Thomas Wicksteed

Last updated

Thomas Wicksteed (26 January 1806 – 15 November 1871) was an English civil engineer. As engineer to the East London Waterworks Company, he was responsible for introducing the Cornish pumping engine.



Born in Shrewsbury, the fourth son of John Wicksteed, he was educated at Shrewsbury School, and at sixteen years of age he was sent to London, to reside with his father's old friend, Arthur Aikin, Secretary of the Society of Arts. He was articled to a mechanical engineer in Smithfield, and at the end of his apprenticeship, became an assistant to Henry R. Palmer, Engineer to the London Docks, at a time when extensive additions were being made.

In 1829, he became the Engineer to the East London Waterworks Company. In 1835 his attention was directed to the Cornish engine as a replacement for the less economical condensing engine. He visited the Cornish mines, conducted experiments, and prevailed upon the directors of the company to invest in this new technology. In 1837 an engine from Cornwall was installed in the works at Old Ford. He carried out measurements for a year and published his findings in 1841 in a paper entitled "An Experimental Inquiry concerning the relative power of, and useful effect produced by, the Cornish and Boulton and Watt pumping-engines, and cylindrical and waggon-head boilers" read to the Institution of Civil Engineers. Following this, several large engines were installed under his direction by various water companies around London.

He became Engineer to the London Sewage Company in 1847. Plans for a sewer along the North bank of the Thames to a pumping station and reservoir at Barking Creek were prepared to put before Parliament on behalf of the company, but necessary investment was not forthcoming and the company was subsequently dissolved. His plan was similar to that which he had proposed for Berlin in 1841, and he then built a system at Leicester. With the aim of purifying the sewage of towns, and producing manure, he set up the Patent Solid Sewage Manure Company. At this point he resigned as Engineer to the East London Waterworks in 1851 and severed his connections with the other London companies.

He was elected a Member of the Institution of Civil Engineers on 7 February 1837 and contributed several papers on the Cornish engine, for which he received a Telford medal in 1839. He had a seat on the Council from 1840 to 1843, but for many years before his death he had ceased to attend the meetings and to take part in the discussions. In 1863 he was elected also to the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.

Personal life

On 20 July 1829, he married Eliza, by whom he had six children.

His health was adversely affected by his labours in Leicester, and in 1865, he had what was described at the time as a slight attack of paralysis, and retired. He died at Headingley, near Leeds, on 15 November 1871, aged 65.

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">James Mansergh</span>

James Mansergh FRS was an English civil engineer.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Abbey Pumping Station</span> Science and Technology Museum in Leicester, United Kingdom

The Abbey Pumping Station is a museum of science and technology in Leicester, England, on Corporation Road, next to the National Space Centre. With four working steam-powered beam engines from its time as a sewage pumping station, it also houses exhibits for transport, public health, light and optics, toys and civil engineering.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Pumping station</span> Facilities including pumps and equipment for pumping fluids from one place to another

Pumping stations, also called pumphouses in situations such as drilled wells and drinking water, are facilities containing pumps and equipment for pumping fluids from one place to another. They are used for a variety of infrastructure systems, such as the supply of water to canals, the drainage of low-lying land, and the removal of sewage to processing sites. A pumping station is an integral part of a pumped-storage hydroelectricity installation.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Claymills Pumping Station</span>

Claymills Pumping Station is a restored Victorian sewage pumping station on the north side of Burton upon Trent, Staffordshire, England DE13 0DA. It was designed by James Mansergh and used to pump sewage to the sewage farm at Egginton.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Henry Rossiter Worthington</span>

Henry Rossiter Worthington was an American mechanical engineer, inventor, industrialist and founder of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers in 1880.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Beam engine</span> Early configuration of the steam engine utilising a rocking beam to connect major components.

A beam engine is a type of steam engine where a pivoted overhead beam is used to apply the force from a vertical piston to a vertical connecting rod. This configuration, with the engine directly driving a pump, was first used by Thomas Newcomen around 1705 to remove water from mines in Cornwall. The efficiency of the engines was improved by engineers including James Watt, who added a separate condenser; Jonathan Hornblower and Arthur Woolf, who compounded the cylinders; and William McNaught, who devised a method of compounding an existing engine. Beam engines were first used to pump water out of mines or into canals but could be used to pump water to supplement the flow for a waterwheel powering a mill.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">London Museum of Water & Steam</span> Museum in London

London Museum of Water & Steam is an independent museum founded in 1975 as the Kew Bridge Steam Museum. It was rebranded in early 2014 following a major investment project.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Arthur Woolf</span> Cornish engineer (1766-1837)

Arthur Woolf was a Cornish engineer, most famous for inventing a high-pressure compound steam engine. In this way he made an outstanding contribution to the development and perfection of the Cornish engine.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">James Simpson (engineer)</span> British civil engineer

James Simpson (1799–1869) was a British civil engineer. He was president of the Institution of Civil Engineers from January 1853 to January 1855.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Charles Hawksley</span> Civil engineer from Nottingham, England

Charles Hawksley (1839–1917) was a British civil engineer. Hawksley was born in Nottingham, England in 1839 and was the son of civil engineer Thomas Hawksley. He studied at University College London and after graduating entered into apprenticeship with his father's firm, which had been established in 1852 and specialised in water related projects. From 1857 Hawksley was, with his father, an adviser to the Great Yarmouth Waterworks Company and in 1866 became a partner in his father's firm. Hawksley worked extensively in the water industry and clients included the Newcastle and Gateshead Water Company, Sunderland and South Shields Water Company, Consett Waterworks, Weardale and Shildon District Waterworks and Durham County Water Board. Hawksley, with his father, built the Catcleugh Reservoir in Northumberland for the Newcastle and Gateshead Water Company between 1899 and 1905. In addition to his work on reservoirs, pipes and other infrastructure for the water companies he also undertook work for the Bishop Auckland District Gas Company.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">City of Nottingham Water Department</span> Former water department responsible for water supply in Nottingham (1880–1974)

The City of Nottingham Water Department (1912–1974), formerly the Nottingham Corporation Water Department (1880–1912), was responsible for the supply of water to Nottingham from 1880 to 1974. The first water supply company in the town was the Nottingham Waterworks Company, established in 1696, which took water from the River Leen, and later from springs at Scotholme, when the river became polluted. Other companies were set up in the late 18th century and in 1824, while in 1826 the Trent Water Company was established. They employed Thomas Hawksley as their engineer, who became one of the great water engineers of the period, and Nottingham had the first constant pressurised water supply system in the country. The various companies amalgamated in 1845, and Hawksley remained as the consulting engineer until 1879.

Josiah Parkes (1793–1871) was an English civil engineer, inventor of a deep drainage system.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Worthington-Simpson</span>

Worthington-Simpson was a British pump manufacturer. Many of their pumps were used in municipal waterworks in Great Britain.

Charles Greaves M Inst CE FGS FRSA (1816–1883), eldest son of Charles Greaves, was born in Great Amwell, Hertfordshire on 19 October 1816. He was articled to J. M. Rendel, a civil engineer in Plymouth from 1831 to 1837. He was in India from 1842 to 1847 when he made a survey for the Great Western railway of Bengal. He was engineer of East London waterworks from 1851 to 1875. In October 1872, he was presented with £1000 for his services in carrying out improved filter beds, pumping engines, et cetera, at a cost of one million. He was engineer at Westminster chambers, Victoria St., London from 1875 to 1878. He became a fellow of the Royal Meteorological Society in 1851, and was president of that society in 1879. He had a meteorological observatory in Surrey St. London from 1878 to 1883. He died at Sunhill, Clevedon on 4 November 1883.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">William Shelford (engineer)</span>

Sir William Shelford (1834–1905) was an English civil engineer.

Frederick Swanwick (1810–1885) was an English civil engineer who assisted George and Robert Stephenson. He was responsible for much of the work on railways in the North and Midlands of England, particularly the Whitby and Pickering Railway and the North Midland Railway.

Francisco Uville was a Swiss entrepreneur who helped introduce steam engines into the mining industry of Peru. Through his efforts engines designed and built by the Cornish engineer Richard Trevithick were shipped to Peru and carried high over the Andes to the silver mines, where they were used to pump water and hoist ore. Uville went well beyond the mandate agreed with his partners in his arrangements to obtain the equipment. He died before seeing the enterprise collapse in 1820 during the Peruvian War of Independence.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Worksop Waterworks Company</span> United Kingdom legislation

Worksop Waterworks Company, its predecessors and successors have provided a public water supply, together with sewerage and sewage treatment facilities to the town of Worksop since the mid-19th century. Unlike many towns, the sewerage network was constructed before the water supply network, and there was official opposition to the idea of providing a water supply network.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Sandfields Pumping Station</span> Disused pumping station in Lichfield, in Staffordshire, England

Sandfields Pumping Station is a disused pumping station in Lichfield, in Staffordshire, England. The engine house was built in 1873 and contains the original Cornish beam engine installed at that time. It is a Grade II* listed building.

Surrey Street Pumping Station is a Grade II listed pumphouse in Croydon, South London, England, that was built in four phases. It is the site of a well that "had been more or less public ever since the town existed". It was opened by the Archbishop of Canterbury on 11 December 1851, making Croydon one of the first towns to have a combined water and sewage system under the Public Health Act 1848, and to Chadwick’s arterial-venous design. The water was pumped from the wells, up Park Hill to a cylindrical brick reservoir with a domed roof to provide a constant supply of fresh piped water. Prior to its opening, the inhabitants of Croydon used the river Wandle, streams and shallow wells, which were often contaminated by seepage from privies and cesspools. Parts of Norwood were served with water from the Lambeth Water Company, a private company established by an act of parliament in 1785.