation in 1906. In 1911 he became deputy city electrical engineer and in 1918 city engineer and manager. He was appointed adviser to the board of the ESB in 1929 and a member of the board from 1934 to 1950. He retired from the Corporation in 1932. He devoted much of his retirement to fostering the application of science to industrial projects. From 1932 to 1934 he was president of the Institute of Electrical Engineers. In 1934 he was appointed chairman of the newly formed Industrial Research Council and was a leading light in it and its successor, the Institute for Industrial Research and Standards, until 1957. He died in 1960.

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