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William Vawdrey

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William Vawdrey (1840-1895)

1895 Obituary [1]

WILLIAM VAWDREY, second son of the late Rev. A. A. Vawdrey, for many years Vicar of St. Agnes, Cornwall, was born at St. Day Vicarage on the 17th of April, 1840. When quite a youth he was sent as a student to Harvey and Company’s Foundry at Hayle, where he remained seven years.

He was then employed in erecting pumping- and winding-engines for Eustace and Son and other owners.

In 1865, after passing the requisite examination, he entered the Royal Navy, but soon afterwards retiring from the service he was appointed assistant engineer to the South Staffordshire Waterworks under J. R. McClean.

Two years later he assumed full charge of the works and remained with the company up to his death on the 2nd of January, 1895.

During these 30 years of service Mr. Vawdrey proved himself a most able and energetic promoter of the company’s welfare. At Lichfield he erected a 60-inch cylinder Cornish engine.

At Hednesford and Huntington, in the Cannock Chase District, he selected sites and sank two large wells, with extensive additional boreholes and heading, erecting there two 65-inch cylinder Cornish engines. At Woodgreen and Wednesbury he put up two 65-inch Cornish engines. At Fradley, near Lichfield, he sank a large well with a 12-inch borehole, and erected one horizontal compound engine made by Messrs. Hathorn, Davey and Company of Leeds.

At Shenstone, near Lichfield, another large well was sunk and a horizontal compound-engine erected. At Kingswinford near Stanbridge, two 24-inch boreholes were carried down to a depth of 280 feet, and an excellent supply of water was obtained at this station, at which one of Messrs. Hathorn, Davey and Co.’s compound- engines was erected. At Aldridge, near Walsall, a large well was sunk and a vertical compound-engine by Harvey and Co. erected.

All these works proved eminently successful and provided a magnificent supply of pure water. A large impounding reservoir was formed at Hanch, near Lichfield, and a service reservoir at Hednesford. At Burton-on-Trent and at Sedgley covered service reservoirs were constructed, the former with a capacity of 4,500,000 gallons. Another open service reservoir of about 4,000,000 gallons capacity was made at Rowley Regis.

Many miles of pumping- and distribution-mains were laid in connection with these additional works, which were all carried out from the plans and specifications of Mr. Vawdrey, who was scarcely ever absent except for a brief holiday in the autumn of each year. Such lives of devoted service deserve more than a passing notice, and those who knew Mr. Vawdrey best - his own workmen and clerks - bear ungrudging testimony to his urbanity, kindness of heart and strict integrity.

He was elected an Associate on the 6th of March, 1866, and was transferred to the class of Member on the 6th of January, 1874.

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