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British Industrial History

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John Bailey Denton

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John Bailey Denton (1814-1893)

1842 John Bailey Denton became a member of the Institution of Civil Engineers.[1]

1871 Article in The Times surveying the available methods of sewage treatment. Of Whitehall Place, London[2]

1894 Obituary [3]

JOHN BAILEY DENTON was born on the 26th of November, 1814, and was the second son of the late Mr. Samuel Denton, a well-known solicitor of Gray’s Inn during the first half of the present century.

After a brief period of schooling, the youth, who was destined by his father to become a surveyor, was articled in 1830, when just fifteen years old, to the late Mr. Jackson, agent to the then Lord Dacre at Barkway, near Royston, Herts. There he learnt the practical management of estates, together with field surveying, and under Mr. Jackson’s directions undertook the inclosure of many of the common lands in numerous parishes in the midlands and home counties, and became noted for the accuracy of his work and the neatness of his plotted surveys. Surveying, however, afforded hardly wide enough scope for Mr. Denton’s active mind and he determined to become a civil engineer.

In 1842 he turned his attention to the railway movement then in full swing, and with the late Mr. Brassey, and under the late Mr. Locke, M.P., and other eminent engineers, was associated with the construction of the Great Northern, the London and South Western, the Midland, the Oxford and Cambridge, and the Hitchin and Royston Railways.

About this time, too, Mr. Bailey Denton, who had a natural inclination towards agriculture, became one of the earliest and most active promoters of the application of collective capital to the improvement of landed property, and was elected one of the directors of the first drainage company, which was originated with that object, viz., the Yorkshire Land Drainage Company....

With regard to the vexed question of the sewage-disposal of the Metropolis, Mr. Bailey Denton - whose design for the sewerage of London had, in 1840, been placed second on the list, out of 150 plans submitted to the judges, the first honours being awarded to the late Mr. McClean, Past President - gave very lengthy evidence before Lord Bramwell’s Royal Commission in 1885, and, with Colonel Jones, V.C., was the Author of the Canvey Island scheme, which was approved by the commissioners in opposition to the discharge of the liquid sewage into the Thames at Barking and means a valuable property would be created for the benefit of future ratepayers, the waste of valuable manure would be prevented, and that when all the surface of the island had been raised, the same method of procedure could be carried out on the low lands of Essex, near the mouth of the river. His principal works on the sewage question are: “Sanitary Engineering,” a series of lectures given before the School of Military Engineering at Chatham in 1876, and “Fourteen Years’ Experience of Intermittent Filtration,” both of which are to be found in the Library of the Institution. He also wrote a Prize Essay for the Royal Agricultural Society entitled “On Land Improvements-Drainage, Farm Buildings and Cottages; by loans from Government or Public Companies.”

Mr. Denton finally retired into private life in 1892, leaving his son and partners to carry on the professional work in which he had been engaged for upwards of sixty years.....[more]

1893 Obituary [4]

1893 Obituary [5]

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