1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Lindley, William

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LINDLEY, WILLIAM (1808—1900), English engineer, was born in London on the 7th of September 1808, and became a pupil under Francis Giles, whom he assisted in designing the Newcastle and Carlisle and the London and Southampton railways. Leaving England about 1837, he was engaged for a time in railway work in various parts of Europe, and then returned, as engineer-in-chief to the Hamburg-Bergedorf railway, to Hamburg, near which city he had received his early education, and to which he was destined to stand in much the same relation as Baron Haussmann to Paris. His first achievement was to drain the Hammerbrook marshes, and so add some 1400 acres to the available area of the city. His real opportunity, however, came with the great fire which broke out on the 5th of May 1842 and burned for three days. He was entrusted with the direction of the operations to check its spread, and the strong measures he adopted, including the blowing-up of the town hall, brought his life into danger with the mob, who professed to see in him an English agent charged with the destruction of the port of Hamburg. After the extinction of the fire he was appointed consulting engineer to the senate and town council, to the Water Board and to the Board of Works. He began with the construction of a complete sewerage system on principles which did not escape criticism, but which experience showed to be good. Between 1844 and 1848 water-works were established from his designs, the intake from the Elbe being at Rothenburgsort. Subsidence tanks were used for clarification, but in 1853, when he designed large extensions, he urged the substitution of sand-filtration, which, however, was not adopted until the cholera epidemic of 1892—1893 had shown the folly of the opposition directed against it. In 1846 he erected the Hamburg gas-works; public baths and wash-houses were built, and large extensions to the port executed according to his plans in 1854; and he supervised the construction of the Altona gas and water works in 1855. Among other services he rendered to the city may be mentioned the trigonometrical survey executed between 1848 and 1860, and the conduct of the negotiations which in 1852 resulted in the sale of the “Steelyard” on the banks of the Thames belonging to it jointly with the two other Hanseatic towns, Bremen and Lübeck. In 1860 he left Hamburg, and during the remaining nineteen years of his professional practice he was responsible for many engineering works in various European cities, among them being Frankfort-on-the-Main, Warsaw, Pesth, Düsseldorf, Galatz and Basel. In Frankfort he constructed sewerage works on the same principles as those he followed in Hamburg, and the system was widely imitated not only in Europe, but also in America. He was also consulted in regard to water-works at Berlin, Kiel, Stralsund, Stettin and Leipzig; he advised the New River Company of London on the adoption of the constant supply system in 1851; and he was commissioned by the British Government to carry out various works in Heligoland, including the big retaining wall “Am Falm.” He died at Blackheath, London, on the 22nd of May 1900.