Adam Hunter
The 1930s cut short
The 1930s began with the celebration of marriage of Adam Hunter's daughter, Ruth Whiting Hunter (1901-92). She married Ian Sinclair Phillips (1905-64) on 23rd June 1930 at the University of Glasgow's memorial chapel, in a Church of Scotland ceremony. The groom was the son of Scotsman James William Phillips (1873-1934), and was living at 8 Endsleigh Street in London at the time of the wedding. The newlyweds moved into a semi-detached house at 22 Windermere Avenue, Wembley, Middlesex.
On the work front, the end of the 1920s and beginning of the 1930s was as busy as ever for Hunter. He remained a director of Sir William Arrol & Co Ltd.
The company was well known for its rolling lift bridges, and Hunter was responsible for three built between 1928-31 at Birkenhead Docks on Merseyside. The bridges — at Duke Street, Tower Road and Egerton Wharf — were similar in design, with raised control houses and Scherzer lift mechanisms, which had been invented and patented by brothers William (1858-93) and Albert H. Scherzer (1865-1916) of Chicago. Only Tower Road Bridge remains in regular use. Another rolling lift bridge with a Scherzer mechanism was built at Shadwell Dock basin in London.
Two more of the iconic giant cantilever cranes were installed too, one with a lifting capacity of 254 tonnes at the Walker Shipyard in Newcastle upon Tyne (1929-31) and one of 178 tonnes at Stobcross Quay (Finnieston) in Glasgow (1932), though Arrol provided only the foundations for the latter.
Hunter was working on projects in Britain and overseas, though there were fewer overseas projects than formerly. Between 1930-3 he was concerned primarily with bridges, and all six foreign contracts in that time were for bridges, as were 22 of the 29 schemes he worked on in the UK.
In 1930 and 1933, he worked on projects in the Caribbean, Africa and the Middle East. These included road and railway bridges in Jamaica, Tsoelike Suspension Bridge carrying a road in Lesotho, and cylinders for Mosul Bridge in Iraq.
In Scotland, Hunter and Arrol were busy with five opening bridges over the Forth & Clyde Canal and three swing bridges over the Caledonian Canal. The Caledonian Canal bridges all carry the A82 in the Highland region — at Laggan, Aberchalder and Fort Augustus.
The Forth & Clyde Canal had three steel bridges in Glasgow, all operated electrically — Balmore Road Lift Bridge in Lambhill, which replaced a timber bascule bridge; Boulevard Lift Bridge (demolished 1968) carried Great Western Road; and Temple Lift Bridge (replaced by the present four-lane bridge) carried Bearsden Road. There were two other Arrol-constructed bridges, both now demolished — Townhead Swing Bridge, removed when the canal was culverted at Kirkintilloch, Dunbartonshire (culvert now replaced); and Dalgrain Swing Bridge in Grangemouth, which carried Glensburgh Road (replaced by the present non-opening Kerse Bridge).
Other canal-related projects included Westquarter Swing Bridge over the Union Canal at the Imperial Chemical Industries Ltd (Nobel) factory near Polmont in Falkirk — close to the home of Scottish railway engineer John Miller (1805-83).
Arrol also installed lock gates and five swing bridges on the Manchester Ship Canal. West to east, the bridges are Old Quay Bridge in Runcorn, and in Warrington Chester Road Swing Bridge, Moore Lane Swing Bridge carrying Northwich Road (now Wilderspool Causeway) and Knutsford Road Swing Bridge.
Hunter was responsible for the construction of four railway bridges and four road bridges at this time, including the reconstruction of Streatham Road Rail Bridge in London. The road bridges included King's Bridge over the River Clyde at Govan in Glasgow, and Rossie Island Road Bridge at Montrose in Angus, Scotland. There was also more work for Hunter at the Royal Navy Oil Terminal at Lyness on Hoy, Orkney, where he had worked at the start of World War I.
He was involved too in the construction of factories and industrial works. From 1917 to 1932 he worked on nine such projects, five in Scotland and four in England.
However, tragedy was just around the corner. In 1932, Hunter first felt the affects of the illness he contracted that was to prove fatal all too soon — thought to be a cerebral haemmorhage or a stroke. He resigned the post of Chief Engineer and stepped down from his directorship but he continued to work as a consultant for Arrol.
One of the last projects he worked on, in 1933, was the large-diameter 488m steel pipeline designed to carry water from the tunnel leading out of Clatteringshaws Loch to the Glenlee Hydroelectric Power Station in Galloway (built 1931-35).
Adam Hunter died on the 1st November 1933, at home — The Grove, a large detached house at 34 Buchanan Drive, Rutherglen, south east of Glasgow. The death was notified by his brother Peter Hunter who was present. He was survived by his wife Lottie and daughter Ruth. He was 64 years old.
All items by Adam Hunter  •  Everything built ... 1869 - 1933
main reference  BDCE3
portrait of Adam Hunter  courtesy Roland Paxton

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Adam Hunter
This biography was funded by
the ICE R&D Panel
Institution of Civil Engineers
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