CONTRACTORS have uncovered more than they bargained for at Shoreham Port.
A stone carving, depicting engineer John Birch Paddon and dating back to the start of the last century, was found by Adenstar staff working on a new grain storage facility at Shoreham Silo Services.
Research undertaken by the port authority since the find, at the start of the month, has discovered Mr Paddon lived from 1825-1910.
He formed the firm of Paddon and Ford to work his various patents for improvements in gas-meters and governors, and his designs for scrubbers, gasholders and wind-ties are widely used to this day.
In 1860, he was appointed engineer and manager of the Brighton and Hove Gas Company, becoming director in 1886 and chairman in 1900.
Acting as consultant engineer, he designed and constructed gasworks in Portslade, Southampton, Lewes and Winchester, among others.
Deputy port engineer, Brian Rousell, said he and his colleagues were delighted with the find.
He added: “We knew there was going to be a legacy of the old gasworks in this area, and were expecting obstructions to the piling, but this is a great piece of local history that honours the important work of one of my predecessors at the Institution of Civil Engineers. “I would like to think I could leave a similar mark on the port at the end of a long and distinguished career.”
Research also found Mr Paddon was a director of the Gas Light and Coke Company as well as Justice of the Peace for Glamorgan in his time.
He was elected an associate of the Institution of Civil Engineers on December 3, 1861, and was transferred to the class of members on November 21, 1871.
The port authority plans to restore the artefact, and put it on public display, said a spokeswoman.
Work started on the state-of-the-art building, at the Basin Road South part of the site, started in November, and the port spokeswoman said they were progressing well, despite the unexpected stop.
The carving was found during ground works, while contractors were excavating to remove obstructions to the driven reinforced concrete piles.
Born in Ilfracombe, Mr Paddon spent a considerable period living in Hove, and died in Neath, Glamorgan.