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Birthplace of John Smeaton
Austhorpe Lodge, Austhorpe Lane, Whitkirk, West Yorkshire, UK
Birthplace of John Smeaton
associated engineer
John Smeaton
date  1724
era  Georgian  |  category  Birthplace of Engineer  |  reference  SE370339
photo  Percival Skelton, after T.Sutcliffe
The extraordinarily prolific engineer John Smeaten FRS (1724 - 92) was born at Austhorpe Lodge, Whitkirk, near Leeds. The house was built by his grandfather and Smeaton would return to it after making his name in London, basing his practice there. Smeaton was one of the first people to call himself a civil engineer.
Smeaton's family came from York, where his great grandfather was a watchmaker and Freeman of the city. His grandfather also called John left York for business in Leeds, where he prospered sufficiently to build Austhorpe Lodge on 2.4h near the hamlet of Whitkirk, in 1698. The Lodge and its gatehouse have been demolished but they were located just south of Austhorpe Hall (1694) on Austhorpe Lane.
Some sources give Smeaton's birthdate as 28th May instead of the 8th of June. England moved from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar in 1752, jumping dates forward by 12 days. Thus he was born on the 8th June 1724 and baptised in Whitkirk church on 22nd June.
His father William was a lawyer , practicing in Leeds. His mother was Mary Stones from the hamlet of Beal on the south bank of the River Aire. Smeaton was the eldest of three siblings: he had a brother called William, who died at the age of 4 years, and a sister called Hannah. He was educated at Leeds Grammar School. Smeaton was a shy boy with his peers but showed precocious interest in the practical world from an early age.
His career was to mirror the developments of the Industrial Revolution and to influence the work of engineers in many fields. He was to lay the foundations for the profession of civil engineering. Probably his most well-known achievement is the building of Eddystone Lighthouse off Plymouth.
reference sources   OSHJS

Birthplace of John Smeaton