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British Industrial History

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Robert Downing

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Robert Downing (c1827 -1906) of the Oxford Waterworks

1907 Obituary [1]

ROBERT DOWNING commenced his engineering career in the workshops of Messrs. Hawthorn, of Newcastle-on-Tyne, and after serving for several years on the staff of the late Thomas Hawksley, Past-President, he obtained in 1864 the appointment of Waterworks Engineer to the Corporation of Oxford.

He held this office for 16 years, during which period he superintended the construction of the high-level storage-reservoir at Headington Hill and of the pumping-main, and carried out numerous extensions and improvements of the system.

Resigning in 1880, he became a member of the City Council, and in 1893 he was elected an alderman. As councillor and alderman, he rendered valuable assistance on various committees, particularly the Waterworks Committee, of which he was the chairman.

For many years he took an active interest in the Oxford volunteer fire-brigade, of which he became president and treasurer in 1898, serving until 1901. He was also a director of the Oxford Gas Company.

Mr. Downing was Liberal in politics, and rendered material assistance to his party at parliamentary elections in Oxford. He died at his residence, 10 Park Crescent, Oxford, on the 9th August, 1906, in his eightieth year.

Mr. Downing was elected an Associate of The Institution on the 2nd February, 1858, and was subsequently placed in the class of Associate Members.

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