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Alfred Williams (1821-1901)

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Alfred Williams (1821-1901) M. Inst C. E., F.G.S.. of Alfred Williams and Son.[1]

1821 Born in Abergavenny

Pupil under Mr Morris at Newport, Mon.[2]

Worked on design of drainage schemes and later surveyed railways

1847 Associate member of Inst Civil Engineers[3]

1861 Alfred Williams 39, civil engineer and surveyor, lived in Newport, with Anna Matilda Williams 27, Elizabeth Rosa Williams 7, Kate Emily Williams 7, Anna Florence Williams 6, Mary Isabel Williams 4, Alfred Clarke Williams 3, Eva Nora Williams 9 months, Gilbert Percy Williams 9 months[4]

1864 Member of Inst Civil Engineers, of 18 Great George Street, S W

1881 Alfred Williams 59, civil engineer, lived in Brixton with Anna M. Williams 48, Elizabeth R. (Twin) Williams 27, Kate E. (Twin) Williams 27, Anna F. Williams 26, Mary J. Williams 24, Alfred C. Williams 23, Gilbert P. Williams 20, Henry A. Williams 18[5]

1891 Alfred Williams 69, civil engineer, lived in Brixton with Anna M Williams 58 Mary Williams 34, Gilbert P Williams 30, civil engineer, Associate Inst Civil Engineers, Henry A Williams 28[6]

1896 of 18 Great George Street, S W

1901 Died aged 79, 14 Victoria Street, Westminster.[7]


1902 Obituary [8]

ALFRED WILLIAMS was born in Monmouthshire on the 12th November, 1821. He was first an articled pupil, in 1837, and subsequently for some years principal assistant to Mr. Thomas Morris, of Newport, Mon., under whom he was engaged principally on parliamentary surveys and levels, first-class tithe commutation surveys, and colliery matters.

Between 1844 and 1847 he was occupied on railway-survey work for Mr. Brunel, first in the North of England and subsequently in Devon and Cornwall.

From 1848 to 1850 he was employed in constructing a portion of the Taff Vale Railway and in making for the General Board of Health a full trigonometrical survey of the Borough of Newport, Monmouthshire.

In 1850 Mr. Williams was appointed Engineer and Surveyor to the Local Board of Health of Newport, Monmouthshire, and filled that post for nine years, during which time he designed and carried out the Borough Main Drainage and Sewerage Works, a description of which he presented to the Institution in 1863. He was also engaged in designing and opposing railway schemes and on many important works for that growing town.

At the same time he was extending his private practice and undertook many important surveys, valuations and parliamentary work for various railways in Monmouthshire and Glamorganshire, railway work for the late Sir Charles Hutton Gregory, Past-President, and the Rhondda Branches of the Taff Vale Railway.

Mr. Williams was engaged in connection with the water-supply of Neath and Pontypridd, the River Dee Foreshore enquiry, the sewerage of Bromley, Penge and Bell Green, Beckenham and Penge, Orpington, Chislehurst and Cray Valley, Roxeth and Sudbury, Belgrade and Nice, the tramway system of West and South London and of Southampton, Gorsedda Railway, and the London, Beaconsfield and High Wycombe (Great Western) Railway and other works.

He also promoted and opposed a large number of Bills in Parliament for various engineering schemes, and was able to pride himself on the fact that not a single undertaking for which he prepared the parliamentary deposits was rejected on account of errors or defects in the plans or sections. His experience in all matters relating to parliamentary plans and sections was very extensive, and many cases of disputed levels, etc., were referred to him by the Examiners of Standing Orders, with the concurrence of the Parliamentary Agents.

In conjunction with the late Sir Joseph Bazalgette, Past-President, Mr. Alfred Williams designed and carried out one of the most important sewerage works in the South of England - the system known as the West Kent Main Sewers. The first Act of Parliament was obtained in 1875, and was followed by further Acts in 1877 and 1879, and by subsequent Provisional Orders, extending still more widely the benefits of the system. The main sewer, with a tunnel miles long, at a great depth, was carried from the County boundary of London through the populous towns of Beckenham, Bromley, Chislehurst, Sidcup and Dartford to large outfall tanks on the banks of the Thames, near Long Reach.

Subsidiary main sewers, known as the Ravensbourne sewer, the Chislehurst, the Cray Valley, the Darenth Valley main sewer and the Dartford sewer, bring in the drainage of large districts, comprising in all about 120 square miles. The cost of the sewer, which was about 5330,000, has been repaid not only by the incalculable benefit to public health, but also by an enormous increase in the value of property throughout the area drained. The present dry weather flow is about 55 million gallons a day.

Until the day of his death Mr. Williams remained Engineer to the West Kent Main Sewerage Board, by which body his services were recently warmly acknowledged. He was also Engineer to the Bromley Rural District Council, and advised other Authorities in the Board’s area.

Mr. Williams died in London on the 8th September, 1901. He was one of the senior members of the Institution, having been elected an Associate on the 29th June, 1847, and transferred to the class of Members on the 19th January, 1864. He was also for many years a Fellow of the Geological Society and of the Kent Archaeological Society.



See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. The Engineer 1901/09/13, p275.
  2. Civil Engineer records
  3. Civil engineer lists
  4. 1861 census
  5. 1881 census
  6. 1891 census
  7. The Engineer 1901/09/13, p275.
  8. 1902 Institution of Civil Engineers: Obituaries