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William Joseph Kingsbury (1825-1904)
1904 Obituary 
WILLIAM JOSEPH KINGSBURY, youngest son of the late Mr. Thomas Kingsbury, formerly of The Priory, Bathwick Hall, Bath, was born at Clapton, Middlesex, on the 30th December, 1825. He was educated at private schools, and entered at about the age of 15 the College for Civil Engineers at Putney, where he took the first place in mathematics every year, and obtained its diploma in 1849.
On leaving Putney College he was offered the position of assistant to Professor John Wilson, who was carrying on boiler experiments in connection with coals suited for the steam Navy, and the results were embodied in the first Report issued by the Commissioners, Sir H. De la Beche and Dr. Lyon Playfair. Mr. Kingsbury returned home, after a short period of employment under Charles Liddell, owing to his father’s serious illness, but in August, 1852, he received an introduction to George Parker Bidder, Past-President, and this proved to be the starting point of his professional career and of an association of friendship unbroken until Mr. Bidder’s death in 1878.
Mr. Bidder placed him with John Mortimer Heppel, then occupied with preliminary calculations and sketches for the large wrought-iron gates for the Victoria Docks, and in the preparation of contract drawings for the Hackney branch of the Eastern Counties Railway (now part of the Great Eastern system).
On Mr. Heppel’s leaving England for an appointment in Switzerland at the end of 1852, Mr. Kingsbury came into Mr. Bidder’s office, and was placed in charge of details of lock-gates and caissons, subsequently becoming Resident Engineer under Bidder and Berkley of the Woodford and Loughton branch of the Eastern Counties Railway in 1855.
At the end of 1856, on the retirement of W. P. Gale, Mr. Bidder offered him the post of Private Secretary, and placed him in charge of the office. In 1859 he presented to the Institution, at Mr. Bidder’s request, a Paper entitled 'Description of the Entrance, Entrance Lock, and Jetty-Walls of the Victoria (London) Docks; with a detailed account of the Wrought-Iron Gates and Caisson, and remarks upon the form adopted in their construction,'for which he was awarded a Telford Medal and a Manby Premium.
In 1857-59, Mr. Bidder being associated with Joseph Jennings as Engineers for new entrance and gates to the Grand Surrey Docks, Mr. Kingsbury acted as Resident Engineer, and in subsequent extensions as joint Engineer with Mr. Jennings, Mr. Bidder being Consulting Engineer. Subsequently the Graving Dock at Lowestoft, working up tidal observations along the Llanelly shore, the Bow and Barking Branch of the London, Tilbury and Southend Railway, for which he prepared the bridge designs, and numerous important arbitrations claimed his attention.
In 1862 Mr. Bidder became Consulting Engineer of the Scinde Railway Company and of three other closely connected companies, and this opened up an enormous amount of work, especially in connection with the testing of material on a wider basis than had been previously practised by engineers. The most important event in 1865 was the making of the Delhi contract of 304 miles from Lahore to Delhi with Messrs. Brassey, Wythes and Henfrey - the largest contract, it is believed, ever carried out in India - and the specification demanded and received special attention. The bridge designs were prepared by the late John Harrison Stanton, and the remainder of the work by Mr. Kingsbury. The line was completed in 1871. The Indus Valley Company commenced a railway survey for a line between Kotri and Multan, but this was stopped by Government in 1866, and at about this date the four undertakings were amalgamated as the Scinde, Punjaub and Delhi Railway.
In 1865 the Kemp Town extension of the Brighton and South Coast Railway was made, of which Mr. Kingsbury was Resident Engineer, and other branches of the Brighton Company also received his attention.
In 1866 Mr. Kingsbury made interesting experiments in vibration, under Mr. Bidder’s directions, along the Marylebone Road before writing his Report to the Dean and Chapter of Westminster on the risk of danger to Westminster Abbey from the proposed District Railway.
In 1874 Mr. Bidder became interested in the Swindon, Marlborough and Andover Railway, and the construction of the line was carried out with Mr. Kingsbury and Mr. Shopland as Engineers, and Mr. Bidder as Consulting Engineer.
On the death of Mr. Bidder in 1878 the Scinde, Punjaub and Delhi Railway Company appointed Mr. Kingsbury his successor as Consulting Engineer, and he held the appointment until the contract between the Company and the Indian Office lapsed about 1886, when Mr. Kingsbury relinquished practice.
Mr. Kingsbury was for a few years a Director of Prentice's Gun Cotton Works at Stowmarket and made many experiments in coal mines, slate quarries, etc. He was also a Director, for over thirty years, of the Danish Gas Company and took a keen interest in its affairs. Mr. Kingsbury’s great recreation through life was music, and for many years he conducted choral meetings in his own house and gave concerts for charitable purposes.
He died at his residence, 64 Burton Court, Lower Sloane Street, S.W., on the 9th January, 1904.
Mr. Kingsbury was elected an Associate of the Institution on the 2nd February, 1858, and was transferred to the class of Members on the 8th December, 1863.