Grace's Guide To British Industrial History

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Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 149,723 pages of information and 235,473 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 147,919 pages of information and 233,587 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

William Wilson (1822-1898)

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William Wilson (1822-1898)

1849 Elected Member of Inst Civil Engineers

1857 of 27 Duke Street, Westminster

1860 William Wilson, Engineer, 27 Duke Street, Westminster, became a member of I Mech E.[1]

1861 William Wilson 39, civil engineer, lived in Lambeth with ... Wilson 23, William Wilson 8, George W Wilson[2]

1866-68 of 4 Victoria Street, Westminster, S.W.

1869 Resigned from I Mech E[3]

1871 William Wilson 49, civil engineer, lived in Marylebone with Flora M E Wilson 33, William Wilson 18, student of architecture[4]

1872 of 37 Great George Street, Westminster, S.W

1876 of 37 Great George Street, Westminster, S.W.

1886 of 13 Dean's Yard, S W

1891 William Wilson 69, civil engineer, lived in Hanover Square, with Flora M S Wilson 54[5]

1898 Died

1899 Obituary [6]

WILLIAM WILSON, born at Alnwick, Northumberland, on the 20th January, 1822, was the youngest son of Mr. George Wilson, who was one of the proprietors of the mail-coaches then running between London and Edinburgh.

At the age of sixteen, he was articled to John Bourne, of Newcastle-on-Tyne, and, the work upon which he was engaged at that period led to an interesting episode in his relations with George Stephenson, who on one occasion took exception to some levelling done by Wilson for the Newcastle and Berwick line. An inspection of the ground compelled Stephenson to admit the accuracy of the work, and, as a memento of the occasion, he presented Wilson with the watch he was carrying.

After leaving Newcastle Mr. Wilson came to London, and was occupied on some works for Fox and Henderson, one of the first being the roof of the old station at Dover. He was next occupied under Sir John Fowler (then Mr. Fowler) on the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire (now the Great Central) Railway, and subsequently on the Worcester and Wolverhampton line and the Wolverhampton Joint Station.

Mr. Wilson then became associated with Sir John Fowler in the construction of the Victoria Station and the Pimlico Railway, which included the Victoria Bridge over the Thames. This work was carried through with great rapidity, the first stone of the bridge being laid on the 9th June, 1859, and the first train passing over on the 9th June, 1860.

For a description of the work which Mr. Wilson subsequently presented to the Institution, he was awarded a Telford medal and premium. Among other works in which Mr. Wilson was associated with Sir John Fowler may be mentioned the Millwall Docks, the Hammersmith and City Railway, and the West London Extension of that line as far as Addison Road Station.

In the enlargement of Victoria Station, the widening of the Victoria Bridge over the Thames, and the construction of branch. railways, Mr. Wilson acted between the engineer of the widening (Sir Charles Fox) and the contractors (Peto and Betts), the first stone of the bridge being laid on the 22nd February, 1865, and the first locomotive passing over it on the 1st August, 1866.

He also acted for Messrs. Peto and Betts, Messrs. Kelk, and Messrs. Waring on the Metropolitan Railway Extension to Nottinghill and Brompton, the Metropolitan District Railway and the Metropolitan Extension to Tower Hill, and for Sir John Kelk on the widening of the Metropolitan Railway from King’s Cross to Farringdon Street.

In conjunction with Sir John Fowler and Mr. Abernethy he was engaged for some years upon the 'English and Continental Intercommunication,' a scheme for huge ferry-boats to carry trains between France and England ; and, at the instance of the Duke of Sutherland and Sir John Fowler, he visited Rome to advise as to the rectification of the Tiber.

Among the works on which Mr. Wilson subsequently acted as engineer may be mentioned the Aylesbury and Buckingham Railway, the Banbury and Cheltenham Direct Railway, the Jerez and Algeciras Railway, and the Folkestone Pier. He reported on engineering enterprises in the United States and Canada, and in many European countries, and frequently gave evidence on railway, dock, and other projects before Parliamentary committees.

Mr. Wilson died at his residence, 19 Applegarth Road, West Kensington, on the 20th September, 1898. He was twice married ; first to Hannah, daughter of Mr. John Kirkby, of Sheffield, and secondly, in February, 1857, to Flora Maria Ellen, eldest daughter of the late Rev. W. Alfred Dawson, M.A., of Christ College, Cambridge.

Those who best knew Mr. Wilson appreciated his worth and practical goodness. He combined with engineering ability and great skill as a draughtsman habits of industry and a sense of duty which allowed no personal consideration to interfere with his work.

Mr. Wilson had at the time of his death been a member of the Institution for nearly fifty years, having been elected on the 1st May, 1849.

1898 Obituary [7]

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. 1860 Institution of Mechanical Engineers; supported by C. W. Siemens and E. A. Cowper
  2. 1861 census
  3. Membership register
  4. 1871 census
  5. 1891 census
  6. 1899 Institution of Civil Engineers: Obituaries
  7. The Engineer 1898/09/30, p324.