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Reginald Empson Middleton

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Reginald Empson Middleton (1844-1925)

of Forth Bridge, South Queensferry, Scotland.

1925 Obituary [1]

REGINALD EMPSON MIDDLETON was born on 30th May 1844.

He was educated at St. Bees' College, Cumberland, and at Charterhouse, and served his apprenticeship from 1861 to 1865 with Messrs. Robert Stephenson and Co., Newcastle-on-Tyne.

After completing his indentures he gained further useful experience in railway matters on the Whitehaven, Cleator and Egremont Railway, the Solway Junction Railway, and the Great Eastern; after which he went to Southport on pier extension operations.

He next proceeded to Spanish Honduras, where he spent a year or more as district engineer-in-charge of a section of the Honduras Inter-Oceanic Railway.

On his return to England he became assistant to Mr. John Dixon (of Cleopatra Needle fame), at Laurence Pountney Hill, E.C., being engaged on the designing and construction of piers and viaducts at Ventnor, Whitby, and other places.

His next move was to Port St. Mary, Spain, as resident-engineer of the Cadiz Water Works, then in course of construction, and on his return he interested himself in Portland cement matters, becoming an active partner in the firm of Messrs. Empson, Holcombe and Co., and later on a director of Messrs. Francis and Co., Ltd., of Cliffe, near Rochester.

In 1876 Mr. Middleton took offices in Westminster and set up on his own account as consulting engineer, his work generally being bridges, house drainage, piers, and similar lines.

Seven years later, in 1883, he was appointed engineer-in-charge of the setting-out and measurements of the Forth Bridge, with general superintendence of the survey and the bridge.

In 1886 he returned to Westminster and resumed his practice.

In 1889 he was appointed a Juror at the Paris Exhibition, and in 1891 he acted as Secretary to the Engineering Section of the International Congress of Hygiene and Demography, held in London, and was elected a Vice-President of the same section of the following Congress held at Buda-Pesth.

Between 1887 and 1893 he designed and carried out works for the supply of water to Honiton, Dauntsey, Rushden, Stoney Stanton, and other places.

In 1892 he was appointed Assistant Commissioner to the Royal Commission on Metropolitan Water Supply, of which Lord Balfour of Burleigh was Chairman, and from this time onward until his retirement, twenty years later, he was almost constantly employed upon questions connected with the water-supply of London. In respect to this important subject Mr. Middleton was from time to time very actively engaged upon detailed investigations into various matters, and amongst the reports for which lie was responsible special reference is due to those on the sources of water supply in Hertfordshire and on the Staines Reservoirs.

In 1903 he entered into partnership with Mr. Walter Hunter and Mr. M. B. Duff, and numerous water-supply undertakings both in this country and abroad bore testimony to the activities of himself and his partners.

Mr. Middleton died in London on 1st July 1925, after a short illness.

He became a Member of this Institution in 1884.

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