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John Harcourt Williams

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John Harcourt Williams (1876-1942) of BTH and the Manchester Corporation Electricity Department


1942 Obituary [1]

JOHN HARCOURT WILLIAMS was born in 1876, and was educated at Charterhouse School and the Central Technical College.

He served as a pupil with Messrs. Maudslay, Sons and Field, after which he joined the British Thomson-Houston Co. in 1900 and continued to be associated with that firm for 30 years. He served on their outside construction staff until 1912, and then became a member of the London staff until 1920, when he went to Manchester as District Manager for North-West England to the Company.

In 1930 he was appointed Deputy Chief Engineer to the Manchester Corporation Electricity Department, and quickly began to play an important part in the management of the undertaking. This position he held until his death on the 7th July, 1942, in his 66th year, only three months before he was to have retired.

He joined The Institution as an Associate Member in 1906 and was elected a Member in 1913. He was a distinguished member of his profession and served for many years on the Committee of the North-Western Centre of The Institution, being Chairman in 1928-29. In 1934-35 he was Chairman of the Manchester and District Association of The Institution of Civil Engineers and was also a Past-Chairman of the Engineers' Club, Manchester, an institution in which he took a particular interest.

For the last two years he had undertaken additional work as Honorary Secretary of No. 10 (North-Western) District Coal (Electricity) Advisory Committee—a committee of engineers which assists the coal supplies officers of the Ministry of Fuel and Power in controlling the supply of coal under war conditions to electricity undertakings.

Notwithstanding his many other duties, all of which he invariably carried out with great energy and dispatch, he devoted much time to the question of coal supplies. He thereby greatly assisted in the solution of the problem of meeting the fuel requirements of the generating stations in the area, which between them supply approximately one-fifth of the electrical output of the country. A man of charming manner and modest disposition, Mr. Harcourt Williams displayed untiring energy in carrying out whatever he undertook, whether it might be working at his desk, assisting the various Institutions with which he was associated, or getting together information which one or other of his many friends might be requiring. Above all else, it is for his sincerity and kindness that he will long be remembered by all those who had the good fortune to come under his influence.

He was a widower and leaves two sons, one of whom is in the Royal Air Force.


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