Grace's Guide To British Industrial History

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Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 147,919 pages of information and 233,587 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 147,919 pages of information and 233,587 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Thomas Dale

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1869. Pumps.

Thomas Dale (1819-1875) of Hull Waterworks

1875 Obituary [1]

MR. THOMAS DALE was the eldest son of the Rev. William Dale, of Davenham, Cheshire, where he was born on the 9th of September, 1819.

He was thoroughly educated by his father, especially in mathematics, as he was intended for a land surveyor. He had, however, a natural love of painting, and his youthful mind was bent on the study of the fine arts. With this main object in view, young Dale toiled incessantly; but finding his efforts too circumscribed in a country village, he urged his father to send him to London. This was, however, opposed, and he was compelled to abandon the idea.

He then accepted a situation in a merchant's office in Liverpool; but that occupation not being congenial, he decided upon becoming an engineer. After a preliminary apprenticeship, he, in 1845, was engaged on the Chester and Holyhead railway as contractor for tunnelling, sea-walling, iron and stone bridges, cofferdams, culverts, excavations, &c.; in 1849 as manager of extensive works of a similar character on the Manchestcr, Buxton, Matlock, and Midland Junction railway; and subsequently on the Liverpool waterworks as contractor for trench-work, paving, macadamising roads.

In 1852 he was appointed Assistant Engineer on the Londonderry and Coleraine railway, to carry out the necessary tunnelling, sea-walling, bridges, viaducts, culverts, excavations, &c., and in the same year he made a complete survey of the river Moane, from Londonderry to Omah, to ascertain the water power available for the erection of flax-mills.

Mr. Dale then turned his attention to Municipal engineering, and became successively Town Surveyor of Tunstall (1853), of Leek (1856), and of Wakefield (1861). In these positions his duties consisted in making plans for, and carrying out works for sewerage, water supply, construction of new streets and roads, &c.

While at Leek Mr. Dale made a trigonometrical survey of the town with a map to a scale of 1 inch to 88 feet. The Improvement Commissioners, highly satisfied with his execution of this work, presented him with an honorarium of two hundred guineas.

In 1861 he was appointed Surveyor and Waterworks Engineer to the Corporation of Hull, which post he held for thirteen years. During this period he remodelled and extended the existing works for the water supply of the town, and designed and constructed new works at Spring Head, under difficulties such as to test the capabilities of any engineer. For these services he received a vote of thanks and gratuity of three hundred pounds from the Hull Corporation.

In 1871 he was presented with a further honorarium of one hundred guineas by the corporation, and in succeeding years, until his connection with the corporation ceased, was engaged in additional extensions of the waterworks at an estimated cost of 230,000.

Mr. Dale took great interest in the question of the best means of supplying water to towns, and devoted much time and thought to a scheme for supplying the large industrial centre of the North with water from the lake districts of Cumberland and Westmoreland. Prominent amongst the towns were Liverpool, Bradford, and Leeds. This scheme was submitted to Parliament, plans were printed by the Government, and the evidence taken before the Royal Commissioners on Water Supply is recorded in their Report.

On leaving the municipal service Mr. Dale continued to reside at Hull, where he had acquired a considerable practice as a consulting engineer for waterworks, and in the short interval before his death was engaged by the corporations of Stafford and Walsall to oppose before a Parliamentary Committee Bills entitled 'Stafford and District Water Bill and South Stafford Water Bill,' when on the 18th of March, 1875, he was prostrated by an attack of heart disease, and died at the age of fifty-six.

Referring to Mr. Dale’s connection with the town of Hull, The Hull and Lincolnshire Times of March 20, 1875, said:- 'He had the courage, when he first took office in 1861, to pursue that line of action which his practical: engineering skill dictated to him, and from which his predecessors had shrunk, and the ‘British pluck,’ which was his motto, carried him on to ultimate success in securing for the town an ample supply of pure water. No doubt his sudden deposition from the too-elevated seat he occupied in the confidence of his employers wrought upon his fine and sensitive spirit, and so accelerated his end; for ever since that time he gradually waned in physical strength. At one period he was surrounded by flatterers, who fawned upon him, and he repaid them with favours and hospitality. All at once he was deserted and loaded with the deepest of undeserved censure, which unquestionably preyed upon his mind, until death came with friendly care and put a period to his mental grief.'

Mr. Dale was elected a Member of the Institution of Civil Engineers on the 2nd of February, 1865, and though seldom present at the Meetings, was active and energetic in furthering its interests in such ways as lay within his power.

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