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 149,655 pages of information and 235,472 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.

William Morris (1836-1886)

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William Morris (1836-1886)

1887 Obituary [1]

WILLIAM MORRIS, third son of the late John Morris, of Poplar, architect and surveyor, was born at Blackwall on the 24th May 1836, and was educated at schools in that district and in Cambridge, finally studying for three years at King's College, London.

He was then articled for five years to Mr. John Seaward, M. Inst. C.E., mechanical engineer, two of which he spent in the workshops, and the remaining three years as a leading draughtsman, Mr. Seaward at that time employing no fewer than one thousand men.

In 1861 Mr. Morris received an appointment under Mr. George Wilson, M. Inst. C.E., of Parliament Street, for whom he surveyed several important Welsh railways.

In 1863 he was manager to Mr. Benjamin Piercy, M. Inst. C.E., who was then engaged on numerous works, both at home and abroad; amongst these may be mentioned a railway through the island of Sardinia for the Italian Government, the survey and setting-out of which were undertaken by Mr. Morris.

On leaving Mr. B. Piercy, Mr. Morris entered the service of the East London Waterworks Company, under the late Mr. Greaves, M. Inst. C.E. While connected with this Company he gained considerable experience in this branch of the profession, and by his steady and continuous labour won the confidence of all with whom he came into contact.

In 1869 he was engaged by the Imperial Gas Company at Haggerston, and about this time he also received the appointment of Engineer to the Native Guano Company to test at their works at Crossness the system of sewage-utilization which they desired to recommend to the Metropolitan Board of Works.

In 1873, on behalf of Mr. W. R. Kinipple, M. Inst. C.E., he visited Newfoundland to make the preliminary surveys, and to obtain information in order to report on the proposed addition to St. John's waterworks (subsequently carried out by the firm); and in the same year he also visited Quebec for a similar purpose in connection with the proposed harbour improvements.

In 1874 he joined Mr. Kinipple in partnership, and that subsisted until his death. The firm of Kinipple and Morris was engaged upon a number of coIonial undertakings, in connection with which Mr. Morris was frequently abroad; thus in 1875, and every succeeding year, with one exception, down till 1883, he visited Quebec to make surveys and superintend during progress the harbour improvements for which the firm were engineers. These improvements comprised the Louise embankment, the new wetdock, and the new graving-dock at Point Levis.

The firm acted as chief and consulting engineers to the Quebec Harbour Commissioners from the commencement of the harbour improvement works in 1877 until the year 1883, and from 1888 to 1886 as consulting engineers only.

In 1874 Mr. Morris visited Victoria, British Columbia, to examine and report upon the graving-dock and other works at Esquimalt, proposed to be constructed at the joint expense of the Imperial, the Dominion, and the British Columbian Governments. Contract drawings and specifications for the works were subsequently prepared by the firm, and the works were carried on under their superintendence, and are now nearly completed.

In 1877 the firm were requested to report on the site of the graving-dock at Halifax, N.S., when Mr. Morris visited that city, and obtained the necessary financial and engineering information for the scheme.

In 1880 he directed the survey of a line of railway for the Government of Newfoundland, through a difficult and rugged country, from the city of St. John to Rarbour Grace, a distance of about 100 miles. A considerable portion of the country traversed by the projected line had previously been unexplored. Contract-drawings and specifications for the construction of the works were subsequently prepared.

In addition to these works, the firm was engaged upon many undertakings at home, amongst which may be mentioned the construction of a graving-dock at Blackwall for Messrs. R. and H. Green, the Mynydd Mawr Railway, South Wales, a sugar refinery at Silvertown for Messrs. Lyle, &c.

Mr. Morris was the patentee of several engineering inventions, the last of which came prominently before the public two years ago, in connection with the River Thames communication.

He was elected an Associate of the Institution on the 7th of May, 1872, and became a Member on the 15th of January, 1878. He was a man of remarkable energy, a good mathematician, and was ever ready to help those who asked his advice either professionally or privately. His keen intellect was incessantly on the alert, even indeed during the last days of the long illness which terminated fatally on the 22nd of September 1886, when in his fiftieth year.

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