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Edward Pritchard

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Edward Pritchard (1838-1900)

Associate of The Institution of Civil Engineers and hon. secretary for the Midlands Warwick branch of The Association of Municipal and Sanitary Engineers and Surveyors. [1]


1900 Obituary [2]

EDWARD PRITCHARD was born at Wrexham on the 13th September, 1838.

His early professional life was spent in survey and railway work in this country and in Australia.

In 1865 he became Borough Surveyor of Clitheroe, and held that post until June, 1870, when he was appointed Borough Surveyor to the Corporation of Warwick. There he induced the Corporation to adopt his scheme for a sewage farm, and at the same time a joint Drainage Committee for the districts draining into the River Tame as formed. He also took in hand the provision of a water-supply for Warwick, and his scheme, by which the water was brought by gravitation from Haseley Brook, near Haseley Mill, was successfully carried out. The Warwick and Leamington Tramway was also laid down by Mr. Pritchard.

At Clitheroe and at Leigh, he had organised volunteer fire brigades, of which he acted as captain.

Soon after he took up his residence at Warwick he became lieutenant of the Volunteer Fire Brigade there, and in that capacity was present at the great fire at Warwick Castle in December, 1871.

In 1876 Mr. Pritchard resigned his appointment at Warwick and commenced independent practice, with offices in Birmingham and in London. Over a hundred towns in Great Britain have been provided by him with waterworks, sewerage or tramways. The Wolverhampton Corporation was one of the many public bodies which sought his assistance in the matter of sewage disposal.

In August 1888, he went to South Africa, to report for the municipality of Cape Town, on the best means of sewering the district and disposing of its sewage. This led to his being retained by the municipalities of Woodstock, Claremont and Wynberg, important districts closely adjoining Cape Town. While waiting for surveys to be completed at Cape Town he visited the diamond fields of Kimberley, and the goldfields of the Transvaal. At Kimberley he was able to give some important advice to the authorities on the question of sewage disposal, and at Johannesburg, then just rising in to importance, he received instructions to prepare a scheme which should supply water for gold-washing at the mines, as well as for domestic purposes in the town. The waterworks which supply the town of Pretoria were designed by him, and the fittings were sent from this country under his supervision.

A water company at Klerksdorp also carried out under his advice a scheme for supplying the town from a point in the Vaal River, 8 miles distant. As a tramway engineer, Mr. Pritchard was associated with many notable undertakings. One of the earliest of those enterprises was that at Magdeburg.

In 1886, when he was acting as Engineer to the then Birmingham Central Tramways Company, he took part, with Mr. Joseph Kincaid, in designing and carrying out the cable tramway. He prepared himself for the work by making exhaustive enquiries in the United States into the various systems of working cable tramways there, and came back thoroughly convinced that this was the most economical form of street locomotion which had then been put into practice. He recommended its adoption both on the Handsworth route and on the Bristol Road, the control of these routes having just been taken over by the Central Company from the old Birmingham Tramway and Omnibus Company. The Handsworth line was reconstructed on the cable system, and it is largely due to the care and skill exercised by Mr. Pritchard that the work was carried out in such a way that the Handsworth tramway service is still the most efficient and profitable in the city and neighbourhood.

Among other tramway systems carried out by Mr. Pritchard are those at Leamington and Warwick, Barrow, Dudley and Stourbridge.

Some years back, Mr. Pritchard was engaged in the development of gold mines in Silesia under the Austro-Hungarian Government. In 1896 he was retained by a syndicate for exploitation of the then newly-opened goldfields of British Columbia. He spent some time there prospecting on behalf of the company, and took advantage of his visit to make some observations on the tramways of the Canadian cities.

Mr. Pritchard was a Member of the Incorporated Association of Municipal and County Engineers, of which body he acted as President in 1879-80; he was a Fellow of the Geological Society, a Member of the Royal Meteorological Society, a Member of Council of the Sanitary Institute of Great Britain, and a Member of the North of England Institute of Mining and Mechanical Engineers. He was also a prominent Freemason.

Mr. Pritchard was married to a daughter of the late Lieutenant-Colonel John Stenson, of the 1st Dragoon Guards, who survives him.

He died at his residence, Park Mount, Selly Oak, Birmingham, on the 11th May, 1900.

Mr. Pritchard was elected a Member of the Institution on the 6th May, 1884.


1900 Obituary [3]



See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. The Engineer 1875/04/30
  2. 1900 Institution of Civil Engineers: Obituaries
  3. Engineering 1900 Jan-Jun: Index: General Index