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Henry Ashman Reed

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Henry Ashman Reed (1866-1935)

1866 Born in Bristol

1912 Appointed Chief Engineer of the Manchester Ship Canal and held this position until 1930.


1935 Obituary [1]

HENRY ASHMAN REED will be remembered for his long association with the Manchester Ship Canal, both during its construction and subsequent maintenance.

He was born at Bristol and was educated at the Merchant Venturers' School and at the University of Bristol.

In 1884 he was articled as a pupil to Mr. Charles Richardson, and assisted in the design and construction of the Severn and Patchway tunnels for the Great Western Railway.

Three years later he was appointed assistant contractor's engineer on the construction of the Manchester Ship Canal and was engaged on the Irlam section, of which he took full charge in 1891.

He joined Messrs. Topham, Jones and Railton in 1895 and was placed in charge of the firm's Admiralty contract for dredging work inside the breakwater at Plymouth, and at Devonport. He then became engineer in charge of the Great Central Railway extension from Leicester to Rugby.

In 1896 he was appointed chief engineer for his firm at Gibraltar, where he was responsible for extensive developments, the dockyard being rebuilt and enlarged, new breakwaters, slipways, and graving docks constructed, and much dredging work undertaken. He also supervised the building of a commercial harbour, and designed a 250-foot graving dock for dredgers.

On returning to England in 1907 he was engaged on the deep-water dock at Southampton and also became engineering inspector to the Local Government Board.

In 1912 he was appointed chief engineer to the Manchester Ship Canal, holding this position till 1930, when he was made consulting engineer. He was responsible for considerable developments, including the deepening of certain sections of the canal, and the construction of an oil dock and grain elevators.

During the War he was adviser to the War Office on the port of Richborough. He served on numerous international committees, and in 1924 and 1929 was elected to the British Technical Committee which inspected the Rhine under the terms of the Treaty of Mannheim, 1868.

In addition he advised the Egyptian Government on waterways, and in 1932 represented Great Britain on the Permanent International Commission of Navigational Congresses, visiting Venice and Cairo for the Commission. He also served on an international committee appointed to complete a technical dictionary on maritime and river constructional works.

He had been a Member of the Institution since 1913 and was also a Member of the Institution of Civil Engineers.

His death occurred in Chelsea on 21st January 1935, in his sixty-ninth year.


1935 Obituary [2]

Mr. HENRY ASHMAN REED, eldest son of John Henry Reed, was born at Bristol on the 3rd May, 1866, and died in London on the 21st January, 1935. He was educated at the Merchant Venturers’ School, Bristol, and then proceeded to University College in that city.

In 1883 he became a pupil of Mr. Charles Richardson, M. Inst. C.E., who was engaged on supervising the construction of the Severn and Patchway tunnels and other railway works in that area. He continued as an assistant to Mr. Richardson for about a year after his pupilage, by which time the various works mentioned above had been completed.

In 1887 he joined the staff of Mr. T. A. Walker on the construction of the Manchester Ship Canal as an assistant engineer. Four years later he was given full charge of the Irlam section, and later he superintended its completion for Mr. C. J. Willis, when the latter took over the contract.

In 1894 he joined the staff of Messrs. Topham, Jones and Railton, and for some months had charge of their dredging contract at Plymouth for the Admiralty.

He was then connected with work on the London extension of the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway.

In 1896 he was appointed by his firm as their chief engineer at Gibraltar, where the harbour and the dockyard were being extended for the Admiralty.

He left Gibraltar in 1907 and became contractors’ engineer of the Southampton deep-water dock for a few months. Later in the year he joined the service of the Local Government Board, and acted as an engineering inspector for 3 years. In 1912 he returned to the Manchester Ship Canal as Chief Engineer; in 1930 he retired from that post and was appointed Consulting Engineer of the Manchester Ship Canal.

Mr. Reed was elected an Associate Member of The Institution on the 1st December, 1891, and transferred to the class of Members on the 11th February, 1902. He was a Member of Council from 1927 to 1935. He served as a delegate on several Navigation Congresses, and for many years was a member of the Suez Canal Consultative Working Commission on behalf of the British Government.

In 1932 he was appointed a British representative on the Permanent International Commission of Navigation Congresses. He delivered the Vernon Harcourt Lecture in 1928, and for his Original Communication on "A Simple Method of Bonding the Brickwork of a Square Arch with Oblique Faces," he was awarded a Telford Premium.

He married in 1908 Ida Margaret, widow of Joseph Barradell, who survived him.


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