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British Industrial History

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William Charles Cloete Hawtayne

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William Charles Cloete Hawtayne (c1861-1947)


1947 Obituary [1]

WILLIAM CHARLES CLOETE HAWTAYNE died on the 4th July, 1947, at the age of 86. His first three years in the profession were spent in the telephone service as engineer to the United Telephone Co., and in 1886 he became District Manager to the Northern District Telephone Co. in Durham. His interests were then diverted to the public supply of energy, and in 1887 he became Mains Engineer to the London Electric Supply Corporation, where the first foundations were laid of his later work. In 1890, for Col. Crompton, he erected and ran the first town lighting plant for Chelmsford. The next year he joined the Brush Co. and prepared plans for the network of the City of London Electric Lighting Co. He began to practise independently as a consultant, with the Otis Lift Co. as his client, in 1893. This connection bore fruit, and in the years prior to the First World War many hundreds of lifts had been installed under his direction. It was in the power supply industry that he was best known. Many of the first power stations in this country were designed by him, notable examples being those at Barking, Colchester, Dartford, Erith, Eastbourne, Harrow and Perth. He also advised many other municipal supply authorities throughout his life, for he kept well abreast of modern developments. High-class installation work was his metier, and many hospitals, churches (among them a cathedral), theatres and numerous country houses and blocks of offices were equipped by him. Even now, work that is 40 years old is still recognizable as his by its high quality.

He had great personal dignity and character. He was a lover of the sea, of the arts and of life. His eyes twinkled with fun in spite of grievous personal sorrows. Many children and others who received his gifts and friendship will remember him. He set the highest standards in life, work and courtesy to his friends in the engineering world. "Whatever he took in hand, he remembered the end, and he never did amiss."

He joined The Institution as an Associate in 1885 and was elected a Member in 1898.


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