Charles Augustus Hartley

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Sir Charles Augustus Hartley (February 3, 1825 – February 20, 1915) was an eminent British engineer in the Victorian era. Through his extensive work mapping the longest river in western Europe he became known as 'The Father of the Danube.'


Hartley was born in 1825 at Heworth, Gateshead, County Durham. Like most engineers of his generation he was engaged in railway work in the early part of his career, but subsequently he devoted himself to hydraulic engineering and the improvement of estuaries and harbors for the purposes of navigation. He was employed in connection with some of the largest and most important waterways of the world.

After serving in the Crimean war (1853 - Feb 1856) as a captain of engineers in the Anglo-Turkish contingent, he was appointed engineer-in-chief for the works carried out by the European Commission of the Danube for improving the navigation at the mouths of that river, and that position he retained till 1872, when he became consulting engineer to the Commission. In 1875 he was one of the committee appointed by the authority of the United States Congress to report on the works necessary to form and maintain a deep channel through the south pass of the Mississippi delta; and in 1884 the British government nominated him a member of the international technical commission for widening the Suez Canal. In addition, he was consulted by the British and other governments in connection with many other river and harbor works, including the improvement of the navigation of the Scheldt, Hooghly, Don, and Dnieper, and of the ports of Odessa, Trieste, Kustendjie (at present Constanţa), Burgas, Varna, and Durban. He was knighted in 1862, and became K.C.M.G. in 1884.


  • Description of the Delta of the Danube (1874)
  • Notes on Public Works in the United States and Canada (1875)



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