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William Parsons (1796-1857)

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William Parsons (1796-1857)

1830 William Parsons, County Surveyor of Leicester, became a member of the Institution of Civil Engineers.[1]


1858 Obituary [2]

MR. WILLIAM PARSONS, fourth son of Mr. Edward Parsons, of Scraptoft, in the county of Leicester, was born on the 14th of December, 1796.

After receiving his education at the Leicester Grammar School, he was articled to Mr. Firmadge, an alderman and magistrate of the borough of Leicester, then exercising the profession of an architect in that town, where he had an extensive business ; and, during his apprenticeship, among other works, Mr. Parsons was intrusted with the superintendence of the works of Worcester Gaol, then in course of erection from the designs of Mr. Firmadge.

On the expiration of his pupillage he went to London, and remained in the office of Mr. (now Sir S. Morton) Peto, Assoc. Inst. C.E., until his return to Leicester, when he immediately commenced business on his own account, as an architect and surveyor.

On the death of his Father, in the year 1819, Mr. Parsons succeeded him as steward to the Corporation of Leicester, and, shortly afterwards, was appointed surveyor to the trustees of several of the principal turnpike-roads leading out of Leicester, comprising nearly 100 miles. His management of these roads was not surpassed by that of any surveyor in the county ; and on the death of the surveyors of the other turnpike-roads from Leicester, he was unanimously appointed their successor in office, and had, until the period of his death, the entire management and control of every turnpike-road leading from Leicester, as well as of some other roads in Warwickshire, comprising a district of upwards of 150 miles.

On the death of Mr. Kirk, in the year 1823, Mr. Parsons was appointed county surveyor by the magistrates, which office he also held until the time of his decease.

One of his first public works was the church of St. George, in Leicester, built in 1825 from his designs, which were preferred by the Commissioners - and this church now forms one of the principal ornaments of the town. From that period Mr. Parsons was constantly employed in the erection of most of the public buildings in Leicester and the count. Amongst these may be mentioned, the County Gaol, Fever-louse, Lunatic Asylum, St. George’s and Christ Churches, Union Workhouse, two Banking Establishments, one of which is now used by the Branch Bank of England, and the other by Messrs. Clarke, Mitchell, and Co., and the restoration of the Old Gateway to the Castle of Leicester, with the Militia Armory adjoining. The private mansions erected under his superintendence were very numerous, the last of the works of this class being the alteration at Bradgate House, the hunting seat of the Earl of Stamford and Warrington.

In the year 1841, Mr. Parsons was appointed one of the magistrates for the borough of Leicester, and he continued to act in that capacity, as one of the most active members of the bench, until his death on the 4th January, 1857. It is scarcely too much to say, that not only in his professional capacity, but in every relation of life, public or private, as friend or relative, no man lived more respected and died more lamented.

He had been for many years an Associate of the Institution of which he was a strong supporter and warm friend-having been elected in 1830; and whenever he came to London, he never failed to make use of the Institution, and to attend the meetings during his brief stay.


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