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William Cecil Easton

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William Cecil Easton (1871-1932)

1932 Obituary[1]


We regret to record that the death of Mr. William Cecil Easton, of Glasgow, occurred on the 16th ult., at the age of 61. Mr. Easton was responsible for very important engineering works in Glasgow and elsewhere, and was especially devoted to the subjects of water supply, sewerage, tunnelling, &c.

Born in India on October 21, 1871, his early education was obtained at the Larchfield Academy, Helensburgh, Blair Lodge, and Glasgow University. At the conclusion of his studies at the latter, where he took the degree of B.Sc., he served his pupilage under the late Mr. John Strain, entering upon this in 1891. In 1894 he worked as an assistant to Mr. Strain, but in the same year was appointed assistant under Mr. James Gale, and was engaged upon work connected with the duplication of the Loch Katrine Aqueduct for the Glasgow waterworks. Subsequently, under Mr. G. B. McDonald he was engaged on the preparation of plans for the Glasgow Main Drainage Works. When this important work came on in 1899, it was almost entirely carried through with Mr. Easton acting as resident engineer. The eastern section had been completed in 1894, hut the western and southern sections still remained to be taken in hand. They involved works costing more than 2,000,000/. In 1899, the western section was first undertaken. It involved the construction of more than 14 miles of main sewers, varying from 8 ft. 6 in. to 3 ft. 6 in., and averaging 6 ft., as well as precipitation tanks at Dalmuir, an aqueduct over the Kelvin at Partick, and 7 miles of low level sewer alongside the Clyde and mostly below high-water mark. The latter presented many interesting and unusual problems, and the work was done by direct labour without the intervention of contractors, and under the management of Mr. Easton, who in addition to his other duties as resident engineer supervised the contractors on other parts of the scheme.

On the completion of the western section, the southern was put in hand. This involved about the same length of main sewers, alteration to existing sewers, &c., purification works and pumping station, and so on. Interest was added to certain sections by encountering abandoned mine workings which raised a number of problems. Some of the more interesting points of this work were the methods adopted of tunnelling with only very little cover, under streets, in preference to trenching. The whole was described in a paper read by Mr. Easton before the Institution of Civil Engineers in 1912, which, like all Mr. Easton undertook was marked by strong personal traits. The paper, besides being descriptive, was additionally interesting on account of its discussion of the unusual problems which arose, of the relative advantages of contract and departmental work, and on the training of young men.

While this work was proceeding, Mr. Easton was permitted by the Glasgow Corporation to go to Romania, to advise on a large sewage scheme in contemplation. He later retired from Corporation service to engage in private practice, being retained, however, by the City as consulting engineer. In this capacity he was later connected with a scheme for improving the Glasgow subway. In his 'work since, he has been connected with many important undertakings, including the Coatbridge sewage scheme, now nearing completion.

In the war, Mr. Easton, as an old Volunteer and Territorial officer, went to France with the Royal Engineers and was responsible for large drainage and other works, holding the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel and being mentioned in despatches.

Of slight build, Mr. Easton was endowed with an uncommon degree of vivacity and energy, which served him in good stead in all he undertook. One of his most interesting characteristics was his keenness regarding the training of young engineers. He was most insistent that they should be brought up to help themselves. One of the earliest members of the Glasgow Association of Students of the Institution of Civil Engineers, he helped to frame its by-laws which make it, we believe, unique to this day among such bodies. The Association has to he run solely by students, though Associate members may join, but without votes. The chairman and hon. treasurer are also usually full members of standing, but elected without outside pressure, by the students themselves. Mr. Easton took great pride in having been chosen in 1929 for the post of chairman,' and the address which he delivered in this office contained much spirited encouragement to the students to live up to the privileges of their body, and to carry the loyalty thus engendered on to the main body of the Institution when they attained to riper years.

For his paper before the Institution of Civil Engineers he was awarded a Telford premium ; in 1927 he read a paper before the Institution of Engineers and Shipbuilders in Scotland, on “ City Local Passenger Transport,” and he also read papers in 1903 and 1911 before the Institution of Municipal and County Engineers. He became an associate member of the Institution of Civil Engineers in 1896, and a full member in 1904."

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