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Thomas De Courcy Meade

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1914. Manchester Main Drainage Works.

Thomas De Courcy Meade (1853-1916), city surveyor of Manchester

1916 Obituary [1]

THOMAS DE COURCY MEADE was born in 1853, and was educated at the Devonshire Grammar School, Bandon.

He spent about a year in a mechanical engineering works at Cork, and in 1870 was articled to the County Surveyor and Engineer for the West Riding of the County of Cork. After his pupilage, in 1873 he was entrusted with work of considerable importance.

In February 1877 he entered the office of the late Lieut.-Colonel Haywood, Engineer and Surveyor to the Commissioners of Sewers for the City of London; here he was entrusted with the carrying out of several large works, especially in connexion with the "Artisans and Labourers' Dwellings Improvement Act, 1875," which involved the purchase and removal of insanitary property and the laying out, sewering, and paving of several new streets.

In 1880 he became Engineer and Surveyor for the Urban District of Hornsey, where he remained until 1894. In June of that year he was appointed City Surveyor of Manchester, and retained that position till his death.

At the time of his appointment there was in progress a Main Drainage Scheme which had been designed by the former City Surveyor, Mr. John Allison, and it devolved upon Mr. de Courcy Meade to complete the work. These sewers, however, proved wholly insufficient, and frequent floodings of property resulted. Mr. Meade, after careful investigation, prepared a scheme which provided for the drainage of the whole of the City and certain adjoining districts. The new sewers will be of sufficient capacity to meet the estimated requirements of Manchester and neighbourhood for fifty years, the total area included in the scheme being 39,100 acres. This scheme, which was estimated to cost £1,000,000, was approved by Parliament in 1911, and about 18 miles of main sewers have already been constructed.

Amongst the most important work undertaken by the late Mr. Meade whilst at Manchester, the following may be mentioned: The erection of the Foreign Animals Wharf on the Ship Canal; the design and erection of the railway for conveying coal to the Stuart Street Electricity Station; the reconstruction of many of the bridges in the City; the improvement of the River Medlock; eighteen parks and recreation grounds were acquired, making a total of forty-one, with an area of 1,054 acres; the design and construction of large lakes in three of the principal parks; extensions to the Abattoirs and Smithfield Market; new streets and street improvements; the Housing of the Working Classes and the Development of the Sanitary Committee's Blackley Estate.

In connexion with the Housing question, from 1885 to 1913, 24,775 houses were ordered to be closed as unfit for human habitation, of which 7,777 were demolished or discontinued entirely as dwellings, the remainder being reopened after alterations and repairs.

His death took place at Buxton on 11th February 1916, at the age of sixty-two.

He was elected a Member of this Institution in 1891, and was also a Member of the Institution of Civil Engineers, a Fellow of the Surveyors' Institution, an Ex-President of the Institution of Municipal and County Engineers, and a Fellow and formerly Member of Council of the Royal Sanitary Institute.

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