John Lawson

LAWSON, John (1824-1873) — Lancaster & London

Civil engineer, land-agent, surveyor and lithographer. Produced, with Hugh Unsworth McKie, a map for John Barrow, “Facts relating to North-Eastern Texas, condensed from notes made during a tour through that portion of the United States of America” 1849; a map of the Bay of Lancashire. “McKie & Lawson” also lithographed plates for Edmund Sharpe, “Supplement to architectural parallels, containing the full-sized mouldings of the following abbey churches” 1848.

Born at Skerton, near Lancaster, 25 May 1824, and baptised at Lancaster 11 Jul 1824, the son of Robert Lawson, a cabinet-maker, and his wife Mary. He became a pupil of William Lamb, of Hay Carr, land-agent and surveyor to the Duke of Hamilton, during which time he was engaged in surveying and preparing plans, laying out roads, etc., in the valuation of land for railways and buildings. The 1841 census return records him resident with Lamb, working alongside his future partner Hugh Unsworth McKie. In 1848, in conjunction with McKie, he purchased the business of John Watson and traded as “McKie & Lawson” to 1856. He married Ellen Atkinson, the daughter of a local druggist, at St. Mary, Lancaster, 28 Aug 1856. From then onwards he worked in London, becoming a specialist in sanitary engineering, supervising water supply and sewerage schemes in various towns across the country. He was elected an Associate of the Institution of Civil Engineers on 1 Mar 1859 and in 1867 was sent by the Colonial Office to Malta to advise on sewerage schemes. In later years he worked with the celebrated water engineer James Mansergh (1834-1905), who had been apprenticed to “McKie & Lawson” in 1849. In 1871, his former partner was staying with him and his family in St. John’s Wood on Census night. He died at his home 7 Feb 1873. Probate was granted to his widow, Ellen Lawson, his effects stated at under £6,000. Numerous papers relating to various projects in NA.

34 Cable Street, Lancaster — 1851
Cable Street, Lancaster — 1856
— 5 Acacia Road, St. Marylebone (home) —1861
34 Parliament Street, London — 1862-1867
3 Westminster Chambers, Victoria — 1867
— Lunesdale House, St. John’s Wood (home) — 1871-1873

BNA. Census 1841-1871. COPAC. Grace. NA.

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