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Patrick Meik

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Patrick Walker Meik (1851-1910), an English engineer and part of a minor engineering dynasty.

His father Thomas Meik was also an engineer, as was Patrick's brother Charles Scott Meik.

Both boys were born in Crowtree Road, Bishopwearmouth, Sunderland.

Patrick went to work for his father and worked on Meik's harbours at Burntisland and Bo'ness on the river Forth in Scotland.

1875 After W. D. Nisbet left the partnership with Thomas Meik, Mr. Meik took into partnership his son, Patrick

The firm was later reconstituted as Thomas Meik and Sons,

1882 Patrick was asked by Benjamin Baker to be resident engineer (1882-1885) on the foundations and piers of the Forth Bridge (designed by Baker and Sir John Fowler). After this project, he moved to London to set up his own engineering practice.

In 1894, he was joined by his brother Charles and together they worked on a major commission to construct docks and a railway at Port Talbot, followed by an equally ambitious scheme to expand the port of Seaham, officially opened in 1905.

The Meiks' expertise saw port and railway designs developed in many parts of the British Empire, including Christmas Island, India, Burma (the Rangoon River training works - where Patrick worked with Sir George Buchanan) and Mozambique.

In the 1900s, their firm was commissioned to design the Kinlochleven hydroelectric scheme in the Scottish Highlands. William Thomson Halcrow joined the company and took up the position of assistant resident engineer at the Kinlochleven project. The Meik brothers' engineering practice was later renamed C. S. Meik and Halcrow and today remains one of the world's foremost engineering consultancies, the Halcrow Group.

Patrick Meik died in 1910, mourned as "an able and accomplished engineer: whose "kindness of heart and social qualities endeared him to a large circle of friends".


1911 Obituary [1]

PATRICK WALTER MEIK was born at Sunderland in 1851, and died at 22, Ryder Street, St. James’s, on the 12th July, 1910. He was educated at King’s College School, London, and at Edinburgh University, where he studied under Professors Fleeming-Jenkin and Tait, afterwards serving 3 years as pupil with his father, the late Mr. Thomas Meik, M. Inst. C.E., at that time Engineer to the River Wear Commissioners.

At the expiration of his pupilnge he, in 1871, entered the service of Messrs. John Aird and Sons, and was employed on various works which they were carrying out at the time, including the East London Waterworks at Sunbury and the Imperial Gasworks at Bromley. He next, for 2 years, acted as Resident Engineer on the West Dock at Burntisland, for which his father and the late Sir Thomas Bouch were the Engineers.

In 1875 he entered into partnership with his father, the firm practising in Edinburgh as Civil and Consulting Engineers until 1909 under the name of Thomas Meik and Sons. For the last 20 years he had as partner with him in the Edinburgh business, Mr. M. A. Pollard-Urquhart, M. Inst. C.E.

The work carried out by Mr. Meik’s Edinburgh firm in Scotland and the North of England comprised: Two wet docks at Burntisland for the Burntisland Harbour Commissioners, a harbour and wet dock at Bo’ness, Firth of Forth (described by him in a Paper for which he was awarded a Telford premium), a wet dock at Silloth for the North British Railway, a wet dock and quays at Ayr for the Town Council and Glasgow and South Western Railway Company, a new harbour and wet dock at Seaham, County Durham, for the Seaham Harbour Dock Company, being associated in this work with Mr. H. H. Wake, M. Inst. C.E., of Sunderland, quays and coalshipping appliances at Blyth and Warkworth in Northumberland, and the harbour at Eyemouth. The firm also carried out the following railway works: Eyemouth Branch Railway, East Fife Central Railway, Gifford and Garvald Branch Railway, Newburgh and North Fife Railway, all now part of the North British system, and the Forfar and Brechin Railway, now amalgamated with the Caledonian Railway system.

In 1883 Mr. Meik was requested by the late Sir John Fowler and Sir Benjamin Baker to act as Resident Engineer on the foundations and piers of the Forth Bridge, then about to be commenced, the contract having been let to Messrs. Tancred, Arrol and Company.

For 3 years Mr. Meik acted as Resident Engineer, still retaining his interest in the firm of Thomas Meik and Sons, and in 1885, on the successful completion of all the foundation works of the bridge, he removed to London and started in practice at Westminster as a Consulting Engineer, carrying on the business there conjointly with that in Edinburgh.

In 1894 Mr. Meik was joined as partner by his brother, Mr. Charles Scott Meik, who had previously been in the service of the Japanese Government. From Westminster Mr. Meik, either alone or later with his brother, carried out many large engineering works in addition to those already referred to in Scotland and the North of England, including the extensive system of railways and docks at Port Talbot for the Port Talbot Railway and Docks Company, involving an expenditure of L1,250,000 sterling. In this scheme Mr. Meik’s firm was associated with the late Mr. T. Forster Brown. M.Inst.C.E., of Cardiff, and with Mr. Jas. A. McConnochie, M. Inst. C.E., until his death in 1895.

In 1894 Mr. Meik, at the request of the Board of Trade, joined the Committee appointed to draw up the rules and regulations for procedure under the Light Railways Act, having previously carried out the Lee-on-the-Solent Light Railway, one of the first to be constructed in this country.

In 1904 Mr. Meik was engaged by the British Aluminium Company to design and supervise the construction of the dam, conduit and pipe line for the hydro-electric power-station at Kinlochleven, Argyllshire, for the manufacture of aluminium. These works, which are the largest of their kind in Great Britain, at present have an output of over 20,000 B.H.P. per annum at the turbines with provision for a future extension. The electric power generated by the water stored in the reservoir was first used for the manufacture of aluminium in March, 1909, and has been in continuous use since that date.

One of Mr. Meik’s largest and most successful works was the new King’s Dock at Swansea, which was opened €or ka$c in November, 1909, and cost nearly £2,000,000. In this work he was assisted by Mr. A. O. Schenk, M. Inst. C.E., the Engineer to the Swansea Harbour Trustees, who acted as Joint Engineer.

Mr. Meik was consulted by numerous harbour and dock authorities at various times, both in this country and abroad, among them being the Mersey Docks and Harbour Board, Leith Dock Commission, North Eastern Railway Company, Calcutta Port Trust, Tanjong Pagar Dock Company of Singapore, Lake Copais Company of Greece, and the Rangoon Port Commissioners. In the case of Rangoon, Mr. Meik acted as Consulting Engineer to the Port Commissioners, and advised them in connection with the large river-training works which are now being carried out by that body under the direction of their Chairman and Chief Engineer, Mr. George C. Buchanan, M. Inst. C.E.

Mr. Meik was an able and accomplished engineer, with wide views, ripe experience, and a thorough knowledge of his profession. He possessed, moreover, sound judgment, keen analytical powers, and a grasp of financial details which won the confidence of his clients and of all members of his profession with whom he came into contact. His wide reading and intellectual capacity made him an interesting companion, and his kindness of heart and social qualities endeared him to a large circle of friends. His health gave way early in 1909, and for 6 months prior to his death he was unable to attend actively to business.

Mr. Meik was elected an Associate of The Institution on the 2nd May, 1876, was subsequently placed in the class of Associate Members, and was transferred to the class of Members on the 27th April, 1880.



See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. 1911 Institution of Civil Engineers: Obituaries