THOMAS HAWKSLEY

WATER ENGINEER

1807-1893

 

Background Note:

This website started life twenty years ago (before any of us had heard of websites) as an undergraduate dissertation called

 "THOMAS HAWKSLEY AND THE VICTORIAN PUMPING STATION" 

that I wrote when studying for a degree in History of Art and Architecture at the University of East Anglia, Norwich, in 1985-6.

Initially, I have stuck to the original text, and even some elements of the layout, that are clearly much more suited to a typed and bound, book-style, dissertation than to a website.  It also suffers from a number of pedantic references put in to impress those who had to mark it. 

I originally trained as a Mechanical Engineer, but studied History of Art as a mature student.  Since this dissertation was about architecture, the engineering background of Hawksley's work is explained in a very simplistic form, and may offend engineers!  Also, since I was based in Norwich at the time, many examples are drawn from Norwich, or other East Anglian undertakings, and much time was spent reading old Minute Books etc in the Norfolk County Record Office (which burnt down some years later - do these minutes still survive?)

The original dissertation was very limited in scope, concentrating, as it did, on the architecture of beam-engine houses.  Since 1986 I have continued to gather information on Thomas Hawksley, and I intend to incorporate this in the website progressively - this may lead to some sections, eg The Serpentine Scheme, being disproportionately long - others will remain as originally written, although I may reduce some of the pedantic footnotes!

I believe that Thomas Hawksley was one of the great unsung geniuses of the nineteenth century, and if this website brings his work the recognition of a wider public it will have served its purpose.  I would be grateful for comments from anyone who has anything to add to my efforts.

Peter Ellis

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