James Mansergh, F.R.S. (1834–1905)


    ON April 29 the centenary occurs of the birth of James Mansergh, the eminent hydraulic engineer, who, both at home and abroad, was well-known for his schemes for water supply and sewage disposal. His most famous work was that by which Birmingham was supplied with water from the Elan and Claerwen Reservoirs in Wales, 73J miles away, a work which was opened by King Edward VII on July 21, 1904. Mansergh was born in Lancaster. After attending the local schools, he was at Queenwood College, Hampshire, for a short time, where Tyndall and Edward Frankland were among his teachers. At the age of fifteen years he was articled to a firm of civil engineers in Lancaster and afterwards gained experience on railway construction in England; Wales and Brazil. In 1866 he became a consulting engineer in Westminster, and from that time onwards specialised in water supply and sewage schemes. It is said that he appeared more than six hundred times before Parliamentary committees, acted for three hundred and sixty municipalities or local authorities, wrote more than two hundred and fifty reports and gave evidence at about three hundred public inquiries. Among the important schemes he carried out abroad were those connected with the water supply of Toronto and the sewage disposal of Colombo and Melbourne. Entering the Institution of Civil Engineers in 1859 as an associate member, he became a vice-president in 1895 and president in 1900. The following year his services as a hydraulic engineer were recognised by his election as a fellow of the Royal Society. He died at Hampstead, on June 15, 1905.

    Rights and permissions

    Reprints and Permissions

    About this article


    By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.