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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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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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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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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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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)...

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Sir John William Laing (1879–1978) by Arthur Ralph Middleton Todd, exh. RA 1949 ? reserved; private collection

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Laing, Sir John William (1879–1978), builder and civil engineering contractor, was born on 24 September 1879 at 21 Newcastle Street, Carlisle, the third but only surviving son of John Laing (1842–1924) and his wife, Sarah, née Wood (1845–1924). His father was the son of ...

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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 ...

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Mason, Sir Thomas (1844–1924), civil engineering contractor, was born in Airdrie, Lanarkshire, Scotland, the son of John Mason, builder, and his wife, Marion Hamilton. He was educated at Anderson's University, Glasgow, before starting an apprenticeship as a mason. In 1861 he moved to ...

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

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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 (...

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Sir Robert McAlpine, , first baronet 1847–1934 by H. Walter Barnett, c. 1932 ? National Portrait Gallery, London

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McAlpine family (per. c. 1870–1967), civil engineering contractors, came to prominence with Sir Robert McAlpine first baronet (1847–1934). He was born on 13 February 1847 in Newarthill, Lanarkshire, the second of four children and elder son of Robert McAlpine (1816–1853), a colliery manager, and ...