Henry James Walton Neville (1822-1874)
MR. HENRY JAMES WALTON NEVILLE, youngest son of the late Captain James Neville, R.N., was born on the 2nd of March, 1822, at Tamerton Foliot, near Plymouth.
He received an ordinary education at day schools, in 1834 passing some time in Paris. From thence he went to school in Jersey, leaving when he was sixteen to take lessons in mathematics, land-surveying, and architectural drawing.
Showing taste in the latter direction, his father obtained his entrance, without premium, into the office of the late Mr. James Walker, Past-President Inst. C.E., who was a personal friend of Captain Neville, and to whom Mrs. Neville’s family had rendered service in early life. Mr. Walker recognised these past favours by employing young Neville, and this was the beginning of a professional connection that only closed with Mr. Walker’s life.
Remaining in Mr. Walker’s office for three years, Mr. Neville - after an engagement with Mr. J. E. Jones, who shortly abandoned civil engineering for sculpture - entered the employment of the late Mr. H. R. Palmer, Vice-President Inst.C.E., under whom he was employed in deepening and improving the harbour at Neath, South Wales, and in making a perspective view of an iron bridge designed by Mr. Palmer, the drawings for which he also prepared.
On Mr. Palmer’s death, in 1843, Mr. Neville returned to Messrs. Walker and Burges, and was employed by them on various surveys.
In 1848 he was intrusted with the charge of the harbour works at St. Catherine’s Bay, Jersey. When one arm of the breakwater was nearly finished, the Admiralty declined to proceed with the other part as designed; and Mr. Neville was, in 1855, recalled to Mr. Walker’s office. This he much regretted, as he considered the part of the harbour that had been completed was a masterpiece of marine engineering.
In 1856 Mr. Neville became Superintendent Engineer of Plymouth Breakwater, and continued so until that great work was deemed complete.
In May 1865 Mr. Neville was appointed by the Admiralty Director of Works to take charge of the construction of the Gillingham Public Wharf, Chatham; but this not being then proceeded with, Mr. Neville was in the following month sent to Deal to remedy the defective drainage of the Marine Barracks, supply them with water, and at the same time to alter the mess-room and build a new drill-shed and school-rooms.
This work being successfully accomplished, in September 1865 Mr. Neville proceeded to Chatham to resume operations on the Gillingham Wharf, which was constructed from his own drawings, and under his immediate superintendence.
Afterwards he was appointed Superintendent Engineer of contract work of the docks at St. Mary’s Island, under Colonel Pasley, Assoc. Inst. C.E.; and he remained on these works until the 24th of December, 1871, when the Director of Works appointed him Superintendent Engineer of Admiralty works in Ireland, and of the Haulbowline Dockyard Extension at Cork.
He died on the 28th of January, 1874.
Mr. Neville was elected a Member of the Institution of Civil Engineers on the 24th of Nay, 1864.