From 1901 to 1925, Uncle William was a consulting mining engineer. He was at the peak of his life and was in great demand as an expert in copper. He was fit, he was healthy, and he seemed to escape all the many diseases that cut short the lives of so many consulting engineers. He travelled the world from Spain to Mexico and Chile and even to the Urals in Russia where he appears to have become an expert on iron ore as well. Not only was he a sound expert on copper, he was also a good manager who was often called upon to manage the mines.
A family legend tells of a trip to South America. He was hired to go out and give his advice on the prospects for a copper mine. He spent a month or more on ship travelling out to South America. He then spent a further month travelling up river. When he finally arrived, he spent a morning on-site, decided there was no copper there, and then returned home. He was away six months or more, spent just a morning on-site, said no, – but was well rewarded. The story has no doubt been improved in the telling, but may well have a grain of truth.
As a mining engineer he was very successful, but in 1925, at the age of 57, he decided to retire from being a consulting engineer, and to join Sir Alfred Chester Beatty in setting up Rhodesian Selection Trust. And it was with Selection Trust that he found his greatest success.
On to Selection Trust