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William Henry Churchward

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William Henry Churchward (1817-1896)

1897 Obituary [1]

WILLIAM HENRY CHURCHWARD was born at Stoke, Devonport, on the 18th January, 1817.

At the age of fifteen he entered the Royal Dockyard at Devonport, and for nearly twenty years, until 1851, was engaged in designing, estimating and superintending the construction of important works carried out in that yard, including the erection of a great number of buildings, extensive repairs and reconstruction of sea walls, and general improvements in the basin- and dock-accommodation.

In October, 1851, Mr. Churchward was transferred to Queenstown, where he constructed the landing- and watering-pier. He also carried out, unassisted by a local staff, hospital and other improvements at Haulbowline, and furnished a design for a naval hospital for Queenstown. It was approved, but in consequence of the Crimean War supervening was not carried out.

For a few months in 1855 Mr. Churchward was again in the Plymouth district, revising the original survey and laying out the whole of the working operations for the tunnel connecting Keyham with Devonport yard. He advanced the construction of the works to a certain extent; but in September of the same year he was selected by the Admiralty to take charge of works at Malta.

For the following nine years he served at the Mediterranean station, constructing the 'New' or 'Inner Dock,' deepening the entrance of the 'Outer Dock' by diving-bell; building the large reservoir at Coradino and connecting it by a tunnel with the Fanara Aqueduct, carrying out the greater part of the harbour extension works, building a part of the existing naval prison, and originating the plans for the dock extension works carried out in the French Creek subsequent to his departure from Malta.

He returned to England in October, 1864, and, in the following month was posted to Pembroke Dockyard, where he remained until his retirement from the public service. At Pembroke Mr. Churchward was responsible for the design and execution of the whole of the new works and repairs.

From 1867 he had the additional responsibility of carrying out the works by hired labour instead of by contract, which resulted in considerable economy.

In 1882 Mr. Churchward retired, after a service of upwards of fifty years, during which he earned the respect and affection of all with whom he came in contact. On leaving Pembroke Dock he travelled for some time and was about to settle in Wales, when he was taken ill at Woking, where he died on the 28th October, 1896, in his eightieth year.

He was elected an Associate on the 20th May, 1851, and on the revision of the By-laws in 1858 was made an Associate Member.

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