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David Manuel

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David Manuel ( -1885)

1885 Obituary [1]

DAVID MANUEL was educated in Edinburgh, where he was well known and much esteemed. He studied engineering under the late Professor Fleeming Jenkin, M.Inst.C.E., at the Edinburgh University, and was for many years in the office of Messrs. J. & A. Leslie, during which time he had charge of various important works, including the relaying of the Hawick Waterworks, the building of the new iron bridge across the Whitadder near Berwick-on-Tweed, the introduction of the new drainage and water-supply at Lerwick, and the construction of a timber steamboat-pier at Easdale for the Earl of Breadalbane.

He left Edinburgh in September, 1873, to fulfil an engagement with Messrs. Glover and Co., railway-contractors, India, and was one of their agents in the construction of the railway from Agra to Jeypore until the end of 1876, when he received an appointment as assistant engineer on the East Indian Railway at Howrah, Bengal. Here he was engaged on several important works, amongst which may be named the reconstruction of the goods station at Howrah, including the erection of extensive grain storage, and of a viaduct for road-traffic over the Howrah station and goods-yard, which viaduct cost 525,000. It is 2,100 feet in length, the ironwork weighing upwards of 700 tons, measuring 1,300 feet, and each of the masonry approaches 400 feet.

In the beginning of 1882 Mr. Manuel was promoted to the grade of chief resident engineer at the Hooghly Bridge Works, Bengal. The bridge, which will be one of the finest in India, is the first fixed bridge erected across the Hooghly, and will complete the line of railway into Calcutta. Its construction is, like that of new Forth Bridge, on the cantilever principle. There are two side spans, each of 540 feet, and a central span of 120 feet, in three girders, the centre cantilever girder, 360 feet long, resting on a double pier sunk in the bed of the river; the two side girders are each 420 feet long. It is estimated to cost £355,000.

While residing at the Hooghly Bridge Works during the arduous and anxious labour of sinking the caissons of the central pier, and consequent exposure to the malarious influence of the climate, he was struck down by an attack of fever and dysentery, and was sent by his medical advisers on a voyage to Australia to recruit his health. But it was too late, the disease terminated in abscess of the liver, of which he died at Adelaide, South Australia, on the 7th of February, 1885 - thus adding another to the many Civil Engineers who have fallen as the result of devotion to duty, which impels them day after day to overtax their strength in an exhausting climate, until the frame has not the power to resist the malarious poison. In undertakings committed to his care Mr. Manuel discharged his duties with a skill and thoroughness which gave the utmost satisfaction to all concerned, and won for himself many warm friends.

Mr. Manuel was elected an Associate Member on the 4th of December, 1877.

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