Thomas Stewart (civil engineer)

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Thomas Stewart
Born(1857-03-30)30 March 1857
Craigend, Perthshire, Scotland
Died23 October 1942(1942-10-23) (aged 85)
Education University of Glasgow
Spouse(s)Mary Mackintosh Young (1902–1921);
Matabele Thmpson (m.1928)
Children3 sons
Engineering career
Discipline Civil Engineer
Significant design Woodhead Dam

Thomas Stewart (30 March 1857 – 23 October 1942) was a hydraulic engineer, who was born in Scotland and died at Cape Town, South Africa. [1] He designed the Woodhead Dam, which was named an International Historic Civil Engineering Landmark by the American Society of Civil Engineers in 2008. [2] He was called the "father of consulting engineering in South Africa" [2] and the "first South African consulting engineer." [3]

Hydraulic engineering sub-discipline of civil engineering concerned with the flow and conveyance of fluids, principally water and sewage

Hydraulic engineering as a sub-discipline of civil engineering is concerned with the flow and conveyance of fluids, principally water and sewage. One feature of these systems is the extensive use of gravity as the motive force to cause the movement of the fluids. This area of civil engineering is intimately related to the design of bridges, dams, channels, canals, and levees, and to both sanitary and environmental engineering.

Scotland Country in Northwest Europe, part of the United Kingdom

Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It covers the northern third of the island of Great Britain, with a border with England to the southeast, and is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, the North Sea to the northeast, the Irish Sea to the south, and more than 790 islands, including the Northern Isles and the Hebrides.

Cape Town Legislative capital of South Africa

Cape Town is a legislative capital of South Africa, colloquially named the Mother City. It is the legislative capital of South Africa and primate city of the Western Cape province. It forms part of the City of Cape Town metropolitan municipality.


Stewart was born at Craigend, Perthshire, Scotland on 30 March 1857. At age 16, he became a student of D.H. Halkett in Alyth. In 1876, he was named an assistant at the Glasgow Corporation Waterworks. He studied at the University of Glasgow. [1] In 1881, he was an assistant to John Wolfe-Barry. In 1882, he was named by Crown Agents for the Colonies as an assistant to J.G. Gamble for water supply and irrigation in the Cape Colony. [1]

Perthshire registration county in central Scotland

Perthshire, officially the County of Perth, is a historic county and registration county in central Scotland. Geographically it extends from Strathmore in the east, to the Pass of Drumochter in the north, Rannoch Moor and Ben Lui in the west, and Aberfoyle in the south; its borders the counties of Inverness-shire and Aberdeenshire to the north, Angus to the east, Fife, Kinross-shire, Clackmannanshire, Stirlingshire and Dunbartonshire to the south and Argyllshire to the west. It was a local government county from 1890 to 1930.

Alyth village in Perth and Kinross, Scotland, UK

Alyth is a town in Perth and Kinross, Scotland, situated under the Hill of Alyth five miles northeast of Blairgowrie. In 2001 the town had a population of 2,963.

Cape Colony Dutch and British colony in Southern Africa

The Cape of Good Hope, also known as the Cape Colony, was a British colony in present-day South Africa, named after the Cape of Good Hope. The British colony was preceded by an earlier Dutch colony of the same name, the Kaap de Goede Hoop, established in 1652 by the Dutch East India Company. The Cape was under Dutch rule from 1652 to 1795 and again from 1803 to 1806. The Dutch lost the colony to Great Britain following the 1795 Battle of Muizenberg, but had it returned following the 1802 Peace of Amiens. It was re-occupied by the UK following the Battle of Blaauwberg in 1806, and British possession affirmed with the Anglo-Dutch Treaty of 1814.

He resigned from Government Service in 1886, visited Britain, and returned to South Africa as resident engineer for the Cradock waterworks. He designed the waterworks for Wynberg. [1] In 1892, he began a private practice in Cape Town. [3] His early projects included the design and construction of five reservoirs on Table Mountain. [1] These were Woodhead, Hely-Hutchinson, Alexandra, Victoria, and De Villiers. [2] He went on to build other reservoirs, waterworks, and wastewater treatment plants in South Africa. [1] [3]

Cradock, Eastern Cape Place in Eastern Cape, South Africa

Cradock is a town in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa, in the upper valley of the Great Fish River, 250 kilometres (160 mi) by road northeast of Port Elizabeth. The town is the administrative seat of the Inxuba Yethemba Local Municipality in the Chris Hani District of the Eastern Cape. The estimated population in 2015 was 35,000.

Wynberg, Cape Town Place in Western Cape, South Africa

Wynberg is a southern suburb of the City of Cape Town in Western Cape, South Africa. It is situated between Plumstead and Kenilworth, and is a main transport hub for the Southern Suburbs of Cape Town.

In the Second Boer War, he was a major without pay in the Royal Engineers. He worked in the construction of defence works. [1]

Second Boer War War between two Boer Republics and the United Kingdom

The Second Boer War was fought between the British Empire and two Boer states, the South African Republic and the Orange Free State, over the Empire's influence in South Africa. It is also known variously as the Boer War, Anglo-Boer War, or South African War. Initial Boer attacks were successful, and although British reinforcements later reversed these, the war continued for years with Boer guerrilla warfare, until harsh British counter-measures brought the Boers to terms.

Major (Maj) is a military rank which is used by both the British Army and Royal Marines. The rank is superior to captain, and subordinate to lieutenant colonel. The insignia for a major is a crown. The equivalent rank in the Royal Navy is lieutenant commander, and squadron leader in the Royal Air Force.

Royal Engineers corps of the British Army

The Corps of Royal Engineers, usually just called the Royal Engineers (RE), and commonly known as the Sappers, is one of the corps of the British Army.

In 1902, he married Mary Mackintosh Young. They had three sons. She died in 1921. In 1928, he married Matabele, widow of F.R. Thompson. [1]

He was a member of the Institution of Civil Engineers, the second president of the Cape Society of Engineers, and a president of the Royal Society of South Africa. [3]

Institution of Civil Engineers independent professional association, headquartered in central London

The Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) is an independent professional association for civil engineers and a charitable body in the United Kingdom. Based in London, ICE has over 92,000 members, of whom three quarters are located in the UK, while the rest are located in more than 150 other countries. The ICE aims to support the civil engineering profession by offering professional qualification, promoting education, maintaining professional ethics, and liaising with industry, academia and government. Under its commercial arm, it delivers training, recruitment, publishing and contract services. As a professional body, ICE aims to support and promote professional learning, managing professional ethics and safeguarding the status of engineers, and representing the interests of the profession in dealings with government, etc. It sets standards for membership of the body; works with industry and academia to progress engineering standards and advises on education and training curricula.

Stewart died at Kenilworth, Cape Town at the age of 85.

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  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 "Thomas Stewart" (pdf). Obituary. Institution of Civil Engineers. doi:10.1680/ijoti.1943.13889 . Retrieved 6 March 2010.[ dead link ]
  2. 1 2 3 "Led by ASCE President, Delegation Visits S. Africa To Honor Dam as Civil Engineering Landmark". ASCE International Page. American Society of Civil Engineers. Archived from the original on 25 July 2011. Retrieved 6 March 2010.
  3. 1 2 3 4 Murray, Tony. "Thomas Steweart - First South African Consulting Engineer" (PDF). American Society of Civil Engineers. Archived from the original (pdf) on 25 July 2011. Retrieved 6 March 2010.