William Haywood (engineer)

William J. Haywood (8 December 1821 – 13 April 1894) was a surveyor and an engineer to the City of London Commissioners of Sewers. He was also known as an architect.

Personal life

William Haywood was born as the eldest of three children in Camberwell. His father was probably also called William Haywood. Nothing is known about his mother. In the census of 1871 he was no longer alone and living in Maida Vale.

He died at 56 Hamilton Terrace, Maida Vale, on 13 April 1894.[1]


He was probably educated in Camberwell. There are records suggesting he went to Camberwell Grammar School. Later he trained with George Aitchison (1792–1861).


With Joseph Bazalgette he was responsible for the enormous undertaking of improving the London sewerage system, which enabled the growth of the city (Abbey Mills pumping station). He worked with James Bunning on the Holborn Viaduct.[1]

His main work is the City of London Cemetery and Crematorium. The facility was built near Little Ilford (now Manor Park) as a way of relieving the appalling overcrowding of London's church burial grounds (described e.g. in Dickens's 'Bleak House'). As the City was redeveloped the remains from many of its churchyards were reinterred there. Haywood was a pioneer of cemetery reform.

There is a small Gothic mausoleum near the gates of The City of London Cemetery and Crematorium containing his ashes.

Other activities

It has been suggested that William Haywood was the anonymous author 'Walter' of the erotic memoir My Secret Life.[2]

In 1858 Haywood was one of the founders of the Geologists' Association.[3][4]


  1. Beare, Thomas Hudson (1901). "Haywood, William (1821–1894)" . Dictionary of National Biography (1st supplement). London: Smith, Elder & Co.
  2. John Patrick Pattinson, The man who was Walter, in Victorian Literature and Culture, Cambridge University Press, 2002, pp. 19–40
  3. "A true amateur". Geoscientist Online. July 2008. Retrieved 6 April 2016.
  4. Freeman, Eric F., (1994) "In search of W.J. Haywood"; Proceedings of the Geologists' Association Volume 105; pp. 161–166;

Further reading

  • The government of Victorian London, 1855–1889: the Metropolitan Board of Works, The Vestries and The City Corporation; Owen, David Edward and Roy M. MacLeod; reprinted in 1982 by the Harvard University Press. 480pp. ISBN 0-674-35885-6
  • Public sculpture of the City of London; Ward-Jackson, Philip; Liverpool University Press; 2003; 680pp; ISBN 978-0-85323-977-2.
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