explore ... who
A spark in someone's imagination — that's how all the greatest engineering feats began.
Explore this section to find out WHO had
those inspired sparks and how their lives helped shape the course of history.
© 2022 Engineering Timelines
Index of biographies
Benjamin  BAKER
Isambard Kingdom  BRUNEL
William  BRUNTON
George Thomas  CLARK
(junior) Thomas  DADFORD
William  EDWARDS
Oscar  FABER
Michael  FARADAY
Watkin  GEORGE
Caroline  HASLETT
Hugh Iorys  HUGHES
Anthony  HUNT
Edward Pritchard  MARTIN
Louis Gustave  MOUCHEL
Thomas  PARKER
(junior) Thomas  PENSON
Henry Habberley  PRICE
Benjamin  PIERCY
William Henry  PREECE
(senior) John  RENNIE
Peter  RICE
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Peter Rice
Peter Rice
One of the most imaginative and gifted structural engineers of the late 20th century, whose rigorous approach created poetic results.
born  16th June 1935, Ireland
died  25th October 1992, London, UK
Anthony Hunt
Anthony Hunt
Hunt's view of structures as a series of batch-produced components helped a generation of architects realise their High-Tech dreams.
born  22nd June 1932, Streatham Hill, London
Alex Moulton
Alex Moulton
Mechanical engineer Dr Alexander Eric Moulton is the man behind the revolutionary small-wheeled Moulton Bicycle, and a specialist in the design of suspension systems, starting with system used for the Mini, first released in 1959.
born  9th April 1920, Rother Place, Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, UK
died  9th December 2012, Bath, UK
Frank Whittle
Frank Whittle
RAF officer Frank Whittle is widely thought of as the 'father' of jet propulsion. His single-minded pursuit of a workable jet engine sped up its development during World War II.
born  1st June 1907, Earlsdon, Coventry
died  9th August 1996, Columbia, Maryland, USA
Hugh Iorys Hughes
Hugh Iorys Hughes
Welsh civil engineer Hugh Iorys Hughes, expert sailer, was instrumental in the top-secret Mulberry Harbour project in World War II, and went on to design significant concrete structures.
born  16th April 1902, 4 Garfield Terrace, Bangor, Gwynedd, Wales, UK
died  16th August 1977, West Mersea, Colchester, Essex, UK
Caroline Haslett
Caroline Haslett
A charasmatic and energetic pioneering electrical engineer who championed the practical application of electricity in the home and worked tirelessly to further the status of women in the profession.
born  17th August 1895, Worth, West Sussex
died  4th January 1957, Bungay, Suffolk
Ove Arup
Ove Arup
Considered one of the great structural engineers of the 20th century,
Arup strove for a perfect union of design and construction.
born  16th April 1895, Newcastle upon Tyne
died  5th February 1988, London
introduction  •  early education  •  Christiani & Nielsen  •  London  •  Lubetkin  •  war years  •  partnership  •  Sydney Opera House  •  Kingsgate  •  character  •  total design  •  selected works  •  sources
Sir Owen Williams
Owen Williams
Pioneering British exponent of the engineering and architecture
of concrete structures.
born  20th March 1890, Tottenham, London
died  23rd May 1969, Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordhsire
Oscar Faber
Oscar Faber
A great problem solver, Faber was hugely influential in the use of reinforced concrete in Britain, and one of the first to recognise the importance of M&E services in large buildings.
born  5th July 1886, London
died  7th May 1956, Harpendon, Hertfordshire
introduction  •  early life  •  early career  •  consultant  •  Bank of England  •  industry and aesthetics  •  WW II  •  House of Commons  •  return to concrete  •  character  •  selected works  •  sources
Guy Maunsell
Guy Maunsell
A civil engineer with brilliant ideas, noted for his practical maritime engineering and developments in pre-stressed concrete, which he used in the design of significant bridges in the UK and Australasia.
born  1884, Kashmir, India
died  20th June 1961, Southborough, Kent, UK
Robert Maillart
Robert Maillart
A Swiss structural engineer who revolutionised the use of reinforced concrete. His work on bridges and buildings challenged accepted design methods, and resulted in graceful structures of apparent simplicity.
born  6th February 1872, Berne, Switzerland
died  5th April 1940, Geneva, Switzerland
introduction  •  background  •  early works  •  exploring  •  Maillart & Cie  •  beamless construction  •  Russia  •  return  •  Salginatobel Bridge  •  final years  •  appreciation  •  selected works  •  sources
Adam Hunter
Adam Hunter
One of the great structural steelwork engineers and a pioneer in the fabrication and erection of large steel structures, Adam Hunter worked his whole career with major British contractor Sir William Arrol & Co.
born  23rd August 1869, Crossford, Fife, UK
died  1st November 1933, Rutherglen, Lanarkshire, UK
Louis Gustave Mouchel
Louis Gustave Mouchel
Mouchel introduced metal-reinforced concrete — ferro-concrete —
to UK construction, greatly influencing 20th century British civil engineering.
born  11th January 1852, Cherbourg, Normandy, France
died  27th May 1908, Cherbourg, Normandy, France
Edward Pritchard Martin
Edward Pritchard Martin
A Welsh engineer instrumental in British steelmaking progress, Edward Pritchard Martin championed the Thomas-Gilchrist process that revolutionised the industry. He ran several large ironworks in South Wales.
born  20th January 1844, Dowlais, Glamorgan, Wales, UK
died  25th September 1910, Hotel Majestic, Harrogate, Yorkshire, England, UK
Thomas Parker
Thomas Parker
A pioneer of the British electrical industry, Thomas Parker was described by Lord Kelvin as the "Edison of Europe". He was ahead of his time — a great inventor and entrepreneur.
born  22nd December 1843, Lincoln Hill, Coalbrookdale, Shropshire, UK
died  5th December 1915, Severn House, Ironbridge, Shropshire, UK
Sir Benjamin Baker
Benjamin Baker
Born at the height of the Industrial Revolution, Baker excelled in many fields. His best known work, the Forth Rail Bridge, is an icon of British design.
born  31st March 1840, Keyford, Frome, Somerset
died  19th May 1907, Bowden Green, Pangbourne, Berkshire
William Henry Preece
William Henry Preece
A Welsh electrical engineering pioneer who advanced the development of telegraphy, telephony and radio. He devised block signalling for railways and brought the first telephone into Britain.
born  15th February 1834, Bryn Helen, Caernarfon, Gwynedd, Wales, UK
died  6th November 1913, Penrhos, Caeathro, Caernarfon, Gwynedd, Wales, UK
Benjamin Piercy
Benjamin Piercy
Prolific Welsh railway engineer Benjamin Piercy worked on a great many Welsh and border lines, constructing railway viaducts and deep cuttings — and worked further afield in Sardinia, France, Italy and Myanmar.
born  16th March 1827, near Trefeglwys, Montgomeryshire, Wales, UK
died  24th March 1888, 15 Portman Square, London, UK
John Anderson
John Anderson
An important engineer in Victorian Britain, as he very effectively produced armaments for the British Army and Royal Navy, both of which underpinned the Empire.
born  9th December 1814, 19 Barron Street, Woodside, Aberdeen, UK
died  28th July 1886, St Leonard's-on-Sea, East Sussex, UK
George Thomas Clark
George Thomas Clark
Polymath George Thomas Clark was a medical man, civil engineer, ironmaster, philanthropist, and antiquary noted for castle studies. First working for I.K. Brunel, he later took charge of ironworks in Wales.
born  29th May 1809, Chelsea, London, UK
died  31st January 1898, Talygarn House, Talygarn, Rhondda Cynon Taff, Wales, UK
Isambard Kingdom Brunel
Isambard Kingdom Brunel
One of the most ambitious designers and energetic practitioners in civil engineering history.
born  9th April 1806, near Portsmouth
died  15th September 1859, London W1
John Miller
John Miller
One of the great British railway engineers and an outstanding designer of masonry viaducts — with more Scottish railways to his name than any other engineer.
born  26th July 1805, Ayr, Scotland, UK
died  8th May 1883, 2 Melville Crescent, Edinburgh, UK
Robert Stephenson
Robert Stephenson
His refinements to the steam engine made steam locomotion a viable form of transport, which he demonstrated with his famous prototype, Rocket.
born  16th October 1803, Newcastle upon Tyne
died  12th October 1859, London W2
Henry Habberley Price
Henry Habberley Price
Civil engineer and ironmaster Henry Habberley Price worked widely in Britain, including in South Wales. His lively career encompassed projects and ideas for river navigations, harbours and railways.
born  4th April 1794, Penryn, Falmouth, Cornwall, UK
died  (probably February) 1839, Brynglas, Neath, Glamorgan, Wales, UK
Michael Faraday
Michael Faraday
Faraday's discovery of the electric motor, electric transformer and electric generator laid the foundations of electrical engineering.
born  22nd September 1791, Newington Butts, London
died  25th August 1867, Hampton Court, Middlesex
Thomas Penson junior
Thomas Penson
Thomas Penson (jnr)'s prolific output as a civil engineer, surveyor and architect in Wales includes notable masonry and iron bridges, as well as buildings of all kinds. He was also part of an engineering mini-dynasty.
born  5th May 1790, probably Wrexham, Denbighshire, Wales, UK
died  20th May 1859, Bryn Tail farm, Groeswen, Caerphilly, Wales, UK
George Stephenson
George Stephenson
Father of the Railways, who created the railway system we know today. The story of his life parallels the rise and fall of Railway Mania in the 1830s and 40s.
born  9th June 1781, Wylam, Northumberland
died  12th August 1848, Chesterfield, Derbyshire
William Brunton
William Brunton
A civil engineer with a wide-ranging career in the early days of steam, holding many patents connected with heavy industrial processing, and working on engines, railways and ironworks — an "ingenious mechanist".
born  26th May 1777, Dalkeith, Midlothian, Scotland, UK
died  5th October 1851, Camborne, Cornwall, UK
George Overton
George Overton
Welshman George Overton was a leading builder of iron tramroads, designed principally for horse-drawn wagons. However, he is also strongly connected to the early days of steam.
born  1774, Glamorgan, Wales, UK
died  1827, Llanddetty, near Talybont-on-Usk, Powys, Wales, UK
Robert Stevenson
Robert Stevenson
Founder of the Stevenson dynasty of lighthouse engineers and responsible for the construction of Bell Rock Lighthouse, along with roads, canals, railways, and much else in Scotland.
born  8th June 1772, Glasgow, UK
died  12th July 1850, 1 Baxter's Place, Edinburgh, UK
Richard Trevithick
Richard Trevithick
Inventor of the steam locomotive, the 'Cornish giant' was an inveterate innovator who managed to harness the power of steam at high pressures.
born  13th April 1771, (now) 35 Station Road, Pool, Cornwall, UK
died  22nd April 1833, The Bull Inn, Dartford, Kent, UK
John Rennie senior
John Rennie
A resourceful and original civil engineer who dominated his profession. Best known for canals, docks and bridges, including London Bridge (1831).
born  7th June 1761, Phantassie estate, East Lothian, Scotland, UK
died  4th October 1821, Stamford (now Rennie) Street, London, UK
Thomas Dadford
Thomas Dadford
Thomas Dadford (jnr) came from a family of pioneering canal builders whose work played a vital role in the industrial development of Wales. He worked on more than 15 major canal projects.
born  c.1760, (possibly) Wolverhampton, West Midlands, UK
died  2nd April 1801, Crickhowell, Brecknock, Powys, Wales, UK
Watkin George
Watkin George
Watkin George is remembered for his contribution to the development of early iron bridges. His works include the world's oldest-known cast iron tramway bridge, which served an ironworks in Wales.
born  c.1759, Trevethin, Pontypool, Wales, UK
died  10th August 1822, Trevethin, Pontypool, Wales, UK
Thomas Telford
Thomas Telford
The first president of the Institution of Civil Engineers and considered to be one of the great civil engineers of all time.
born  9th August 1757, Glendinning (farm), Westerkirk, Dumfriesshire
died  2nd September 1834, 24 Abingdon Street, London
John Smeaton
John Smeaton
Smeaton laid the foundations for civil engineering as a profession.
born  8th June 1724, Austhorpe Lodge, Whitkirk, West Yorkshire
died  28th October 1792, Austhorpe Lodge, Whitkirk, West Yorkshire
William Edwards
William Edwards
A Welshman who rose from humble beginnings to become a bridge builder of note, constructing what was Britain's longest extant masonry span for over 70 years, the distinctive design of which is still studied today.
born  1719, Ty Canol farm, Groeswen, Caerphilly, Wales, UK
died  7th August 1789, Bryn Tail farm, Groeswen, Caerphilly, Wales, UK
Newcomen engine
Thomas Newcomen
The modern world’s first great mechanical engineer, creator of the first practical steam engine.
born  24th February 1663/4, Foss Street, Dartmouth, Devon, UK
died  5th August 1729, Bermondsey, London, UK
Sorocold\'s signature
George Sorocold
Water engineer Sorocold changed the lives of people in urban Britain and contributed to the first steps in the industrialisation of the country.
born  possibly 1658, Eccles near Manchester, UK
died  date and place unknown
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