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Francis John Charles May

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Francis John Charles May (1839-1906)

1907 Obituary [1]

FRANCIS JOHN CHARLES MAY, late Borough Engineer and Surveyor of Brighton, died at his residence at Hampstead on the 7th July, 1906, aged 67.

Descended from an old Kentish family, the subject of this notice was born on the 2nd July, 1839, and received his education at a private classical school at Islington.

On leaving school, he was articled to a relative, the late Mr. Richard Alchin, of the firm of Messrs. Cubitt and Company under whom he obtained a sound experience of architectural engineering and building work.

In 1872 he was appointed Surveyor to the Town Malling Highway Board, and subsequently Engineer and Surveyor to the West Malling Rural Sanitary Authority. While holding these appointments he had charge of upwards of 300 miles of roads, including some of the most important in the county of Kent, and the skill and practical ability which he brought to this work gained him a wide reputation for successful and economical road-making. He also carried out extensive schemes of sewerage, drainage and water-supply.

In 1882 he was appointed Borough Surveyor of Maidstone, and during his occupancy of this position he was responsible for extensive street and sanitary improvements, and also designed and carried out a scheme for the treatment of the town sewage by pressing, the effluent being discharged into the Medway.

In 1889 Mr. May was selected for the appointment of Borough Engineer and Surveyor of Brighton, a position which he retained for 15 years, retiring in 1904. His tenure of this office covered a period of considerable activity on the part of the Brighton Corporation, many important undertakings entailing a large expenditure being carried out, for all of which Mr. May was responsible. These included the construction of concrete groynes and sea-walls, extensions of the Madeira Drive and Madeira Road Terrace, the building of a large abattoir, refuse destructor, market-hall, hospital and sanatorium, baths, a public library and technical school, the reconstruction of the Town Hall, laying out a park and recreation ground, extensive street and sanitary improvements and many other important works.

In addition to the sufficiently onerous duties of his office, Mr. May also voluntarily undertook from time to time work of a special nature for which the services of an expert:adviser are usually retained.

Mr. May was a Fellow of the Surveyors’ Institution and a Member of the Incorporated Association of Municipal and County Engineers. Of the latter body he was President in 1896, and he made many valuable contributions to its proceedings.

He was elected an Associate Member of The Institution on the 7th December, 1886, and was transferred to the class of Members on the 6th March, 1894.

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