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Richard Carter (1818-1895)

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Richard Carter (1818-1895)


1896 Obituary [1]

RICHARD CARTER, son of the late Mr. Nicholas Carter, was born at Prospect House, Harrogate, on the 18th of April, 1818.

In due course he was articled to a land surveyor at York, Mr. James Bulmer, under whom he obtained considerable insight into drainage operations connected with inclosures, and into the practical management of an extensive farm on scientific principles.

On the expiration of his articles he undertook, with his brother Nicholas, a twelve-months’ tour in the United States, after which he settled, in the year 1840, in Halifax, where he commenced to practise as an engineering surveyor.

During the two following years Mr. Carter was occupied in a careful examination and survey of the district surrounding Halifax-one presenting many engineering difficulties-with a view to inter-communication by railway.

In 1843 he proposed a scheme for a system of lines to be called the West Yorkshire Railway, when a rival measure was brought before Parliament, and after a fierce contest both schemes were rejected. In the following session Mr. Carter was deputed by the promoters of the two enterprises to re-survey and lay out the West Riding Union, connecting Leeds, Bradford, Halifax, Huddersfield and Dewsbury, indeed all the principal manufacturing towns of Yorkshire. This scheme was approved by Parliament and was carried out, the West Riding Union being one of the lines amalgamated on the formation of the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway Company in 1859.

It is interesting to note that while occupied on this work, Mr. Carter was closely associated with Dr. Tyndall, who at that period was engaged in surveying and levelling for a Manchester firm of railway engineers.

Between 1847 and 1855, Mr. Carter devoted considerable time and attention to the question of water-supply. At Bradford he assisted in the construction of a large reservoir and other works, from which a considerable portion of the factories of that town were supplied. He acted as engineering adviser to the contractors of the Liverpool Waterworks at Rivington Pike during the construction of an important part of that extensive scheme, and he carried out works for the supply, from artesian wells, of some of the largest dyeing establishments in Yorkshire.

About the year 1856 Mr. Carter, who, with his brother, Nicholas, was interested in a large linen factory and in collieries at Barnsley, took up his residence at Cockerham Hall, on the outskirts of that town. For more than twenty years he lived there, displaying during the whole of that time the keenest interest in everything which concerned the welfare of the town, and ever ready to place his knowledge and enterprise at the service of the authorities. He was a member of the old Local Board, and when Barnsley obtained a charter of incorporation he was elected a municipal councillor, subsequently an alderman, and finally mayor, which office he served two years. During this period Mr. Carter devoted considerable time and attention to secure adequate drainage and water-supply for the borough. He was greatly interested too in geological matters, and frequently lectured and gave addresses at Barnsley, Wakefield and other places.

In 1882 Mr. Carter returned to Harrogate, where he resided for the remainder of his life. As long ago as 1860 he assisted in forming a company for the purchase of the Victoria Park estate in that town. He bought land under advantageous circumstances, the estate was rapidly developed and was laid out in fine streets and avenues on a systematic plan. An excellent site in the centre of the town was set apart for a railway station, and it was the means of bringing to Harrogate in 1862 a loop line which afforded direct communication with Leeds and other large towns in the West Riding.

In the same year a branch was opened along the Kidd Valley to Pateley Bridge. Prior to 1862 the Church Fenton and Harrogate line, the Leeds and Thirsk, and the York and Knaresborough, were the railways supplying the Harrogate district, but of these the first was the only one having a station in the town, the stations for the Leeds and the Knaresborough lines being at Starbeck, about 14 mile distant. By the loop line above referred to connection was made between the Church Fenton and the Leeds and Thirsk lines and a central station at Harrogate. These lines are now all part of the North Eastern system. Mr. Carter also largely assisted in procuring a continuous and pure supply of water for the town, his professional knowledge and intimate acquaintance with the geology of the district being readily placed at the service of the Waterworks Company, of which he was a Director. His advice was frequently sought as to the sources of the various mineral springs abounding in Harrogate, and when recently the new Montpelier Baths were about to be constructed, he was called in to examine the strata and to advise the Corporation as to how the heavy foundations might best be laid so as not to divert or injure the springs. He was a member of council of the Yorkshire Geological Society, and he delivered, as president of its meeting in Harrogate in 1854, an able address dealing with the geological formations and the mineral waters of the town and district. Mr. Carter was also Consulting Engineer for the new works for the water-supply of Ripon; the Lumley Moor reservoir was constructed under his personal supervision, and the new supply, which is by gravitation, saved the expense of the previous costly pumping operations.

Mr. Carter died at his residence, Spring Bank, Harrogate, on the 26th of September, 1895,after a short illness. A fortnight previously he had taken a chill while inspecting in heavy rain some borings for a new reservoir in the district. With characteristic energy he endeavoured to shake off the cold, and on the following day felt sufficiently well to take an active part in the opening ceremony of a local bazaar. The exertion and exposure were, however, too great, and he was obliged to take to his bed with a feverish attack rapidly developing into congestion of the lungs, which unhappily proved fatal.

Mr. Carter was a man of great ability and shrewd judgment, and he combined in a high degree considerable business capacity with extreme kindness of heart. 'Mr. Richard,' as he was affectionately and familiarly called, was well known, both in Barnsley and in Harrogate, to be ever ready to assist a really deserving case and to give generous support to any good object.

He was one of the promoters of the charter of incorporation for his native town which was granted in 1884, and he presided at the meeting of the Councillors when his brother, Mr. Nicholas Carter, was elected first mayor. In the following year a separate commission of the peace was granted to Harrogate, and Mr. Richard Carter was elected a magistrate, the duties of which office he served until his death. He was a director of the local Conservative Club, the Ruling Councillor of the Harrogate Habitation of the Primrose League and an active Freemason.

Mr. Carter was elected an Associate on the 1st of May, 1855.



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Sources of Information

  1. 1896 Institution of Civil Engineers: Obituaries