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James Farrar

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James Farrar (1825-1889), Borough Surveyor of Bury


1889 Obituary [1]

JAMES FARRAR was born at Walmersley, near Bury, on the 20th of November, 1825.

He was for some time, at the commencement of his career, in the office of Mr. Whitehead, a local solicitor of repute, and afterwards with Mr. Harper, solicitor, also of Bury.

He ultimately determined to follow the profession of a surveyor and civil engineer, and was for some time engaged upon local works of minor importance. Later he became all assistant to Mr. (now Sir Robert) Rawlinson, K.C.B., Vice President Inst. C.E.

In 1863 he was appointed Borough Surveyor of Bury, which post he retained until the incorporation of the borough in 1876. During his tenure of office, he carried out many important sanitary works, including, a system of main drainage, the purchase of land and the construction of a town’s yard where the whole municipal work was centralized. In the period of depression following the cotton famine, he designed and carried out as a relief work the present Bury Cemetery, which, laid out in a most tasteful manner, forms one of the most conspicuous works in the district. Quickly acquiring a reputation for skill, he was soon engaged upon most of the Parliamentary fights for Water and Railway Bills in Lancashire and Yorkshire, chief amongst these being the Sheffield, Bury, Wakefield, Southport, and Haslingden Water Schemes. Meanwhile he was consulted by most of the newly-formed local authorities in the neighbourhood of Bury as to the sanitary requirements of their districts, and was ultimately appointed Engineering Adviser to the Radcliffe, Whitefield, Heywood, Little Lever, and Dwygyfylchi Local Boards, and to the Rural Sanitary Authorities of Conway and Bury, and many other towns, preparing and carrying out drainage and other schemes. He was scarcely less sought after for advice on water-supply, and was actively engaged upon the construction of some portions of the Bury and Radcliffe Water Company’s Works, the Haslingden and Rawtenstall Water-works Company’s Reservoir, two companies which ultimately united. He also enlarged and remodelled the water-supply to the town of Conway and other places on the Welsh coast. He acquired a high reputation as a valuer of land and property, and was engaged upon most of the large transfers of property which took place in the district, especially in the determination by arbitration of the amount of compensation to be paid by authorities compulsorily acquiring land under Act of Parliament.

He held the appointment of Valuer to the Bury Union Assessment-Committee, and was frequently called upon to give evidence in cases of railway, water-works, and other assessments, not only for the authority by whom he was retained, but for other authorities in the county. The last work upon which he was engaged was the construction of the Todmorden Water-works, which consisted of a storage-reservoir with a capacity of 100,000,000 gallons, and the conveyance and distribution of the water in the town and district, the latter part of the scheme being a most tedious and difficult work, owing to the intersections of the roads by culverts, bridges, pipes, and old works of all descriptions. The cost of the undertaking will be £50,000.

Mr. Farrar had for some time been in failing health, the exposure and work of his early career haring told upon him. After being confined to his bed for a period of nine weeks, he died of Bright’s disease and dropsy on the 18th of April, 1889.

He was elected an Associate of the Institution on the 11th of May, 1869, and transferred Member on the 7th of January, 1879. He was a Fellow of the Surveyors’ Institution, a Justice of the Peace for the Borough of Bury, and a Director of the Southport Water-works Company, and of the Manchester and Liverpool District Banking Company.


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