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John Newton (1829-1896)

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John Newton (1829-1896)

1897 Obituary [1]

JOHN NEWTON, born on the 14th June, 1829, belonged to an old Cheshire family, for more than two centuries settled at High Legh.

He received his early education at the Lymm Grammar School, where he displayed a marked talent for mathematics. Choosing for himself the profession of engineering, he was articled to the late Mr. C. E. Cawley, for nine years M.P. for Salford, with whom he remained for a time after his pupilage had expired.

While with Mr. Cawley he was occupied on the surveys and construction of the Manchester, Bury and Rossendale Railway (now part of the Lancashire and Yorkshire system) and of waterworks for Burnley, Heywood and other places.

In 1853 he was engaged by Mr. (now Sir Robert) Rawlinson to take charge of the drainage and water-supply works at Morpeth, Northumberland, and in the following year he was appointed Water Engineer of Swansea.

In 1856 he became Borough Surveyor of Preston, where he remained until 1866, when he returned to Manchester to join his former master, Mr. Cawley, in partnership under the style of Cawley and Newton, with offices a t Carlton Buildings, Manchester, and Whitehall, London.

For a short period Mr. J. M. Smith, a nephew of Mr. Cawley, was also a member of the firm. Mr. Cawley died in 1877, and Mr. Smith retired shortly after from ill health.

In 1881 Mr. Newton was joined by the late Mr. Robert Vawser who, however, retired in 1883 and was succeeded by Mr. C. E. Newton. For the past thirteen years the firm has been known under the name of John Newton and Son.

The field covered by Mr. Newton’s work was a wide one. As a hydraulic engineer he had an extensive practice and was responsible for the design and construction of water, sewerage and drainage works for many towns, not only in England but in Ireland, among which may be mentioned Altrincham, Bowdon, Chorley, Dartmouth, Dundalk, Paignton and Preston. He was also professionally engaged in engineering questions affecting many towns in the north of England. AS a witness before Parliamentary Committees he was well known, his acuteness and logical reasoning rendering him a valuable supporter or a formidable opponent.

During the busiest part of his life he was actively engaged in farming at High Legh and at Altrincham. The latter farm he had in 1869 laid out to receive the sewage of Altrincham, and the result of his experience made him a strong advocate for the land treatment of sewage where practicable. The Altrincham farm, though not widely known, has been for twenty-eight years one of the most successful and economical examples of sewage treatment in the north of England.

In 1887 Mr. Newton was appointed an arbitrator to the Board of Trade, and during the last few years he was largely engaged in the capacity of umpire in disputed cases. He died at his residence, Barrington House, Altrincham, on the 12th December, 1896, after a short illness from pneumonia. Mr. Newton took great interest in all local affairs and served as Chairman of the Altrincham District Council in 1896. To his work he brought tenacity of purpose, strong judgment and moral courage.

He was connected with the Institution for nearly forty years, having been elected an Associate on the 3rd February, 1857, and transferred to the class of Member on the 31st March, 1868.

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