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Leslie Clark

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Leslie Clark (c1828-1883)

1884 Obituary [1]

LESLIE CLARK was born and educated at Aberdeen, of which city his father was for some years the Provost.

In 1861 he was articled to Mr. Abernethy, Past President Inst. C.E., with whom he remained as a pupil until 18134.

After being for a short time assistant engineer on the Ceylon Railways, which were in charge of Mr. Molesworth, M. Inst. C.E., he was employed on the docks and drainage-works in Bombay. He was also for several years in the service of the Bombay, Baroda, and Central India and the Great Indian Peninsula Railway Companies, during which period he was a district engineer, engaged upon the construction of the Wardha and Wadwan lines.

In 1875, he was appointed by the municipality of Lahore, to design and execute a system of waterworks and of drainage for that city. His proposals, after a lengthened discussion, received the approval of Government in the year 1877; but owing to the want of funds, only a portion of the drainage-scheme was executed. The waterworks-scheme, consisting of a system of wells sunk in the low lands near the river-bed, from which the water was pumped to a high-service masonry reservoir in the city, and thence distributed along the main streets by iron piping, was completed in 1881, and ready for opening. Unfortunately, however, the portion of the drainage-scheme which was intended as an outfall for the reservoir, was not sanctioned by the Punjab government. The reservoir was filled experimentally ; but in passing off the water into some disused wells near the reservoir (which were used after consultation with the government engineers), it permeated the adjoining ground, and caused a subsidence in the foundations, which resulted in the destruction of the reservoir. Upon an official inquiry into the cause of the disaster, Mr. Clark was absolved from all blame, and subsequently received orders to design and erect a new reservoir.

As soon as the disaster happened, Mr. Clark took immediate steps to utilize a high-pressure system, which had been constructed for use in case of fire, and by pumping over this service, was enabled to give the city an intermittent supply, pending the completion of the new reservoir. This system has worked admirably, and on the 7th of April, 1884, the Lieutenant-Governor of the Punjab formally opened the new iron reservoir, which had been designed by Mr. Clark, and was in course of erection at the date of his death.

Mr. Clark was also under contract with the Punjab government to design a system of drainage and waterworks for the city of Amritsar, which he had unfortunately not quite completed. Besides this, he was in treaty with the municipality of Delhi for a similar service. He was much respected for his ability. The Lahore waterworks being the first of the kind in the Punjab, will be a standing monument of his engineering skill.

Mr. Clark was a man of great business-capacity ; but possessed an unhappy irascibility of temper, which occasionally acted to his detriment. He was singularly unfortunate in the failure of the first reservoir, from causes over which he had no control, and it is much to be regretted that his death should have occurred at a time when he had just established his reputation as a waterworks enginecr, and when llis services were coming so much into request for the execution of municipal projects that he would have been able to have obtained pecuniary consolation for his previous misfortunes.

The cause of Mr. Clark‘s death was abscess of the liver, on account of which he was ordered to England in April, 1883, and after being operated upon by the most skilful surgeons in London, he succumbed to the disease at Broadstairs, in Kent, on the 27th of August, 1883, at the comparatively early age of fifty-five years.

He was elected a Member on the 3rd of August, 1878.

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