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Samuel Clegg, Junior

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Samuel Clegg, Junior (1814-1856)

Only son of Samuel Clegg

1814 born at Westminster on 2 April 1814.

1830 Studied engineering at University College, London (1830–33)

1836–7 he and his father made a trigonometrical survey of part of the Algarve.

Assistant engineer on the Greenwich Railway, Great Western Railway, and Eastern Counties Railway

1844 Resident engineer on the Southampton and Dorchester Railway.

1849 Appointed Professor of civil engineering and architecture at the College for Civil Engineers, Putney. Lecturer on civil engineering to the officers of the East India Company's engineers at Chatham

1855 Reported on the sea walls on Demerara; superintended restoration.

Planned removal of all the London gas works to a single site in Essex.

1856 July 25th. Died at Putney


1857 Obituary [1]

MR. SAMUEL CLEGG, jun., was born in Westminster, on the 2nd of April, 1814, and died, at Putney, on the 25th of July, 1856, in the 43rd year of his age.

He was the only son of Mr. Samuel Clegg, so well known in connexion with the history of gas lighting. His general education was received under private tuition, while his professional studies commenced by attending the classes at University College, London, and were continued under his Father.

In 1831, before his pupilage had expired, he was placed with the late Mr. Hugh Mclntosh, who employed him in drawing and in taking out quantities for contracts, on the London and Birmingham, and on the Greenwich Railways. On the latter line he performed the ordinary services of an Assistant Engineer, and made himself well acquainted with the methods of forming artificial foundations, and the execution of brick-work.

In 1836, he accompanied his father to Portugal, where he assisted in erecting a new mint, at Lisbon, for the Portuguese Government, and was also employed in surveying, in taking levels, laying out lines for new roads, and in making a trigonometrical survey of part of the Algarves.

In January 1838, he was engaged as an assistant in laying the permanent way of the Great Western Railway, between Maidenhead and Paddington.

On leaving this work, Mr. John Braithwaite, M. Inst. C.E., employed him in making drawings and getting out the quantities for portions of the Eastern Counties Railway, and entrusted to him the superintendence of several portions of the work.

He left Mr. Braithwaite after the completion of the line to Colchester in 1842. About this period he wrote and published 'A Practical Treatise on the manufacture and distribution of Coal Gas,' and also the 'Architecture of Machinery,' the object of the latter being, as stated in the Introduction, 'to inquire into the reasons of error, and to endeavour to point out certain rules for design, by attention to which the many irregularities in construction and form so constantly met with in machinery are to be avoided, and to explain the correct principles of taste,'

Towards the close of the same year, he went out to the West Indies, and was engaged in making observations on the working of the engines on board some of the West India Royal Mail Company’s vessels, and on other engineering works.

He returned home in May 1843, and then went to Lisbon, where he was engaged for a year in negotiating for a Government concession for a public company.

On his return home, in October 1844, he was employed by Captain Moorsom (M. Inst. C.E.) to make the survey for the Waveney Valley Railway, and in assisting the progress of the bill for that railway, through the standing orders committee of the House of Commons.

In July 1845, Mr. Clegg received the appointment of Resident Engineer on the Southampton and Dorchester Railway, a single line 62 miles in length. After the completion of that line he commenced general practice on his own account.

In 1849, he was appointed Professor of Civil Engineering and Architecture, at the Putney College, a post which he filled satisfactorily and efficiently until the dissolution of that Institution.

In the same year he was also appointed, by the commanding officer of the Royal Engineers, at Chatham, Lecturer on Civil Engineering to the officers of the East India Company’s Engineers, studying at Chatham. This post he filled until his death, to the entire satisfaction of the authorities. In the year 1855, one of the commanding officers of the Roya1 Engineers, gave him the following testimonial:-

'Seven years back, when I was director of the Royal Engineers’ establishment at Chatham, and it being necessary to appoint a highly talented and experienced Civil Engineer, to lecture on Civil Engineering to the officers of the East India Company’s service, I selected out of many highly gifted gentlemen, Mr. Samuel Clegg, jun., C.E., merely on account of his superior merit, as he was then wholly unknown to me, except by reputation. On my recommendation he was appointed by the Court of Directors, and has continued ever since to hold that office. Mr. Clegg was an admirable lecturer, and evinced consummate ability, and I have, from an experience of him during several years, a very high opinion of his qualifications.'

The great range of subjects embraced in these lectures attest his indefatigable research ; they not only included every branch of Engineering as practised in this and other countries, but also lectures on the history and various styles of architecture, together forming a valuable and important mass of information.

In 1851, Mr. Clegg was engaged as one of the annotators of the Official Catalogue of the Great Exhibition of that year.

In 1853, he produced a second edition, considerably enlarged and improved, of his work on the 'Manufacture of Gas.'

In the spring of 1855, Mr. Clegg was selected, by the Colonial Office, to proceed to Demerara, to report upon the defects of a sea-wall there, and to direct and superintend the necessary works for its restoration. Having satisfactorily performed this duty, he returned home in the autumn of the same year, when, shortly afterwards he was seized with the first attack of the painful disease which, after severe suffering, eventually terminated his existence. He recovered, however, partially from this attack, but a series of relapses following closely on each other, one at last proved fatal. The obstinate character of the disease was attributed by the medical men partly to the effect of the climate, and partly to Over exertion in the performance of his duties.

Mr. Clegg was elected a Member of the Institution in the year 1848. He contributed to the proceedings a ‘Description of the Great Aqueduct at Lisbon, over the Valley of Alcantara,’ for which he received a Walker Premium of Books, and a Paper on 'Foundations, Natural and Artificial,’ for which he received a Telford Medal.

Amongst other works, upon which Mr. Clegg was engaged at the time of his death, was a project for removing the whole of the manufacture of gas from the Metropolis, by the establishment, at a distance below London, on the Essex shore, of a manufactory of gas, commensurate with the wants of the whole of the various London companies. From these works the gas was intended to have been delivered to the works of the present companies, at a price, it was believed, less than the present cost of production, and thus, without interference with the vested interests, or the free action of the several companies, in the distribution to their customers, a great public benefit would have been secured. A similar system is in progress of adoption by law in Paris, and it is not improbable that, sooner or later, such an improvement will be introduced in London.

Mr. Clegg left behind him complete surveys, plans, and calculations on this subject, and though he has not been spared to ta!<e part in so great an undertaking, it is hoped his labours in this matter may yet be rendered available, and that his memory may some day be associated with the accomplishment of so important and so beneficial an object.

He was an amiable man, of considerable ability, acquirements, and cultivated taste ; and his decease, which was deeply regretted by a large circle of friends, was an irreparable loss to his widow and young family.



Obituary 1856[2]

"...which took place on the 25th of July, is attributed by his friends to disease of the liver and kidneys, brought on by exposure to the climate of Demerara. In the early part of last year Mr. Clegg went out to Demerara for the Colonial-office, to superintend the repairs of some breaches made in the sea-wall there. On his return in the autumn he was seized with an inflammatory affection of the liver, which was considered to have arisen from the excessive heat, as well as the anxiety to discharge efficiently and expeditiously the duties that had been entrusted to him. Subsequently he had five other similar attacks, each of which reduced his power of mental and bodily exertion. Mr. Clegg was originally intended for the army, and was educated at the Royal Military Academy at Woolwich. Circumstances, however, occurred on the eve of his obtaining his commission, which..."More.



See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. 1857 Institution of Civil Engineers: Obituaries
  2. The Engineer 1856/08/01, p410.
  • Biography, ODNB [1]