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Alexander William Conquest

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Alexander William Conquest (1848-1892) of the Metropolitan Board of Works and later Engineer to the Borough of Folkestone

1892 Obituary [1]

ALEXANDER WILLIAM CONQUEST, son of the late Mr. William Conquest, for many years Secretary to Sir Joseph Bazalgette at the Metropolitan Board of Works, was born on the 17th of September, 1848.

After being educated at a private school at Shoreham in Sussex, he was articled in 1864 to Edmund Cooper, then one of the Assistant Engineers under the Metropolitan Board of Works and was employed for about five years on the works of the Thames Embankment from Waterloo Bridge to Blackfriars, and on the Northern Low-level Sewer from Tower Hill through the City.

He was next engaged until 1874 under Thomas Lovick, then an Assistant Engineer to the Board, on the construction of the Western Pumping Station, and on the works of the Chelsea Embankment.

From December, 1874, to March, 1875, he acted temporarily as Surveyor to the Chelsea Vestry, and during that time designed and carried out some important lines of sewers in different parts of the parish. From May to October of the same year he performed the duties of Surveyor to the City of Norwich, during the absence, from ill health, of Mr. Christopher Thwaites. During that year, also under Sir Joseph Bazalgette, he took the levels and prepared the Parliamentary plans for the diversion of a portion of the West Kent main intercepting-sewer.

In November, 1875, Mr. Conquest was elected, out of one hundred and seventy-eight candidates, Engineer and Surveyor to the Borough of Ramsgate. During the time he held that office he constructed a sea-wall for the protection of the West Cliff, several carriage- and footway-pavements, and extensive drainage works; he also prepared plans for the interception of the sewage of Broadstairs, St. Peters, Ramsgate and St. Lawrence.

On leaving Ramsgate in 1880 to take up the post of Engineer to the Borough of Folkestone, Mr. Conquest was presented with a handsome clock by the employees of the Corporation, and with an address and a purse of fifty guineas by some of the inhabitants.

During his connection with Folkestone, which was destined to last for the remainder of his life, Mr. Conquest carried out many improvements, amongst which may be mentioned the laying out of Radnor Park, the paving with wood of the principal streets and the making of new main roads, the construction of a fish market, and the extension of the system of sewerage throughout the borough. He also designed and carried out several additions and alterations to the Town Hall. He was Superintendent of the Borough Fire Brigade, and during his term of office a new fire station was built, and improved means of communication were established between the headquarters and the firemen’s residences.

Mr. Conquest was very energetic and thorough in the discharge of his duties, and invariably insisted upon having all work with which he had to do carried out in the best possible manner. He enjoyed the entire confidence of the various public bodies by whom he had been employed.

Mr. Conquest died from blood-poisoning on the 5th of February, 1892. He had recently recovered from an attack of influenza, but went out too soon and caught a chill. On reaching home he placed his feet near the fire, causing a blister to form on one of the toes. Unfortunately, the dye from his sock entered the wound and caused blood-poisoning; mortification set in, and it was found necessary to amputate the leg below the knee, an operation which he survived only two days.

Mr. Conquest was elected an Associate Member of the Institution on the 4th of March, 1879.

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