Innovation, Improvement and Relief...
Thomas Hawksley attended Nottingham High School at the age of 14 in 1821. His abilities in mathematics and science, enabled him to pioneer the first method of constant supply of filtered water which transformed the homes of working people in British and European cities from the 1830’s onwards. Clean water saved lives.
John Peake Knight attended the school from 1838-41 but left to work on the Midland Railway with his brothers. Progressing to General manager and Engineer of the London, Brighton & South Coast Railway Company Peake designed many new safety features including signals and significantly reduced accidents on the railways. He then adapted his signals for road use, operated by traffic policemen and patented his traffic light in 1868, the first traffic light in the world.
Hawksley also designed the Nottingham Mechanics Institute building on Milton Street in 1845, an organisation funded in large part by the philanthropy of Nottingham’s wealthy manufacturers, for the town’s artisans and working men to attend lectures and training. The growing demand for adult education of quality including technical education and mechanical engineering, led to the establishment of the University College which, following the endowment of another Old Nottinghamian Jesse Boot ,became the University of Nottingham in 1948.