Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 43.djvu/49

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he was appointed one of the assistant-engineers, under Sir I. K. Brunel, on the Thames Tunnel works. On the retirement of Richard Beamish in 1836, he became acting-engineer until the completion of the tunnel, 25 March 1843.

In 1842 he made designs for the embankment of the Thames from Westminster to Blackfriars; the metropolitan improvement commissioners accepted his designs, and the government established for their consideration the Thames Embankment office in Middle Scotland Yard in connection with the department of woods and forests. The new office was placed under Page's control, and he thenceforth acted as consulting engineer to the department of woods and forests. But difficulties arose, and the embankment scheme was for the time abandoned. In January 1844 he made a survey of the Thames from Battersea to Woolwich, showing the tidal action of the river. In 1845 he prepared plans for bringing the principal lines of railway to a central terminus, to be built upon land proposed to be reclaimed from the Thames between Hungerford Market and Waterloo Bridge. In the same year, in connection with Joseph D'Aguilar Samuda, he designed a railway to connect the Brighton system with that of the Eastern Counties Company, by a line to pass through the Thames Tunnel and under the London Docks.

In 1846 he reported on the relative merits of Holyhead and Port Dinllaen as packet stations for the Irish mail service, and prepared plans for harbours at these places, and also for docks at Swansea. At the instance of the government he made designs for the embankment of the southern side of the Thames between Vauxhall and Battersea bridges, and for the Chelsea suspension bridge. Those works were subsequently carried out under his directions. The bridge was opened in March 1858, and the Albert Embankment on 24 Nov. 1869. In May 1854 he commenced Westminster new bridge, which was built in two sections, to obviate the necessity of a temporary structure; the old structure remaining while the first half of the new one was built, and the second half being completed after the first was open to traffic (cf. Parliamentary Papers, 1853 No. 622 pp. 1–18, 70, 1856 No. 389 pp. 1–9, 54–7, 62–9). The result was the most commodious of the London bridges. It was completed and finally opened on 24 May 1862. Constructed without cofferdams or centres, it caused no interruption to the traffic by land or by water. His plan for Blackfriars Bridge was accepted, but not carried out. He was engineer for the town of Wisbech; and one of his most important reports, written in 1860, dealt with that town and his project of improving the river Nen from Peterborough to the sea. As engineering and surveying officer he held courts and reported on proposed improvements for Cheltenham, Taunton, Liverpool, Falmouth, Folkestone, and Penzance. He interested himself in gunnery, and invented a system for firing guns under water. He died suddenly in Paris on 8 Jan. 1877. He published a ‘Report on the Eligibility of Milford Haven for Ocean Steam Ships and for a Naval Arsenal,’ 1859.

[Min. of Proc. of Instit. Civil Engineers, 1877, xlix. 262–5; Times, 20 Jan. 1877, p. 10; Men of the Time, 1875, p. 779.]

G. C. B.

PAGE, Sir THOMAS HYDE (1746–1821), military engineer, was the son of Robert Hyde Page (d. 1764), by Elizabeth, daughter of Francis Morewood, and great-granddaughter maternally of Sir George Devereux, kt., of Sheldon Hall, Warwick. His grandfather was John Page, who married Sarah Anne, sister and sole heir of Thomas Hyde; the latter claimed descent from Sir Robert Hyde of Norbury, Cheshire, ancestor of the Earls of Clarendon.

At Woolwich Page received as the first cadet a gold medal from George III. He was appointed sub-engineer in 1774, and lieutenant later in the same year. In 1775 Lord Townshend, then master-general of the ordnance, requested Page ‘to take a view of Bedford Level,’ with the purpose of improving the general drainage in the county. This he did, and his manuscript report to Lord Townshend, dated 31 March 1775, is preserved in the library of the Institution of Civil Engineers. Going with his corps to North America, he distinguished himself in his capacity as aide-de-camp to General Pigott at the battle of Bunker's Hill (17 June 1775), and was severely wounded (Porter, Hist. Corps of R. E., i. 203). Lieutenant-colonel John Small, who was major of brigade to General Pigott at the battle, writing to Page in 1790, speaks of having witnessed his professional intrepidity and skill. In consequence of his wound he received an invalid pension. In 1779 he raised and organised one of the first volunteer corps in the kingdom, known as the Dover Association.

Captain Page was ‘engineer of the coast district’ in 1782, when the board of ordnance (Lord Townshend being master-general) took into consideration the ‘want of wholesome fresh water where dockyards and garrisons were established.’ The Parade within the