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Richard Hack

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Richard Hack (1843-1901)

1901 Obituary [1]

RICHARD HACE, born on the 29th May, 1843, was educated first at Grove College School, Hammersmith, and subsequently for two years at Dieppe College (Acadhmie de Caen).

On returning from France, for fifteen months his time was divided between studies under a private tutor and occupation in the drawing-office of his father, the late Mr. W. B. Hack.

He was then apprenticed for five years to Messrs. Maudslay, Sons and Field, and on completing that term in 1864, he entered the service of the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company as an Engineer in India and China, and was subsequently engaged in a similar capacity in New Zealand, where he married.

Being anxious to settle down, he returned to England in 1875, and obtained an appointment with the West Middlesex Waterworks Company under his father, and subsequently under his brother, the late Mr. Thomas Hack, who held successively the post of Engineer to that Company. For the next four years he was engaged in assisting in the preparation of plans and in superintending the Company’s extensive new works then under construction, consisting of filter beds, river walls, a 36-inch conduit under the River Thames, a new boiler-house, chimney shafts, and an impounding reservoir.

The late Sir William Wyatt, then Chairman of the West Middlesex Waterworks Company, having frequently come into contact with him during that period, and recognising his energy and ability, offered him in 1879 the post of Engineer to the Committee of Visitors of Colney Hatch Lunatic Asylum, of which Sir William Wyatt was also Chairman. That post he accepted and retained until 1886, carrying out during that time the re-arrangement of the boilers connected with the pumping engines, laundry and other machinery, which were not up to date, the enlargement and deepening of the well, with improved pumping-power for an adequate water-supply to the Asylum, the enlargement of the gasworks, together with extensive alterations and additions to the general buildings, and the work in connection with an improved system of drainage.

In 1886 Sir William Wyatt, having decided to modify the engineering staff of the Chelsea Water Company, of which he was Governor, offered to Mr. Hack the position of Chief Engineer of that Company. That post the subject of this notice accepted and held until the date of his death, during which time he designed and carried out somewhat extensive works and improvements to meet the growing wants of this important Company, together with the requirements as to greater purity and constant supply now looked for.

The principal works undertaken during this period were the erection of a large Worthington engine and boilers at West Molesey Works, the laying of a 36-inch trunk main between there and the Surbiton Works, and of a trunk main from the service reservoirs on Putney Heath through Putney to and across Putney Bridge, the construction of a large filter-bed at the Surbiton Works, cutting banks of the storage reservoirs at West Molesey, inserting large circulating pipes, raising the banks of the reservoirs 5 feet, increasing the capacity from 140,000,000 gallons to 190,000,000 gallons, and the construction of new filtered service reservoirs on Putney Heath of 11,000,000 gallons capacity.

Mr. Hack did not undertake private work, but devoted the whole of his time and ability to the duties in connection with the posts he occupied, but it may be mentioned that in 1888, on the death of his brother Mr. Thomas Hack, then Engineer to the West Middlesex Waterworks Company, he was appointed Consulting Engineer to that Company, which post he held for about two years.

Mr. Hack died at his residence at Surbiton on the 17th March, 1901, after an illness of some months. His devotion to work was very great, and he was much respected by the directors, the staff, and the employees of the various companies he served.

He was elected an Associate of the Institution on the 5th February, 1884, and was transferred to the class of Members on the 4th February, 1896.

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