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British Industrial History

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Edwin Davenport Latham

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Edwin Davenport Latham (1843-1894)

1895 Obituary [1]

EDWIN DAVENPORT LATHAM, youngest son of the late George Latham, architect, of Nantwich, was born on the 3rd of January, 1843.

After being educated at the Nantwich Grammar School and receiving some training in his father’s office, he acted as Assistant Town Surveyor of Nantwich from 1862 to 1866, during which time he superintended the construction of an auxiliary impounding-reservoir for the waterworks.

In 1866 he was appointed Engineer and Surveyor to the Corporation of Bideford, where for three years he was engaged in constructing river embankments and sewerage works. His connection with Middlesbrough, where he spent the greater part of his life, commenced in 1869, when he was appointed Engineer and Surveyor of that borough.

In that capacity Mr. Latham carried out many public improvements, including main drainage works, fever hospitals, public baths, and the reconstruction of nearly three hundred streets.

In 1879 he undertook the management of the gasworks, and during the eleven years they were under his charge the output was doubled and the price was reduced to 2s. per 1,000 cubic feet.

He designed and executed steam-ferry works on the River Tees, and in 1875 and 1876 he reported and gave evidence before Parliamentary Committees on every town and village discharging sewage into the river, both above and below the point whence the towns of Middlesbrough, Stockton and Darlington derive their water-supply. This was in connection with an agitation which resulted in the corporations of Stockton and Middlesbrough becoming the owners of the waterworks by compulsory purchase.

In 1898 Mr. Latham suffered from an attack of congestion of the lungs, which left him in a weak state of health. His death, which took place on the 21st of November, 1894, was due to bronchitis coupled with weak action of the heart.

Mr. Latham was elected an Associate Member on the 4th of February, 1879.

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