Thomas Wicksteed (26 January 1806 – 15 November 1871) was a notable English civil engineer of the 19th century. As engineer to the East London Waterworks Company he was responsible for introducing the Cornish pumping engine. He oversaw many improvements, and was approached for advice by a number of water companies elsewhere in the country, later turning his attention to the efficient handling of sewage.
A civil engineer is a person who practices civil engineering – the application of planning, designing, constructing, maintaining, and operating infrastructures while protecting the public and environmental health, as well as improving existing infrastructures that have been neglected.
The East London Waterworks Company was one of eight private water companies in London absorbed by the Metropolitan Water Board in 1904.
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, with whom he lived. 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.
Shrewsbury is the county town of Shropshire, England. The town is on the River Severn, the 2011 census recorded a town population of 71,715and a larger urban population of 102,382.
In 1829, he became the Engineer to the East London Waterworks Company. It was a time when costly additions to the reservoirs and pumping-engines had to be made, but these were offset by the large saving he was able to make, particularly in the consumption of fuel.
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. The savings were such that he carried out careful 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 about London.
A Cornish engine is a type of steam engine developed in Cornwall, England, mainly for pumping water from a mine. It is a form of beam engine that uses steam at a higher pressure than the earlier engines designed by James Watt. The engines were also used for powering man engines to assist the underground miners' journeys to and from their working levels, for winching materials into and out of the mine, and for powering on-site ore stamping machinery.
Old Ford is a district in East London and is in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets; it is named after the natural ford which used to exist in the area crossing the uncanalised River Lea. The area is locally nicknamed Roman in reference to a road of the same name. It was historically in north Bow. It is bordered to the north by Hackney, Bow and Mile End to the south, Bethnal Green to the west and Stratford to the east.
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.
Meanwhile, he carried out various additions to the reservoirs and other works of the company. Among these was to transfer the source of the company’s supply from Old Ford to Lea Bridge up river from the tidal flow.
Lea Bridge is a neighbourhood and electoral ward in the Clapton area of the London Borough of Hackney.
Between 1838 and 1845, he was retained as Consulting Engineer to the Grand Junction, Vauxhall, Southwark, and Kent Waterwork Companies, while still Resident Engineer to the East London Water Works. He was thus, at one time, engineer to five out of the then nine London water companies. During this time, he constructed new waterworks at Hull and Wolverhampton, with extensions to those at Brighton and Scarborough. He was also consulted by the towns of Leeds, Liverpool, Dewsbury, Lichfield, Leamington, Cork, Kingston in Jamaica, Valparaiso, Boston, in the United States, the waterworks and sewerage of Berlin and consulted by the Pasha of Egypt in reference to the barrage of the Nile.
Kingston upon Hull, usually abbreviated to Hull, is a port city and unitary authority in the East Riding of Yorkshire, England. It lies upon the River Hull at its confluence with the Humber Estuary, 25 miles (40 km) inland from the North Sea, with a population of 260,700 (mid-2017 est.). Hull is 154 miles (248 km) north of London, 50 miles (80 km) east of Leeds, 34 miles (55 km) east southeast of York and 67 miles (108 km) northeast of Sheffield.
Wolverhampton is a city and metropolitan borough in the West Midlands, England. At the 2011 census, it had a population of 249,470. The demonym for people from the city is 'Wulfrunian'.
Brighton is a seaside resort on the south coast of England that is part of the city of Brighton and Hove, located 47 miles (76 km) south of London.
His attention having been drawn to the sewerage of towns, and its disposal, he became the 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.
The Patent Solid Sewage Manure Company at Leicester was successful in purifying sewage, with a marked improvement to the River Soar but, though large quantities of manure were produced it could not compete with others on the market. In the end, the company failed and the corporation took over the sewage purifying.
Besides carrying out a complete system of drainage for Leicester, he was consulted on the sewerage of Leeds, Leamington, Maidstone, and Scarborough ; and gave evidence before the Special Committee on the Sewage of the Metropolis.
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.
On 20 July 1829 at St John, Hackney, he married Eliza, the third daughter of the late Mr. John Barton, of London, by whom he had seven children - Bithia (1831-1874), Katharine (1833--1884), Mary (1834-1834), Mary Frances (1835-1906), Arthur Aikin (1840-1903) and Eliza Lucy (1845-1923).
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.
Sir Alexander Richardson Binnie (1839–1917) was a British civil engineer responsible for several major engineering projects, including several associated with crossings of the River Thames in London.
James Mansergh FRS was an English civil engineer.
Thomas Hawksley was an English civil engineer of the 19th century, particularly associated with early water supply and coal gas engineering projects. Hawksley was, with John Frederick Bateman, the leading British water engineer of the nineteenth century and was personally responsible for upwards of 150 water-supply schemes, in the British Isles and overseas.
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.
Severn Trent plc is a water company based in the United Kingdom that is traded on the London Stock Exchange, and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index. Severn Trent, the trading name owned by the above company applies to a group of companies employing more than 15,000 people across the United Kingdom, United States and mainland Europe, with some involvement in the Middle East.
Pumping stations are facilities including 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.
Cropston Reservoir lies in Charnwood Forest in Leicestershire, England. The dam and associated water works are in Cropston, while the bulk of the reservoir is in the neighbouring Newtown Linford parish. It was opened in May 1871 in a corner of Bradgate Park, a large expanse of open land northwest of Leicester. It is part of the 399.3 hectare Bradgate Park and Cropston Reservoir Site of Special Scientific Interest.
The Crossness Pumping Station is a former sewage pumping station designed by the Metropolitan Board of Works's chief engineer Sir Joseph Bazalgette and architect Charles Henry Driver at the eastern end of the Southern Outfall Sewer and the Ridgeway path in the London Borough of Bexley. Constructed between 1859 and 1865 by William Webster, as part of Bazalgette's redevelopment of the London sewerage system, it features spectacular ornamental cast ironwork, that Nikolaus Pevsner described as "a masterpiece of engineering – a Victorian cathedral of ironwork".
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.
George Sorocold was an engineer in Derby, England, in the eighteenth century.
London's water supply infrastructure has developed over the centuries in line with the expansion of London. For much of London's history, private companies supplied fresh water to various parts of London from wells, the River Thames and in the three centuries after the construction in 1613 of the New River, the River Lea, which has springs that divert alongside Hertford at an elevation of 40 metres AOD. Further demand prompted new conduits and sources, particularly in the 150 years to 1900 as the Agricultural and Industrial Revolution caused a boom in London's population and housing.
James Simpson (1799–1869) was a British civil engineer. He was president of the Institution of Civil Engineers from January 1853 to January 1855.
Walka Water Works is a heritage-listed 19th-century pumping station located near Maitland, New South Wales, Australia. Originally built in 1887 to supply water to Newcastle and the lower Hunter Valley, it has since been restored and preserved and is part of Maitland City Council's Walka Recreation and Wildlife Reserve. It was added to the New South Wales State Heritage Register on 2 April 1999.
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.
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.
The history of water supply and sanitation is one of a logistical challenge to provide clean water and sanitation systems since the dawn of civilization. Where water resources, infrastructure or sanitation systems were insufficient, diseases spread and people fell sick or died prematurely.
Essex and Suffolk Water is a water supply company in the United Kingdom. It operates in two geographically distinct areas, one serving parts of Norfolk and Suffolk, and the other serving parts of Essex and Greater London. The total population served is 1.8 million. Essex and Suffolk is a 'water only' supplier, with sewerage services provided by Anglian Water and Thames Water within its areas of supply. It is part of the Northumbrian Water Group.
Worthington-Simpson was a British pump manufacturer. Many of their pumps were used in municipal waterworks in Great Britain.
John Towlerton Leather (1804–1885) was a British civil engineering contractor.
Liverpool Corporation Waterworks and its successors have provided a public water supply and sewerage and sewage treatment services to the city of Liverpool, England. In 1625 water was obtained from a single well and delivered by cart, but as the town grew, companies supplied water to homes through pipes. There were two main companies by the 1840s, but the water supply was intermittent, and there was general dissatisfaction with the service. Liverpool Corporation decided that such an important service should be provided by a public body, and sought to take over the water supply companies.
Obituary. Thomas Wicksteed, 1806-1871. Institution of Civil Engineers: Minutes of the Proceedings, Volume 33, Issue 1872, 1 January 1872, pages 241-246