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William Walker Lackie

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William Walker Lackie (1869-1945)


1945 Obituary [1]

BY the death of William Walker Lackie, which took place suddenly at his home, Kielder, Onslow Road, Burwood Park, Walton-on-Thames, on Saturday last, February l0th, an important link with the early organisation and development of electricity in Scotland and England has been broken. Mr. Lackie, we may recall, was closely associated with the development of the important Glasgow electricity undertaking, and was one of the five original Electricity Commissioners appointed in 1920 by the then Minister of Transport, Sir Eric Geddes, with the concurrence of the Board of Trade.

William Lackie was born in Montrose in 1869, and was the son of the late David Lackie. He received his early education at the Montrose Academy, and passed on to the Grammar School at Aberdeen. He studied electrical engineering and technology at the University College, Dundee, and also under the late Lord Kelvin at Glasgow University.

On the completion of his technical training in 1888 he joined the firm of Mavor and Coulson, of Glasgow, which was then interested in the supply of electricity as well as the manufacture of electrical equipment. Mr. Lackie served the firm until 1892. Part of the time he was engaged on electricity supply work in connection with the John Street station, which was the first high-tension A.C. system to be put to work in Scotland. Under the Electricity Acts that undertaking was handed over to the Glasgow Corporation, and Mr. Lackie's services were transferred with it.

In 1892 he was appointed mains superintendent to the Corporation Electricity Department, and during the next four years he carried out his new duties in such a manner as marked him out for further promotion. This came when in 1897 he was made assistant to Mr. Chamen, who was then the chief engineer, whom he succeeded in 1902, when he was appointed chief engineer and manager of the electricity department, a position which he continued to hold with distinction until 1920, when he was called to London. Under his leadership the supply system of Glasgow and district was greatly extended. His duties were increased when the districts of Partick and Govan were taken over by the department, and he began work on the Dalmarnock power station on the Clyde, which was to become Glasgow's principal power station.

Both in Glasgow and in London Mr. Lackie was an active member of the Institution of Civil Engineers and the [[Institution of Electrical Engineers]]. His papers before the Electricals included such subjects as "Methods of Charging for Electricity Supply," "Tariffs," "Systems of Earthing," and "Early Experiments in Electric Traction." He also took part regularly in discussions on all branches of electricity supply, and contributed to the "Transactions" of the Institution of Engineers and Shipbuilders in Scotland, the Incorporated Municipal Electrical Association, and the Glasgow University Engineering Society.

Mr. Lackie served in the office of an Electricity Commissioner for fourteen years, and retired in 1934. His national services were recognised by the award of C.B.E. in 1919.

His wide engineering knowledge and practical experience in the operation of electricity undertakings was placed unreservedly at the disposal of the Commissioners in dealing with the various problems of reorganisation under the Electricity (Supply) Act, 1919, and with the questions which arose in connection with the formulation and carrying out of the regional schemes under the Electricity (Supply) Act, 1926, which resulted in the establishment of the national grid system. Mr. Lackie also represented the Commissioners on various Committees and the Institution of Electrical Engineers, and on the Council of the Electrical Research Association.



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