Hugh U McKie

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Hugh Unsworth McKie was born 16 May 1882 and was a Civil Engineer appointed City Engineer and Surveyor of Carlisle in 1856-60, and again in 1877-89, and at the same time in private practice, mainly on water and sewerage schemes. He then set up a practice in Westminster until retiring in 1898. He acted as engineer to large slate quarries, including the Upper Croesor Slate Quarry Co. Ltd and the Hafod-y-Llan (Snowdon) Slate Quarry Co. Ltd (South Snowdon Quarry) formed in 1865. He was also a Director with Hugh Beaver Roberts of the Croesor & Portmadoc Railway formed in 1865 to run the southern end of the Croesor Tramway. [1] He died on 19 January 1907.

He had been resident engineer on part of the London & North Western Railway 1844-50, and later was involved in several railway projects preparing plans and supervising construction of railways both at home and abroad. This included plans jointly with Mr Charles Easton Spooner assisted by John S Hughes, of the eight sections of railway making up the original NWNGR scheme in 1871, [2]and was 'acting engineer'.[3]

McKie was awarded the contract for the construction of the NWNGR (Moel Tryfan Undertaking) for £56,150 in December 1872, [4] assisted by his son James,[5] but disputes arose with Spooner. In early May 1874 McKie paid off all his men.[6] In June 1874 with McKie demanding more money for work done, was removing rails and dog-spikes, and the Company was granted the injunction to restrain him from removing any more rails or other property, but an application for an injunction to prevent him removing plant was held over to the next sitting of the Court. [7] In July the Master of the Rolls ordered the disputes be referred to the arbitrator, James Brunlees, named in the contract. [8] When the arbitrator made his award in favour of McKie in early September the work had stopped for nearly 3 months. [9] In November, when the contract was due to be completed, McKie applied again for arbitration, and the works ground to a halt again, [10] while the arbitrator investigated, making his award in Mckie's favour in the new year. The Chairman told shareholders: The directors had been led to expect a different result from the reference, but they could now only come to the conclusion that the company's engineer had not given the contractor credit for as much work as had been executed, and they learnt to their great surprise that the requirements of the contract for periodical measurements being regularly taken by the engineer in the presence of the contractor had not been complied with.[11] As time went on the delays in the execution of the work, and the continual applications to the arbitrator, persuaded one of the Directors, Major Oliver, to suggest terminating the contract, but they wanted an amicable parting. They would not have done this lightly, as not only was the Company left with what James C. Russell later described as the line certainly not two-thirds finished, McKie having received within £3000 or £4,000 of the contract money,[12] but also the loss of the maintenance term after the line was opened. [13]Eventually they agreed with McKie he would give up the contract on 7th February 1876 in return for a final arbitration. [14] Mr Brunlees awarded £7,147. [15] The Directors appointed Mr J. Boys to take on contracts to complete the line to Snowdon Ranger, and subsequently, to Glanrafon and then Rhyd-ddu.

References[edit source]

  1. ^ Gwynfor Pierce Jones & Alun John Richards Cwym Gwyrfai.
  2. ^ Application for membership of the Institution of Civil Engineers October 1885
  3. ^ Prospectus November 1871
  4. ^ Boyd, James I.C. (1972). Narrow Gauge Railways in South Caernarvonshire. Lingfield, Surrey, England: The Oakwood Press. ISBN 9780853611158. OCLC 707587.
  5. ^ James McKie's Application for Associate Membership of the Institution of Civil Engineers May 1885
  6. ^ Cambrian News 8 May 1874
  7. ^ Carnarvon & Denbigh Herald 13 June 1874
  8. ^ Wrexham and Denbigh Advertiser 11 July 1874
  9. ^ Wrexham Advertiser 5 September 1874
  10. ^ Liverpool Mercury 30 November 1874
  11. ^ The Times 25 May 1875
  12. ^ North Wales Express 1 May 1885
  13. ^ Per the preamble to the Lease of 23 April 1873 scheduled to the Lease Act of that year
  14. ^ The Times 2 March 1876, North Wales Chronicle 4 March 1876
  15. ^ Bradford Observer 18 August 1876

See also[edit source]