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British Industrial History

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William Coulthard

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William Coulthard (1796-1863)


1864 Obituary [1]

MR. WILLIAM COULTHARD, who was born in the year 1796, commenced his career as a practical mason, under his father, who was a Contractor.

In 1824 he was engaged by tile late Mr. John Green to assist in the execution of some heavy works near Newcastle-on-Tyne, amongst which may be mentioned the Suspension Bridge over the river Tyne at Scotswood; the stone bridge over the river Tees, at Blackwell, near Darlington; the Free Schools at North Shields, and other public buildings.

In 1834 he rebuilt the stone bridge over the river Esk, at Whitby.

In 1835 he may be said to have commenced his railway career by undertaking the construction, under Mr. C. Vignoles (M. Inst. C.E.), of the North Union Railway, of which, on the completion of the line, he became the Resident Engineer, a position which he held for eleven years with great advantage to the Railway Company, and with so much credit to himself, that on quitting that post he was publicly presented, 'by his fellow-servants and other friends,' with a flattering testimonial, consisting of a silver tea and coffee service, as evidence of the high opinion they entertained of’ the strictness and impartiality of conduct with which Mr. Coulthard had carried out the duties of his office. On that occasion Mr. Vignoles, who occupied the chair, paid some well-merited compliments to the worthy recipient of this mark of the goodwill and proper appreciation of the fellow-officers of Mr. Coulthard, who, in reply, expressed his regret at quitting a position endeared to him by so many pleasant remembrances, even although he did leave with the intention of commencing the career of contractor for public works.

The first contract undertaken by him was the construction of the Little North Western lines, of Ingleton, Kirkby Lonsdale, and Clapham, and the Clapham and Lancaster.

Next he executed the Morecambe Harbour and Pier, and then the Lune Valley Railway, under Messrs. Locke and Errington (M.M. Inst. C.E.).

Subsequently he constructed the Morecambe and Hest Bank line, with other works, in which he had the assistance of his sons.

His career was successful and honourable, and his decease, which occurred in London on the 19th of March, 1863, was much regretted by a wide circle of friends.

He joined the Institution of Civil Engineers as an Associate on the 26th of June, 1849, and always evinced much interest in its advancement.


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