1876. Until the construction of the Manchester and Liverpool ship canal, this was (after the Suez canal) the most important work of its kind which had been carried out, the canal being sixteen miles long with a depth of twenty-three feet; it also involved very difficult and complicated work in connection with the locks on the Zuyder Zee and at Ymuiden (see Proc. Inst. Civil Engineers, Ixii. 1).
In 1860 he was appointed sole royal commissioner to inquire into the question of providing the city of Dublin with a proper water supply, and he recommended that Mr. Hassard's scheme for obtaining water from the Vartry should be adopted; this scheme was afterwards carried out. Again, in 1874, he was sole royal commissioner to inquire into the best means of remedying the evils caused by the pollution of the Clyde and its tributaries. He was also responsible for a very considerable amount of drainage work in the fen country in the eastern part of England, one very noteworthy piece of work being the design, in 1862, of a dam to shut out the tide from the middle level drain in Norfolk, the outfall sluice at St. Germains having given way. Across the dam which he constructed, sixteen large siphons, each three and a half feet in diameter, were laid, and they were sufficient for the drainage of the district for many years (ib. xxii. 497).
Among other government committees upon which Hawkshaw served may be mentioned a departmental committee in 1868 to inquire into the construction, condition, and cost of the fortifications which were in existence, or in course of erection, in the kingdom. In 1880 he served on a committee of the board of trade to investigate the effect of wind pressure on railway structures; and when the electric telegraphs were purchased by the government from the various companies in 1868, he was appointed by the act the arbitrator to distribute the purchase money among the different companies and the various shareholders.
Though he was never a strong politician, Hawkshaw stood as a liberal candidate for Andover in 1863, but was defeated; and again in 1865 he proposed to stand as a candidate for Lyme Regis, but withdrew just before the date of the election.
In 1855 he was elected a fellow of the Royal Society, and in 1873 was knighted. He was president of the Institution of Civil Engineers in 1862 and 1863, having joined that body in 1836; and in 1875 he held the office of president of the British Association.
Hawkshaw was without doubt one of the foremost civil engineers of the nineteenth century, not only on account of the importance of the works with which he was connected, but also on account of the wide field covered by his professional activity. Technical reports and his presidential addresses form practically the bulk of his literary work.
He died at his town residence, Belgrave Mansions, on 2 June 1891. He married in 1835 Ann, daughter of the Rev. James Jackson of Green Hammerton, Yorkshire. She died on 29 April 1885, aged 72.
There is an oil painting by Collins at the Institution of Civil Engineers, and another by Mr. G. F. Watts, R.A., in the possession of Mr. J. C. Hawkshaw at Hollycombe, Sussex, and also two earlier portraits, both at Hollycombe. Mr. Hawkshaw has a marble bust by Wontner; the Institution of Civil Engineers has also a marble bust and a small bronze head by Wynn.
The most important of his professional publications were his presidential addresses at the British Association (London, 1875) and the Institution of Civil Engineers (London, 1863); Reports on Dock and Harbour Works at Bristol (1860), Boston (1864), Holyhead (1873), Belfast (1870); on the Suez Canal (Paris, 1863; London, 1863); on the Great Western Railway Locomotive Department (1838), Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway Rolling Stock, &c. (1850), Narrow Gauge for India (1870); and on the Drainage of the River Witham (London, 1861, West. 1862, London, 1877), Thames Valley (1878), Purification of the Clyde (1876); The Present State of Geological Enquiry as to the Origin of Coal (1843).
[Obituary notice in Proc. Inst. Civil Engineers, vol. cvi.; Burke's Peerage &c. 1890; Times, 3 June 1891.]
HAWKSLEY, THOMAS (1807–1893), civil engineer, was born at Arnold, near Nottingham, on 12 July 1807. He was educated at the Nottingham grammar school under Dr. Wood, and in 1822 began his articles with Mr. Staveley, architect and surveyor of Nottingham. He eventually became a partner in this business, which was carried on in Nottingham until he left for London in 1852.
Hawksley's fame as a civil engineer will in a great measure rest on the many extensive schemes for supplying water to large cities for which he was responsible, and it is noteworthy, therefore, that his first important piece of engineering work was connected with a scheme for additional water supply to the town of Nottingham in 1830. In 1845 he became engineer to the joint companies