Dictionary of National Biography, 1901 supplement/Grover, John William

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GROVER, JOHN WILLIAM (1836–1892), civil engineer, born on 20 April 1836, was the only son of the Rev. Henry Montague Grover of Boveney Court, Burnham, Buckinghamshire, and rector of Hitcham, Buckinghamshire. He was educated at Marlborough College and in Germany, and then became a pupil of Sir Charles Fox [q. v.]; at the close of his pupilage he entered the employ of Sir John Fowler [q. v. Suppl.], and was engaged in carrying out preliminary surveys for railways in Portugal and Spain. He was next appointed a draughtsman in the office of works of the science and art department, and eventually became head of the engineering and constructive branch. Among the works superintended by him while he held this post were the north and south courts of the South Kensington Museum, and the conservatory of the Royal Horticultural Society.

In January 1862 Grover set up in business as a consulting engineer at Westminster, and during the next eleven years he designed and carried out several important engineering works, mainly in connection with railways. One of his works, an iron pier on the coast of Somersetshire, was described in a paper he read before the Institution of Civil Engineers in 1871, 'Description of a wrought-iron Pier at Clevedon, Somerset' (Proc. Inst. Civil Engineers, xxxii. 130). He also assisted Major-general Walter Scott, R.E., in the design of the Royal Albert Hall.

In 1873 he visited Venezuela to make surveys for the mountain line from La Guaira to Caracas, and he also made a hydrographical survey of the coast near La Guaira for the proposed harbour works.

On his return to England from Venezuela he gave up railway work and turned his attention to waterworks. He designed and was responsible for several systems in the chalk districts round London. Among others may be mentioned the water supply for the districts of Newbury, Wokingham, Leatherhead, and Rickmansworth. His method of dealing with the problem of supplying these towns was described in a communication submitted to the Institution of Civil Engineers in 1887, entitled 'Chalk Water Springs in the London Basin' (Proc. Inst. Civil Engineers, xc. 1).

Of the patents taken out by Grover perhaps the most important was that for his so-called 'spring washer,' used to prevent the slacking of permanent-way fish bolts on railway lines; these washers have been very extensively used in all parts of the world.

He was elected a member of the Institution of Civil Engineers in 1867, and was also a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries and a vice-president of the British Archæological Association. In connection with his antiquarian pursuits he was instrumental in the recovery and restoration of the Clapham marbles in St. Paul's Church, Clapham.

He died at his residence on Clapham Common on 23 Aug. 1892.

In addition to the papers mentioned above Grover published the following works and pamphlets: 1. 'Estimates and Diagrams of Railway Bridges,' London, 1866; 2nd ed. 1870. 2. 'The Facilities of "flexible" Rolling Stock for economically constructing . . . Railways or Tramways,' London, 1870. 3. 'Iron and Timber Railway Superstructures,' London, 1874. 4. 'Suez Canals from the most ancient Times to the Present,' London, 1877. 5. 'Section of a Well at Hampstead,' London, 1878. 6. 'Ancient Reclamations in the English Fenlands,' London, 1878. 7. 'Proposed Richmond Footbridge,' London, 1890. 8. 'An Explanation of the London Water Question,' London, 1892. 9. ' Old Clapham ' (1897).

[Obituary notices in Proc. Inst. Civil Eng. vol. cxii.; Times, 31 Aug. 1892.]

T. H. B.