William Allcard (1809-1861)
William Allcard was given the responsibility by Stephenson of designing the Sankey Viaduct and came up with a nine arch structure
1862 Obituary 
William Allcard a descendant of a family well known and esteemed in the Society of Friends, was born in London, on the 30th of June, 1809.
At an early age he was placed as a pupil under the late George Stephenson, at the Steam Engine Manufactory at Newcastle-upon-Tyne, which has since attained such a high reputation. He was there occupied in the Drawing Office, and occasionally assisted in levelling and surveying on the projected lines for the Leeds and Selby and the Newcastle and Carlisle Railways.
In the year 1826 he was transferred to Liverpool, and was placed in charge of the preliminary operations for draining and for forming the Liverpool and Manchester Railway across Chatmoss; and he then had intrusted to him a portion of the works in construction at the Bolton end of the Bolton and Leigh Railway.
Early in the year 1828 he was appointed the Resident Engineer, for the middle portion of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway, including the Sankey Viaduct, consisting of nine arches, each of 50 feet span and about 70 feet in height, and the Kenyon Cutting, containing about 400,000 cubic yards of excavation.
In the prosecution of these works he remained until the completion of the railway and its formal opening on the 15th of September, 1830, at which he assisted, and took charge of the 'Comet' locomotive engine, with one of the trains forming the procession from Liverpool to Manchester on that memorable and eventful day.
Although at that time he was only twenty-one years of age, yet the responsible positions in which he had been placed, in common with all the pupils of George Stephenson at that period, and the anxious and important duties which devolved upon him, had given him a bearing and a manner much above his years, and had called forth very early his great powers of self-reliance.
Soon after the railway was opened, Joseph Locke and Thos. L. Gooch having both left it for other works, the Directors made an arrangement by which the management of the line was divided equally between Mr. Allcard and John Dixon, who were retained as the Resident Engineers; the former taking charge of the Liverpool end. This important position he held for upwards of two years, during which time he commenced the works of a new tunnel, which was projected to convey passengers into the centre of the town of Liverpool, to what is now the Lime Street Station.
In the early part of 1834 he was appointed the Resident Engineer to the Birmingham end of the Grand Junction Railway, his district extending from Birmingham to Stafford, and he remained in charge of those works till their completion, and the opening of the entire line in July, 1837.
When the maintenance of this railway fell into the hands of the Company, the Directors sought to let it for a term of years, at a certain fixed rate per mile per annum. This contract was undertaken by Mr. Allcard, who was thus the first to engage in a mode of railway maintenance, afterwards followed by many other Companies. At a later period Mr. Allcard, jointly with John Allan, entered into a similar contract with the Lancaster and Preston Railway Company, and he was also the contractor for the permanent way of the Manchester and Sheffield Railway.
In 1841, when the late Mr. Locke (Past President) commenced the construction of the Paris and Rouen Railway, Mr. Allcard and Mr. Buddicom, with Mr. Brassey and the late William Mackenzie, contracted with that Company for the construction of their locomotives and rolling stock, and established the large and well-known engine-works at Rouen. With the increase of railways in France, this business became one of considerable importance, not merely for the construction of railway rolling stock, but also for contracting for locomotive power, and for working the trains at a fixed rate per mile. This system included the Paris and Rouen, the Rouen and Havre, the Dieppe, the Paris and Caen, and the Cherbourg Railways, and was continued from the respective openings of those railways, until the middle of the year 1861.
Although Mr. Allcard took no active part in the operations of the concern after 1847, yet he remained a partner until the period of his decease, which took place suddenly, on the 5th of August, 1861, at the age of fifty-two, and whilst he might still have looked forward to many years of active utility. He was much esteemed in a wide circle of friends, who had been connected with him for a long period, and by whom his decease is sincerely regretted.
He only joined the Institution as a Member in 1858, but during his residence each year in London, he took great interest in all the proceedings and in the general welfare of the Society.
Sources of Information
- Liverpool Mercury - Friday 17 October 1834
- Preston Chronicle - Saturday 18 October 1834
- 1862 Institution of Civil Engineers: Obituaries