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Charles Scott Meik

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Charles Meik (1853-1923) of Thomas Meik and Sons was an English engineer

His father Thomas Meik was also an engineer, as was Charles' brother Patrick Meik; collectively, they established a company which is now one of the UK's major engineering consultancies.

Both boys were born in Crow Tree Road, Bishopwearmouth.

Charles was apprenticed to Thomas Bouch, then an engineer of some repute. However, Bouch's career was finished by the Tay Bridge disaster on 28 December 1879 in east Scotland when the 13 high girders forming the central part of the bridge crashed into the river carrying a train and 75 men, women and children with it.

c.1880 Partner in Thomas Meik and Sons

Rather than stay in Britain, Charles Meik went to Japan and worked as a port designer for the Japanese government, returning to work in London with his brother Patrick in 1894.

After Thomas Meik retired in 1888, his firm (renamed Thomas Meik and Sons) had passed into the hands of his sons

1896 The brothers went into partnership as P. W. Meik and C. S. Meik.

Charles then assisted Patrick on the firm's first venture into Wales, a massive commission to construct docks and a railway at Port Talbot, followed by an equally ambitious scheme to expand the port of Seaham, officially opened in 1905. The Meiks' expertise saw port and railway designs developed in many parts of the British Empire, including Christmas Island, India, Burma and Mozambique.

1908 Presented a paper on the use of reinforced concrete in engineering structures, particularly relating to the work done at Swansea docks and Purfleet[1]

The firm was commissioned to design the Kinlochleven Hydro-electric Scheme in the Scottish Highlands. This was a huge undertaking at the time and it was to lead to an even greater hydroelectric project, the Lochaber Water Power Scheme.

Post WWI: George Buchanan (1865-1940) entered into partnership with C. S. Meik as C S Meik and Buchanan, consulting engineers.

Meik died before construction started, leaving the project's completion in the hands of William Thomson Halcrow (the firm's name was later changed to C. S. Meik and Halcrow, and today continues to trade as the Halcrow Group).


1923 Obituary [2]

CHARLES SCOTT MEIK was born in 1853, and. began his professional life in 1870 as an apprentice for three years with Messrs. Hawthorne and Co., Leith, which was followed by two years' experience in the Elswick Engine Works of Sir W. G. Armstrong and Co.

From 1875 to 1878 he was employed under the late Mr. J. Fox Sharpe, Borough Engineer of Hull, in riverside improvements, etc., and for the next three years he acted as assistant to the late Sir Thomas Bouch, being engaged upon Parliamentary surveys.

In 1881 he entered the office of Thomas Meik and Sons, as chief assistant, and in the following year was taken into partnership by that firm.

During the next few years he was engaged on the design and construction of various dock and harbour works until 1887, when he retired from the firm to take up the position of Chief Engineer of Harbours and Rivers to the Government of Japan.

Three years later he returned to England and assisted his brother, the late Mr. P. W. Meik, with the preparation of reports upon and designs for harbour and dock works in this country and abroad, and joined him in partnership in 1894, the more important works carried out by them being the Port Talbot Railways and Docks, Seaham Harbour, King's Dock, Swansea, and the Kinlochleven Water Power Works.

Mr. Meik was appointed by the Water Power Resources Committee of the Board of Trade, to report upon water-power developments in the West of Scotland, and he was deputed by the Irish Sub-Committee to examine proposals as to certain Irish Water Power developments. He advised the Dundee Corporation in connexion with the Tummel hydro-electric proposals, and reported upon large projects in Gwalior State, Greece, Portugal, and Spain, and was keenly interested in the Severn Water Power Scheme.

With regard to ferro-concrete, he took a great part in recognizing its advantages, two early examples of pier work carried out by him nearly twenty years ago being Purfleet and Pozzuoli Piers.

Mr. Meik rendered great service to the Profession in connexion with the preparation and revision of British Engineering Standards specifications, including that for Portland Cement, also on the Sub-Committee of the Institution of Civil Engineers dealing with the Deterioration of Structures exposed to sea action. His advice was also sought by many Harbour Authorities at home and abroad.

His death took place in London on 5th July 1923, at the age of seventy.

He became a Member of this Institution in 1881; he was also a Member of the Institution of Civil Engineers.


See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. The Times, Jul 01, 1908
  2. 1923 Institution of Mechanical Engineers: Obituaries