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Lewis Holme Lewis

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Lewis Holme Lewis (1866-1955), chief engineer to the Manchester waterworks department

1931 Retirement [1]

The announcement is made that in August next Mr. L. Holme Lewis will retire from the position of chief engineer to the Manchester waterworks department. Arrangements have, however, been made whereby Mr. Lewis will continue to be responsible, until its completion, for the construction of the first section of the Hawes water undertaking.

Mr. Holme Lewis born in Carmarthen in 1866, and received his technical training privately and at the Chester School of Science. He served his apprenticeship at the works of the Hydraulic Engineering Company Ltd., of Chester, and in 1888 he was appointed engineer manager for the company in Liverpool.

In 1891 he was made the London manager of the company, a position which he hold until 1896, when he first entered the service of the Manchester Corporation as engineer and manager of the hydraulic power supply undertaking.

Ten years later he was given the entire charge of the whole of the engineering work of the waterworks department.

It was in 1920 that Mr. Lewis was appointed engineer for the construction of the fourth pipe line from Lake Thirlmere, while the following year he began the completion of the Heaton Park 660,000,000-gallon reservoir.

His appointment as the engineer-in-charge of the design and construction of the Haweswater scheme was made in 1925, and it is this scheme, involving an expenditure of over ten million pounds, which he will continue to supervise. The first part of the work consists in building a dam to raise the level of the lake 95ft., the tunnelling of the mountain which separates Haweswater from the Long Sleddale Valley, north of Kendal, and the continuance of the aqueduct until a junction is made with the Thirlmere aqueduct.

1955 Obituary [2]

WE record with regret the death of Mr. L. Holme Lewis, who was for many years the chief engineer and manager of Manchester Corporation Waterworks, and whose career is particularly associated with the Haweswater water supply scheme. Mr. Holme Lewis died on April 3rd; he was in his eighty-ninth year.

Lewis Holme Lewis was born in Carmarthenshire in 1866.

He was educated at Pencader Grammar School, and at Chester School of Science and Liverpool University. Then, he was articled for five years to the Hydraulic Engineering Company of Chester, after which he served as manager of the company's Liverpool branch, and from 1891 to 1895, of its London branch.

In 1895 he joined the Manchester Corporation as chief engineer and manager in charge of its hydraulic power supply. He was appointed chief engineer and manager of Manchester Corporation Waterworks ten years later, in 1905, and he continued to serve in that capacity until his retirement in 1931, after which he continued to be responsible for the construction of the first instalment of the Haweswater scheme, which was designed and constructed under his direction.

In 1929 construction of the Haweswater scheme was started; the works were to include the reservoir, and an aqueduct with one line of pipes to the Heaton Park reservoir in Manchester. However, the scheme was suspended in the financial crisis of 1931. It was then decided to restrict it by building only about 9 miles of aqueduct, to connect with the existing Thirlmere aqueduct; a new Act of Parliament was thus needed, and work was again started in 1934. The modified scheme was completed in 1941.

The Haweswater aqueduct itself was started after the war, and the first pipeline is only now approaching completion. The original scheme was of note because of the design of the Haweswater dam, which was the first buttress structure to be built in thlS country. The dam has a height of 120ft and consists of forty-four buttresses ; the reservoir has a capacity of 18,660 m.g.

Apart from his managing the affairs of the Manchester Waterworks, Mr. Holme Lewis directed the construction of works such as the 550 m.g. service reservoir at Heaton Park, and the completion of the Thirlmere aqueduct. Of this work, the Manchester Guardian wrote, at the time of his retirement in 1931: "It was originally intended that the Thirlmere aqueduct should consist of five pipelines, but when the construction of the fourth line was under consideration, Mr. Holme Lewis proved, after much careful research, that it would be more economical to lay a large pipe, 54in in diameter, which would be capable of conveying to Manchester the remainder of the total daily yield from Thirlmere. Nor was this all. Instead of continuing the pipe to Manchester, in accordance with the original intention, he merely took it to Lostock, where he erected a booster station, of his own design, by means of which the water delivered from the fourth pipe was conveyed under pressure to Manchester through the three existing pipes. In this way he effected a saving in capital expenditure amounting to about £500,000."

In 1926, Mr. Holme Lewis was elected president of the Institution of Water Engineers. It is worth recalling that in his presidential address he advocated the need for research in water engineering and suggested contributions by water authorities towards the cost of maintaining a branch of the Royal Scientific and Industrial Research Department, as it then was, devoted to water supply problems. He also emphasised the responsibility of the water engineer in avoiding expenditure on new schemes in advance of actual requirements. He was a member of the Institutions of Civil and Mechanical Engineers, and a member of the executive committee of the British Waterworks Association. He also served on governmental committees on water supplies and river pollution.

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