Hugh Unsworth McKie

McKIE, Hugh Unsworth (1822-1907) — Lancaster, Carlisle, North Wales & London

Surveyor, land-agent, civil engineer & lithographer. Produced, with John Lawson, 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; auction plans of the Denny Beck Estate 1851; a map of the Bay of Lancashire 1870.

Born 16 May 1822 and baptised 23 Mar 1823 at Garstang, Lancashire, the son of James McKie, a farmer, and his wife Susannah Unsworth, who had married at Preston in 1809. 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 records him resident with Lamb, working alongside his future partner John Lawson. In 1848, in conjunction with Lawson, he purchased the business of John Watson and traded as “McKie & Lawson” to 1856. He married Elizabeth Whiteside (1831?-1875) at Walton Breck, near Liverpool, 15 Jan 1851, the couple subsequently having eleven children. From 1856 to 1860 he served as City Engineer and Surveyor of Carlisle, at the same time carrying on private practice in partnership with his former pupil, the celebrated engineer James Mansergh. He was elected an Associate of the Institution of Civil Engineers in 1859 and a full Member in 1885. From 1860 to 1865 he was occupied on the preparation and construction of the Conway & Llanrwst Railway, and later oversaw the building of a railway line and tramways in the south of France. Back in North Wales between 1867 and 1876, he was responsible for the extension of the harbour and sewerage works at Portmadoc and elsewhere, also working on waterworks at Rhyl, St. Asaph and Abergele. Records of a legal dispute with the North Wales Narrow Gauge Railways Company in 1874 survive in NA. In 1877 he was again appointed as City Engineer and Surveyor of Carlisle — “the smart-looking streets of Carlisle are due largely to work carried out during his term of office” (Lancashire Evening Post, 23 Jan 1907) — retaining the appointment until 1889, subsequently establishing a consultancy in London. He retired in 1898 and by 1901 was living with his son James McKie, also a civil engineer, and two of his daughters in Ludford, Shropshire. He died in Derbyshire 19 Jan 1907 and probate on an estate of just £398.12s.6d was granted to his son James. His funeral took place on 23 Jan 1907 at Spondon Cemetery, where a tombstone still stands.

City Surveyor’s Office, Carlisle — 1859
Bodnod, Denbighshire — 1861
Perpignan, France — 1867
Ynyscynhaiarn, Caernarvonshire — 1871
Tremadoc — 1873
Tan-rallt, Tremadoc, North Wales — 1876
— 14 Hartington Place, Carlisle (home) — 1881
Town Hall, Carlisle — 1885-1886
— 54 Lawn Crescent, Richmond (home) — 1891
11 Victoria Street, Westminster — 1895-1900
— 11 Rostrevor Mansions, Fulham (home) — 1898-1900
— Temeside, Ludford, Shropshire (home) — 1901
— White House, Spondon, near Derby (home) — 1906-1907

BNA. Census 1841, 1861-1901. COPAC. Grace. NA.

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