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James Torr

BSc Civil Engineering, 1960

James graduated in 1960
James Torr

What was your first job after graduation?

Indentured Engineer, W & C French Building Contractors.

What is your current job?

Retired (Occasional Mediator)

What were your main responsibilities and duties in your first job after graduation?

Site Engineer – responsible for ensuring construction complied with contract drawings and specification.

What has been your favourite job since graduation?

Acting as an Expert Witness – it was a constant intellectual challenge. I also have gained great satisfaction in acting as a Mediator in assisting parties to resolve their disputes.

What have been some of the key moments in your career?

The modernisation of the VSEL Shipyard, Barrow in Furness, in order to build the Trident Submarines and in particular watching the first Trident negotiating the dock system.

Do you feel that the University of Southampton and the course you studied here have helped you in your career?


What advice would you give to current and prospective students who desire a similar career to yours?

Maintain a sensible balance between study and socialising whilst at University and gain varied experience in the first years of your career before deciding what to do with your life.

What made you decide to study at the University of Southampton?

The reputation of the University and my impressions when going for my interview.

What made you decide to study your particular course?

Meccano had always been my favourite toy!

Were you involved in any particular events/experiences/opportunities during your time at the University?

Meeting my future wife, Vanda Blois, in the Engineering Drawing Office on my first day at University! I will always remember working on preparations for the “Engineers Ball” and travelling through France and Spain with fellow Engineers in the “Toastrack”.

What did you like about Southampton as a place to live?

It was so close to both the sea and splendid countryside.

What achievement are you most proud of since graduating?

Maintaining a happy marriage fast approaching fifty years. Career wise: being elected a Fellow of the Institution of Civil Engineers.

Are you still in touch with fellow alumni from your time at the University of Southampton?

Yes. Vanda and I regularly meet with five friends from the University and we correspond with several more. Professor Richard Cardwell, with whom I roomed in our first year and who had a distinguished academic career, will be coming to stay with us with his wife, another University Graduate, and in November 2011 we visited Roger Rugless, a fellow Southampton Civil Engineer, and his wife in Australia.

Can you sum up your experience at the University of Southampton in three words?

Enjoyable. Excellent. Creative.

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