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came from an old City family. His father, John Eckstein, a freeman of
the City had died at the age of thirty-three. His son, William, born
in 1846 and one of seven children, had been educated at the City of
London School and had been trained as a mechanical engineer. His first
practical knowledge was gained while working for two well-known firms
of engineers, Messrs. Benham and Sons and Messrs. Henry Clayton and
He was an ambitious young man, and when he was
twenty-one decided to try for the Indian Civil Service, for which
purpose he studied under W. Parcey of Westminster who was engaged at
that date in designing some of the chief railway bridges for the Indian
Trunk Lines. Concurrently, young William Eckstein studied mathematics,
surveying and other subjects at King's College, eventually passing the
necessary examination for the Indian Civil Service. In 1868, he set out
for this new life and after a short time in Calcutta was posted to the
North Western Province where his first two years were spent
superintending various military and other works at Allahabad, Cawnpore,
Meerut and elsewhere. Later assignment included construction works in
the Chakrata hills, the charge of the upper section of the Hill Cart
Road and the building of a suspension bridge over the Jumna on the
Mussoorie Road. Bridges were to play an important part in Haywards'
history many years after Eckstein was gone. The Bengal famine year
of 1874 found the young man drafted to the Tirhut district where he
carried out certain relief works in Muzaffarpur, Bettiah and elsewhere.
The climate, however, did not suit him and after a further two years
in other branches of the service, he returned to England having been
absent for eight years. He was then still under thirty.
At that time, William Hayward was in poor health
and his brother, Edward, had just died. Here was a young and experienced
engineer, a man of inventive bent, who could relieve him of much of the
burden he had carried alone since Edward's death.
For the initial period, William Eckstein acted
in a purely managerial capacity but the frequent absence of William