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William Hunt (1843-1897)

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William Hunt (1843-1897), M. lnst. C.E., Chief Engineer to the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway Company,

Died aged 55.


1897 Obituary [1]

WILLIAM HUNT was born at Banbury on the 8th January, 1843, and was educated at the Bedford Commercial (now called the Modern) School, where he gained an Exhibition prize of £200.

In November, 1858, he was articled to Mr. Henry Daniel Martin, who was at that time, besides having a large practice, Engineer of the East and West India Docks, of the North London Railway and of the then East India Company.

Mr. Hunt was engaged for about three years at the East and West India Docks, and then entered the locomotive works of the North London Railway at Bow, where he worked first in the shops, and afterwards in the drawing-office.

From 1862 to 1865 he was engaged on the construction of railways in the Isle of Wight.

Mr. Hunt next became chief assistant to the late Mr. John Smith Burke in Westminster, an engineer who had considerable practice. For three years he was engaged under Mr. Burke in laying out new lines of railway, preparing the parliamentary plans and estimates for the same, and performing the necessary engineering work in carrying the bills through Parliament.

He was then appointed Assistant Resident Engineer, under Mr. Benjamin Burleigh, for the construction of works on the East London Railway on the south side of the Thames, and was afterwards engaged by Sir John Hawkshaw, Past-President, as Resident Engineer in responsible charge of the whole of the works on that railway on the north side of the Thames, including the construction of the line under the eastern basin of the London Docks, under the warehouses on the north side of those docks, and under the London and Blackwall Railway. In carrying out this work, neither the warehouses on the north side of the dock nor the viaduct of the London and Blackwall Railway was interfered with.

In June, 1876, Mr. Hunt was appointed Chief Assistant Engineer to the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway Company. During the six years he held that post many important works were carried out, or concluded, under his supervision, among which the following may be mentioned:- The Brighouse Branch, the Hollinwood Branch, the Shepley to Clayton West Branch, the Shawforth Branch Extension, the Sowerby Bridge to Rishworth Branch, the Bacup Branch Widening, the Cheetham Hill to Radcliffe Branch, a heavy retaining wall at Todmorden to stop the movement of a hillside, the carriage works at Newton Heath now being enlarged, and a new tunnel at Farnworth. The retaining wall at Todmorden was a work of great difficulty, owing to the presence, in addition to the railway, of a canal, highway and river, all situated in the lower part of a contracted valley, the traffic on the railway and the canal having to be kept free from obstruction and interruption during the construction of the wall.

On the retirement of Mr. Meek in 1882, Mr. Hunt was appointed Chief Engineer to the Company. Among the works he carried out in that capacity are the following:- The large grain elevator at Fleetwood, the first in England built on the American system; the reconstruction of goods yards and the extension of passenger and goods stations at Bradford; the widening between Heaton Lodge Junction, Mirfield, and the London and North Western station at Ravensthorpe; extensions and great alterations at Victoria Station, Manchester; a loopline at Liverpool; the Liverpool and Waterloo widening, including the Bankfield Branch and goods yard; the reconstruction of the Exchange Station, Liverpool; the locomotive works at Horwich; the Hindley and Pendleton Railway, with the extension to Pemberton and the Westhoughton connecting lines; gravitation sorting sidings at Aintree, having an aggregate length of 22 miles; heavy works on the Manchester, Bolton and Bury Canal, owing to subsidences due to colliery workings; the widening of the Preston and Wyre line between Preston and Kirkham, including diversion of the railway at Poulton; the widening of the line between Manchester and Miles Platting; the Farington connecting line; the Oldham Road goods line viaduct widening between Livesey Street and Collyhurst Street (between Manchester and Miles Platting), and a high-level line between the former street and Miles Platting Station crossing over the Hunts Bank Incline; the widening of the line between Manchester and Windsor Bridge, Salford, including a branch to the Manchester Ship Canal and a diversion of the Company's old canal ; and also many station extensions and enlargements, warehouses, goods yards, engine and carriage sheds, and bridge renwals.

Mr. Hunt died at his residence, High Lea, Crumpsall, Manchester, on the 29th March, 1897.

He was elected an Associate on the 3rd March, 1868, and was transferred to the class of Members on the 25th January, 1876.

He took considerable interest in the local Association of Students at Manchester, of which he was President in 1894. He also interested himself in the Permanent- Way Institution, acting as President of that body in the same year. In social life Mr. Hunt was courteous, kind hearted and hospitable, popular with his staff and liked by all who had the privilege of knowing him.


1897 Obituary[2][3]

"REGRET will be widely experienced at the death, at the comparatively early age of 55 years, of Mr. William Hunt, who, as engineer of the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway during the past 21 years, has done much to make that concern a profitable and useful undertaking.

At the age of 16, Hunt was articled to Mr. H. D. Martin, and during the period of 1858-62 was employed on construction works and in the locomotive shops on the North London Railway, which was then under construction. He was also associated at this time with the East and West India Docks at London, and designed portable barracks for the late East India Company for use in the Bengal Presidency, finally returning to the North London Railway to lay out and prepare the Parliamentary plans of the extension from Dalston to the City.

From 1862 to the midsummer of 1865 he was m the Isle of Wight as resident engineer on the Cowes and Newport Railway, which he carried through almost from the initiatory stages. Thence he went for three years as principal assistant to the late Mr. J. S. Burke, who was occupied largely in the preparation of Parliamentary plans and estimates, and subsequently of designs and contract drawings for the Dublin Trunk Connecting Line and for the Southern Railway of Ireland.

From May, 1868, to September, 1869, he was assistant engineer under the late Sir John Hawkshaw on the East London Railway works, acting subsequently a resident engineer on the important works.

In 1876 he became chief assistant to the engineer of the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway, being promoted six years later to the chief post in the department. His large experience in the metropolis was most valuable as his work included heavy reconstructions in Manchester and in Liverpool. Under his direction the company carried out within a few years, most extensive alterations necessitating the expenditure of eight millions sterling, including the doubling of the line from Sandhills into Liverpool and the construction of the new exchange station there, the construction of the Pendleton and Hindley line, whereby' a new route was opened up from the company~ system into Liverpool, the making of new goods and passenger stations at Bradford, while in Manchester the whole locality around the company's Victoria station has been entirely altered, the greater accommodation required taxing Mr. Hunt's experience more largely owing to the proximity of the Rivers Irk and Irwell.

In the prosperity of the Lancashire and Yorkshire he had a very active interest, and his last public appearance was before a House of Commons Committee at the end of last week. He died on Monday at his residence, High Lea, Crumpsal, and was interred on Thursday. He become an associate of the Institution of Civil Engineers in 1868, and a member in January, 1876, but took little active interest in the proceedings of any of the technical societies."


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