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William Richard Morris (1808-1874)

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William Richard Morris (1808-1874)

Worked under Kent Waterworks Co.

1874 Died Suddenly.


1875 Obituary [1]

MR. WILLIAM RICHARD MORRIS, only son of Mr. Joshua Morris of Greenwich, was born on the 24th of October, 1808. He was articled to Mr. Charles Alexander Weir, Civil Engineer and Surveyor, and Manager of the Kent Waterworks, under whom he was engaged in making roads in the Grand Duchy of Mecklenburg Schwerin, in the erection of the Hammersmith Suspension Bridge, and other works.

He was afterwards employed by Sir W. Heygate to superintend the completion of the pier at Southend, one of the longest in the kingdom.

Subsequently, he assisted the late Mr. T. G. Barlow in designing and erecting gasworks at Vauxhall, Lewes, Stratford-on-Avon, and other places.

In 1834, he made and published a complete survey of the parish of Greenwich; he was also engaged professionally by the Grand Surrey Canal Dock Company and Lord Lonsdale.

In 1835, he was appointed superintendent of the Kent Waterworks under the late Mr. Thomas Wicksteed, M. Inst. C.E., Consulting Engineer; on whose resignation, in 1846, he was appointed Engineer to the Company. Under his advice and energetic management the works of the Company were at once greatly extended.

In 1856, he reported that the river Ravensbourne, which had been the source of the Company’s supply since 1688, could no longer be relied on to meet the increasing demands of the district; and he advised that wells should be sunk in the chalk which underlies the Company’s works at Deptford. The supply of water from this source proved so abundant, and its quality so superior, that in the year 1863 the use of the water from the Ravensbourne was entirely abandoned.

In 1864, the North Kent Waterworks Company was amalgamated with the Kent Waterworks Company, and to supply this additional district Mr. Morris sunk wells into the chalk at Crayford and at Shortlands, and from each point the Company are now pumping a large quantity of water. The total supply in twelve hours varies from 6,000,000 to 8,000,000 gallons, and is believed to be the largest quantity pumped from the chalk by any waterworks in England.

Mr. Morris was no experimenting engineer, but he introduced many improvements in the general design and details of the sixteen pumping engines employed in the Company’s works. He was the first to use the double-acting pump in combination with the single-acting Cornish engine for waterworks purposes, thereby avoiding the necessity of a standpipe. By the employment of surface condensers in combination with the engines, he was able, by passing the whole of the water pumped through the tubes of the condenser, to avoid the waste of the hot condensing water inseparable from the use of the injection condenser.

On the passing of the Metropolis Water Act of 1871, he at once recommended the Company to proceed with the introduction of the constant supply to the smaller class of houses in their district.

In 1868, he experienced a slight stroke of paralysis, and though he rallied sufficiently to attend to his business engagements, towards the latter end of 1873 he became worse, and was advised to leave the neighbourhood. This, however, he could not be prevailed upon to do, and on the 11th of January, 1874, he succumbed to a stroke of apoplexy.

The flourishing state of the Kent Waterworks, as compared with its position when he assumed the management, is the best poof of his ability. He was elected a Member of the Institution of Civil Engineers on the 1st of May, 185G, and was a Fellow of some other Societies.


1874 Obituary [2]



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