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Betts, Edward Ladd (1815–1872), railway contractor, was born on 5 June 1815 at Buckland, near Dover, the eldest son of William Betts (d. 1867), contractor's agent, of Sandown, Kent, and his first wife, Elizabeth Hayward, daughter of Edward Ladd of Buckland. Betts...

Article

G. C. Boase

revised by Mike Chrimes

Dargan, William (1799–1867), railway contractor, was born at Crossleigh, Queen's county, on 28 February 1799, the son of Patrick Dargan (1755/6–1833), a tenant farmer, and his wife, Elizabeth (1770/71–1813). He had at least three brothers and three sisters who survived to adulthood. After attending a school at ...

Article

Firbank, Joseph (1819–1886), railway contractor, was born at Bishop Auckland on the south-western edge of the north-east coalfield, the son of Ralph Firbank (1788–1866), a Durham miner, and his wife, Barbara, née Thompson (1790–1874). At the age of seven he was sent to work in a colliery, and attended a night school. In 1833 he obtained employment on the permanent way, and in 1841 secured a sub-contract in connection with the ...

Article

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 ...

Article

R. B. Prosser

revised by Ralph Harrington

James, William (1771–1837), land agent and railway developer, was born at Henley in Arden, Warwickshire, on 13 June 1771, the son of William James, a solicitor. He was educated at Warwick, and at a school at Winson Green, near Birmingham. After serving his articles he returned about 1797 to ...

Article

Mackenzie, Sir William (1849–1923), Canadian railway builder and financier, was born in Eldon township, Victoria County, Upper Canada (now Ontario), on 30 October 1849, the fifth son of John Mackenzie, farmer, and his wife, Mary, daughter of John Maclaughlin, who had come after their marriage from ...

Image

John Loudon McAdam (1756–1836) by unknown artist, c. 1830 © National Portrait Gallery, London

Article

McAdam, John Loudon (1756–1836), builder and administrator of roads, was born in the west-coast town of Ayr, at 22 Sandgate, on 21 September 1756, the youngest child and second son of James McAdam of Waterhead (c.1718–1770), and his wife, Susannah Cochrane (...

Article

Peto, Sir (Samuel) Morton, first baronet (1809–1889), contractor for railways and public works, was born on 4 August 1809 at Whitmoor House, Woking, Surrey, the eldest son of William Peto (d. 1849) of Cookham, Berkshire, farmer, and his wife, Sophia, daughter of ...

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Sir (Samuel) Morton Peto, first baronet (1809–1889) by Camille Silvy, 1861 © National Portrait Gallery, London

Article

Reid, Sir Robert Gillespie (1842–1908), railway contractor and entrepreneur in Canada, was born on 12 October 1842 in Coupar Angus, Perthshire, Scotland, the son of William Robertson Reid, a linen miller, and his wife, Catherine Gillespie. He was educated locally, and trained as a stonemason. In 1865, drawn by the gold rush, he emigrated to ...

Article

Weston, Sir Richard (1591–1652), canal builder and agriculturist, was the eldest son of Sir Richard Weston (1564–1613), of Sutton, Surrey, and great-grandson of Sir Francis Weston. His family was quite distinct from those of the first earl of Portland and of Sir Richard Weston...

Article

Young, James (1810–1891), railway contractor, was born on 10 February 1810 at Littlemill, near Kilmacolm, Renfrewshire, Scotland, the son of James Young, farmer and local contractor, and his wife, Margaret Glover. He had at least one brother. He was educated at the parish school, and then worked as an overseer on the building of the ...