Mylne, William Chadwell (DNB00)

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MYLNE, WILLIAM CHADWELL (1781–1863), engineer and architect, born on 5 or 6 April 1781, was the second son of Robert Mylne (1734–1811) [q. v.] In 1797 he was already assisting his father to stake out the lands for the Eau Brink Cut, and he also worked on the Gloucester and Berkeley Ship Canal. In 1804 he was appointed assistant engineer to the New River Company, succeeding in 1811 to the sole control of the works. This appointment he held for fifty years. In 1810 he was employed on the Colchester water works; in 1811 and 1813 he made surveys of the Thames; in 1813 he surveyed Portsmouth harbour for the lords of the admiralty, and was engaged in engineering works in Paris and the surrounding country in the autumn of 1816. In 1821 he designed and executed water works for the city of Lichfield, and in 1836 those for Stamford in Lincolnshire. As surveyor to the New River Company he laid out fifty acres of land for building purposes near Islington, and designed St. Mark's Church, Myddelton Square, 1826–8. The property has since become a large source of income to the company. He converted also, for the New River Company, Sir Hugh Myddelton's old wooden mains and service pipes between Charing Cross and Bishopsgate Street into cast-iron. In 1828 he constructed many settling reservoirs at Stoke Newington, for the better supply of the outlying districts of the north of London. Although undertaking architectural work, and making additions and alterations to many private residences, the bulk of his practice consisted of engineering projects in connection with water-supply and drainage.

In 1837 he designed Garrard's Hostel Bridge at Cambridge (plate in Hann and Hosking, Bridges). In the fen country he was much occupied. He effected improvements in the river Ouse between Littleport and Ely in 1826, in the river Cam in 1829, and in the drainage of the district of Burnt Fen. He constructed the intercepting drain at Bristol, thus removing the sewage from the floating harbour. The Metropolis Waterworks Act of 1852 necessitated extensive alterations and improvements in the works of the New River Company, which Mylne carried out, with the assistance of his son Robert William Mylne (see below).

In 1840 he gave evidence before committees of the House of Lords on the supply of water to the metropolis (again in 1850 before the sanitary commission of the board of health), and (with Sir John Rennie) on the embanking of the river Thames (Papers and Reports, xii. [225–8] 63, [357–62] 83; xxii. [464–9] 42). With H. B. Gunning he was employed as surveyor under the Act for making preliminary inquiries in certain cases of application for Local Acts in 1847, at Leeds, Rochdale, and elsewhere. His many printed reports include one on the intended Eau Brink Cut (with J. Walker), Cambridge, 1825, and one addressed to the New River Company on the supply of water to the city sewers, London, 1854 (cf. also Trans. of Inst. of Civil Eng. iii. 234). In 1831 he wrote an account to the Society of Antiquaries, London, of some Roman remains discovered at Ware in Hertfordshire. Mylne succeeded to the surveyorship of the Stationers' Company on the death of his father in 1811, and held the post till 1861.

He was elected fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society in 1821, F.R.S. on 16 March 1826, fellow of the Institute of British Architects in 1834, member of the Institute of Civil Engineers 28 June 1842 (on the council from 1844 to 1848), and was for many years treasurer to the Smeatonian Society of Engineers.

He retired from his profession in 1861, and died at Amwell in Hertfordshire on 25 Dec. 1863. He married Mary Smith (1791–1874), daughter of George S. Coxhead, by whom he had three sons and three daughters. His widow died on 10 Feb. 1874. His portrait, painted by H. W. Phillips in 1856, was engraved by H. Adlard in 1860, and is reproduced in Mylne's ‘Master Masons.’

His son, Robert William Mylne (1817–1890), architect, engineer, and geologist, was born 14 June 1817, and practised as an architect and engineer. He was occupied on the harbour at Sunderland in 1836, and travelled in Italy and Sicily in 1841–2. He assisted his father for about twenty years, and became an authority on questions of water-supply and drainage. He held the post of engineer to the Limerick Water Company for some time. His most noticeable work was the providing of a good supply of water for one of the sunk forts in the sea at Spithead. He succeeded his father in 1860 as surveyor to the Stationers' Company, and held the post till his death. He was associate of the Institute of British Architects in 1839, fellow in 1849, retiring in 1889; member of the Geological Society in 1848, was on the council from 1854 to 1868, and again in 1879, and was one of the secretaries in 1856–7. He was also a member of the Smeatonian Society of Civil Engineers, of which he acted as treasurer for some time, and belonged both to the London and Edinburgh Societies of Antiquaries. He was preparing a work on the architectural antiquities of Eastern Scotland at the time of his death. He married, on 17 March 1852, Hannah (1826–1885), daughter of George Scott, J.P., of Ravenscourt Park, Middlesex, and died at Home Lodge, Great Amwell, on 2 July 1890.

He published: 1. ‘On the Supply of Water from Artesian Wells in the London Basin,’ London, 1840. For this Mylne was awarded the Telford bronze medal by the Institute of Civil Engineers (cf. Minutes of Proceedings of the Institute, 1839, pp. 59 et seq). 2. ‘Account of the Ancient Basilica of San Clemente at Rome,’ London, 1845, and in Weale's ‘Quarterly Papers on Architecture,’ vol. iv. 3. ‘Sections of the London Strata,’ London, 1850. 4. ‘Topographical Map of London and its Environs,’ London, 1851 and 1855. 5. ‘Map of the Geology and Contours of London and its Environs,’ London, 1856—a work which was used officially until superseded by the ordnance survey. 6. ‘Map of London, Geological—Waterworks and Sewers,’ London, 1858.

[Dict. of Architecture; Mylne's Master Masons, pp. 284–98; Builder, 1864, p. 8; Cooper's Annals of Cambridge, iv. 608; Inst. of Civ. Eng., Minutes of Proceedings, xxx. 448–51; Cussans's Hertfordshire, ii. 126–7, Archæologia, vol. xxiv. App. p. 350; Proc. of Royal Soc. 1865, pp. xii. xiii.; Monthly Notices of the Astronomical Society, 1865, xxv. 82; Probate Registry at Somerset House; Transactions of Inst. of Civ. Eng. iii. 229; Geological Magazine, 1890, p. 384; Quarterly Journal of Geological Soc. 1891, pp. 59–61; Proc. of Royal Soc. 1890, pp. xx, xxi.]

B. P.