WILLCOCKS, Sir William.
The Irrigation of Mesopotamia.
First edition. Trained at the Thomason Civil Engineering College at Roorkee in 1874 Willcocks became personal assistant to Colin Scott-Moncrieff, superintending engineer on the construction of the Ganges Canal. when Scott-Moncrieff became director of irrigation in Egypt in 1883 Willcocks accompanied him; “In Egypt, Willcocks had to contend with a variety of nations and languages, and the ingrained practice of bribery, against which he resolutely turned his face. Eccentric, voluble, and excitable by temperament, he found it difficult to agree to differ with his chiefs and colleagues, and in his thirteen years in Egypt he was not promoted … During this period Willcocks surveyed and levelled from Cairo to Wadi Halfa, explored the upper Nile for possible sites for reservoir dams, and lectured on irrigation and applied mechanics at the Polytechnical School where he also presided over examinations” (ODNB). He was manager of the Cairo Water Company from 1897 to 1899, then until 1905 managing director of the Daira Sania Land Company, which acquired 250,000 acres of land which were sold for agricultural purposes. “In 1901 he spent three months in south Africa, during the South African War, advising on irrigation schemes … In the winter of 1904–5 he went to Mesopotamia, then under Turkish rule, where in 1908–10 he achieved the remarkable feat of surveying the water resources of the whole country and drew up plans to revitalize once more the lands of the ‘two rivers'”. This text was accompanied by a large portfolio of plates, which is almost invariably missing. Uncommon, particularly so in the jacket.
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Octavo. Original sage green morocco-grained cloth, title gilt to the spine and to the upper board together with the author’s monogram in gilt and a palm tree device in darker green. With the dust jacket. Numerous tables to the text. A little bumped at the corners and head and tail of the spine, light browning to the text, some foxing to the endpapers, but a very good copy indeed in slightly browned jacket with a few short closed tears and minor chips, some archival tissue repairs verso, but largely complete.