Williams was admitted to the Chemical Society on 16 Jan. 1862, and was made F.R.S. on 5 June 1862. A versatile conversationalist, he possessed literary and artistic tastes, and in the intervals of chemical research gave much attention to Egyptian hieroglyphics.
He died at his home, Bay Cottage, Smallfields, Horley, on 15 June 1910, and was buried at Streatham. He married on 25 Nov. 1852 Henrietta, daughter of Henry Bosher of Taunton (she predeceased him), and had issue four sons and four daughters.
[Proc. Roy. Soc. vol. lxxxv. A; Journ. of Gas Lighting, cx., cxi.; Journ. Soc. Chem. Industry, vol. xxix.; Athenæum, 25 June 1910; Poggendorff's Handwörterbuch, Bd. iii. (1898); Roy. Soc. Catal. Sci. Papers; Nature, 7 July 1910.]
WILLIAMS, Sir EDWARD LEADER (1828–1910), engineer of the Manchester Ship Canal, born at Worcester on 28 April 1828, was eldest of the eleven children of Edward Leader Williams. Benjamin Williams Leader, R.A., is a brother. In 1842 his father was appointed chief engineer to the Severn navigation commissioners, and his improvements transformed that river into an important waterway for many years. Williams was educated privately, and being apprenticed at sixteen to his father, worked until 1846 on the Severn between Stourport and Gloucester. During the next three years he was engaged as assistant engineer under Joseph Cubitt [q. v.] in Lincolnshire on the Great Northern railway. He was resident engineer on the extensive works of Shoreham harbour from 1849 to 1852, and engineer to the contractors for the Admiralty pier at Dover from 1852 to 1855. In 1856 he became engineer to the River Weaver Trust, and thenceforth devoted himself entirely to works for inland navigation. He placed the river Weaver in the front rank of English waterways, deepening and widening it, enlarging the locks, and introducing steam traction; thus practically the whole of the salt traffic from Northwich and Winsford to Liverpool was secured. In order to establish through traffic with the Trent and Mersey canal, which the Weaver crosses at Anderton, Leader Williams designed, with Edwin Clark, an hydraulic lift for raising or lowering canal-boats from one to the other (see Proc. Inst. of Civil Eng. xlv. 107). In 1872, before the lift was completed, Williams became engineer to the Bridgewater Navigation Company. Here he enlarged the locks at Runcorn, deepened the canal from 4 ft. 6 ins. to 6 ft., and introduced steam propulsion, which he facilitated by building an almost vertical wall on one side of the canal for about thirty miles.
In 1882 Leader Williams became, jointly with Hamilton N. Fulton, engineer to the provisional committee which was considering the formation of a ship canal to Manchester. Fulton had previously put forward a project for a tidal canal. Each engineer submitted a proposal. The committee adopted Williams's proposal to use the tidal channel of the Mersey as far as practicable, and then to cut a canal with four huge locks for raising ships gradually to the level of Manchester. He was thereupon appointed chief engineer. Parliament refused the necessary powers in 1883 and 1884, but granted them in 1885. The three years' contest occupied 175 days, and cost 250,000l. The failure of the first two applications was due largely to the opposition of the Mersey docks and harbour board, who feared that the proposed training and deepening of the tidal channel through the Mersey would affect the navigation of the estuary. Leader Williams thereupon modified his proposals in regard to the lower portion of the projected waterway. In 1887 a contract for the construction of the canal was entered into with T. A. Walker, at a cost of 5,750,000l., and the first sod was cut at Eastham by Lord Egerton of Tatton on 11 Nov. 1887. In 1889, however, Walker died, and the work was ultimately let in sections to several contractors. The lower portion of the canal was first used for traffic in Sept. 1891, and the whole canal on 1 Jan. 1894; the canal was formally opened by Queen Victoria on 21 May 1894 (for technical description of the work see four papers in the Proc. Inst. Civil Eng. cxxxi., two by Williams, ‘The Manchester Ship-Canal’ and ‘The Manchester Ship-Canal: Mersey Estuary Embankments and other Works—Runcorn Division,’ and two by (Sir) Whately Eliot and Mr. Meade-King, on the Eastham and Irlam divisions respectively; Engineering, 26 Jan. 1894, with illustrations; Sir Bosdin Leech, History of the Manchester Ship Canal, &c., 2 vols. 1907). The canal is 35½ miles in length from the entrance locks at Eastham to the Manchester docks, and has a minimum width of 120 feet at the bottom. It crosses five lines of railway and the Bridgewater canal at Barton, where Williams employed a device suggested by the Anderton canal lift. The docks at Manchester and Salford have an area of 104 acres and five miles of quay frontage. The total