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Sir John Aird, first baronet (1833–1911) by Sir Benjamin Stone, 1897 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Aird, Sir John, first baronet (1833–1911), civil engineering contractor, was born on 3 December 1833 in Greenwich, the second son of eight children of John Aird (1800–1876), contractor, and Agnes (d. 1869), daughter of Charles Bennett of Lambeth. His grandfather Robert Aird...

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Austin, Henry (1811/12–1861), civil engineer and sanitarian, was the son of William Austin, medical practitioner, of Bloomsbury Square, London. Two sisters and at least one brother survived to adulthood. Austin was a pupil of Robert Stephenson, with whom he worked on the London and Birmingham and London and Blackwall railways...

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Beaver, Sir Hugh Eyre Campbell (1890–1967), brewer and civil engineer, was born in Johannesburg on 4 May 1890, the eldest of three sons of Hugh Edward Campbell Beaver, landowner of Montgomeryshire, and his wife, Cerise, daughter of John Eyre, who was of Anglo-Irish extraction. ...

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Bragge, William (1823–1884), civil engineer and steel manufacturer, was born at Birmingham on 31 May 1823, the third son of Thomas Perry Bragge, a manufacturing jeweller. After some years of general tuition, Bragge studied practical engineering with two Birmingham firms, and in his leisure applied himself closely to the study of mechanics and mathematics. In 1845 he entered the office of a civil engineer, and soon after engaged in railway surveying. He acted first as assistant engineer and then as engineer-in-chief of part of the line from ...

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Brassey, Thomas (1805–1870), civil engineering contractor, was born on 7 November 1805 at Buerton, near Audlem, Cheshire, the son of John Brassey, landowner, and his wife, Elizabeth. He had two brothers and one sister. Brassey attended Mr Harting's school in Chester and then, at the age of sixteen, was apprenticed to a land surveyor and agent named ...

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Thomas Brassey (1805–1870) by George Zobel (after Frederick Newenham, in or before 1850) courtesy of the Institution of Civil Engineers Archives

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Burt family (per. c. 1830–1964), building contractors and civil engineers, achieved prominence with John Mowlem (1788–1868), contractor. He was born at Carrants Court Cottages, Swanage, Dorset, on 12 October 1788, the third child and eldest son of John Mowlem (1751–1837), quarryman, of a family long established there, and his wife, ...

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Chance, Sir James Timmins, first baronet (1814–1902), glass manufacturer and lighthouse engineer, was born in Birmingham on 22 March 1814, the eldest of the six sons of William Chance (1788–1856), merchant and glass manufacturer, of Spring Grove, Birmingham, and his wife, Phoebe (...

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Sir William Cubitt (1785–1861) by Samuel Bellin (after Sir William Boxall, exh. RA 1849) © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Cubitt, Sir William (1785–1861), civil engineer and millwright, was born at Dilham, Norfolk, the son of Joseph Cubitt, miller, and his wife, Hannah, née Lubbock. He was educated at Dilham village school, and also had access to the libraries of two local clergymen, ...

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Alsager Vian

revised by Ralph Harrington

Edwards, William (1719–1789), bridge-builder, youngest son of a farmer of the same name, was born in the parish of Eglwysilan, near Caerphilly, Glamorgan. The skill which he displayed in the construction of drystone walls for his father's fields early attracted notice, and at the age of twenty he was employed to build a large iron forge at ...

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Ellis, Sir William Henry (1860–1945), civil engineer and iron and steel manufacturer, was born at Thurnscoe Hall, near Rotherham, Yorkshire, on 20 August 1860. He was fourth of five sons and one daughter of John Devonshire Ellis (1824–1906), a founding partner of John Brown & Co....

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Sir William Henry Ellis (1860–1945) by Ernest Moore © Institution of Civil Engineers; collection National Portrait Gallery, London

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James Burnley

revised by Mike Chrimes

Gibb, John (1776–1850), civil engineer and contractor, was born on 13 October 1776 at Kirkcows, near Falkirk, the son of William Gibb (1736–1791), contractor. The elder Gibb died when John was fifteen and he served an apprenticeship to a mechanic. He was then employed as contractor's assistant, and later as subordinate engineer by a relative, a ...

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Handyside, Andrew (1805–1887), iron founder and engineer, was born on 25 July 1805 in Edinburgh, the son of Hugh Handyside, ironmonger, and Margaret Baird. As a young man he followed the example of his brother William Handyside (1793–1850) by going to work with his uncle ...

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Hooley, Edgar Purnell (1860–1942), surveyor and road builder, was born on 5 June 1860 at Brunswick Street, Swansea, the son of Charles Hooley, commercial traveller, and his wife, Elizabeth Phillips, née Purnell. Nothing is known about his education, but following a short period in the office of the surveyor to the ...

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Horne, Sir William Cornelius Van (1843–1915), railway builder and financier in Canada, was born on 3 February 1843 at Chelsea, Will county, Illinois, USA, the eldest son of Cornelius Covenhoven Van Horne, lawyer, and his second wife, Mary Minier Richards. His father's ancestors had emigrated from the ...

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Jackson, Sir John (1851–1919), civil engineer and engineering contractor, was born on 4 February 1851 at 15 Coney Street, York, the youngest of the five children of Edward Jackson (1789–1859), goldsmith, and his wife, Elizabeth, daughter of David Ruddock of Horbury, Yorkshire. They were members of the ...

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Jay, John (1805–1872), building and civil engineering contractor, was born on 22 January 1805 at Buckingham (now Buckenham Parva), Norfolk, the second son and sixth child of John Jay (1765/6–1848), builder and innkeeper, and Susannah, née Armsby (1767/8–1861). He married Esther Wilson (1806–1888)...