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British Industrial History

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William Henry Prescott

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Sir William Henry Prescott (1874-1946) R.E., C.B.E., M.P., M.Inst.C.E., M.I.Mech.E., Hon. M. Inst.M. & Cy.E.

1874 Born

Became a Barrister-at-Law (Gray's Inn).

Civil Engineer, Allington House, Tottenham, North Middlesex.

WWI With the British Expeditionary Force in command of the 222nd Field Company, Royal Engineers. Invalided home in January, 1917.

1919 Elected to Parliament as MP for North Tottenham.

Practised as Consulting Engineer.

1946 Obituary [1]

"Colonel Sir WILLIAM HENRY PRESCOTT, BART., C.B.E., D.L., was a prominent engineer and well known for his administrative work in connection with the Metropolitan Water Board, of which he was chairman from 1928 to 1940.

He was born in 1874 and educated at a Blackburn school and obtained his practical training at the Royal College of Science. Later he read for the Bar and was called by Gray's Inn in 1909. After serving his apprenticeship under the borough engineer of Grimsby he went to Darwen, Lancashire, as deputy borough and water engineer. Some three years later he received the appointment of borough engineer at Reigate and after holding this position for five years was appointed, in 1900, engineer and chief surveyor to the Corporation of Tottenham. He served with distinction during the war of 1914-18, raising and training the 33rd division of the Royal Engineers, and proceeding in command of the 222nd Field Company to France.

He was, however, invalided home in 1915. For his services he was made a C.B.E., and was awarded the King Albert Medal by the late King of the Belgians. From 1918 to 1922 he was Coalition Unionist M.P. for North Tottenham, and was knighted in the latter year. For some years Sir William represented the County of Middlesex on the Metropolitan Water Board. The many offices he filled included the chairmanship of the Lee Conservancy Board and membership of the Lee Valley Drainage Committee. He was a past-president of the British Waterworks Association and of the Institution of Sanitary Engineers.

In addition he served on Government Committees connected with water supplies and the co-ordination of transport. In 1930 he was High Sheriff of Middlesex and in 1938 held the same office for the counties of Cambridgeshire and Huntingdonshire. Sir William, who was created a baronet in 1938, had been a Member of the Institution since 1902. He was also a Member of the Institution of Civil Engineers. His death occurred at Godmanchester, Huntingdonshire, on 15th June 1945."

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