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British Industrial History

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John Hanvey

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John Hanvey (1824-1879)

1880 Obituary [1]

MR. JOHN HANVEY, a native of Dublin, was an Irishman in the best sense of the mrd, possessed of shrewdness of character combined with urbanity of temperament and disposition. From his earliest years he showed an aptitude for scientific and mechanical pursuits, and became a proficient in mathematics at one of the best private schools in Dublin.

When almost a boy he obtained employment on railways in Ireland under Mr. W. McCormick, and often encountered strange adventures in the pursuit of his calling as Manager of Works.

He afterwards served on the Liverpool and Bury railway, and as Manager of Works to Messrs. Williams, Ackroyd and Co.

He spent some time at Penrith in Cumberland, and for several years was engaged on the Birkenhead Dock Extension Works.

From thence he went to Gloucester as the City Surveyor, where he formed a reservoir embankment outside the city boundary; and in 1861 he was elected, out of sixty candidates, Borough Surveyor of Dover. Here his labours were many and varied; the construction of an additional reservoir at the waterworks, the improvement of the borough prison, the original East Cliff revetment, the extension of the main drainage, and the laying out of the Maison Dieu estate came under his direction. He designed and carried out a scheme for separating the upper and lower services of supply from the waterworks, and inaugurated a system of water inspection that effected considerable economy. Later he designed and executed a comprehensive scheme for separating the surface water from the sewers, and shortly before his death completed the East Cliff sea-defences.

Mr. Hanvey was one of the earliest advocates of the Rifle Volunteer movement, and for many years was connected with the Dover corps, from which he ultimately retired with the rank of captain.

Mr. Ranvey was elected an Associate of the Institution of Civil Engineers on the 3rd of December, 1850, and during the discussion of a Paper on “The Brighton Intercepting and Outfall Sewers," by Mr. Gamble in December 1875, gave some interesting particulars relating to the water supply and sewerage of Dover.

He died suddenly of apoplexy on the 5th of November, 1879, aged fifty-five years.

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