Smeaton and Rennie
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Ed.—in this online transcription of Smiles's 'Smeaton and Rennie', I have added a number of images to those originally published, mainly to illustrate their work of those engineers as it exists today.  Additional images are listed separately in the index at the bottom of this page.  Captions, together with footnotes prefixed "Ed.", are my own.


 

CONTENTS.

――――♦――――

INTRODUCTORY CHAPTERS.
____________

CHAPTER I.

SHIPPING AND HARBOURS.
Commercial and maritime greatness of England comparatively modern—Commerce conducted by foreigners—English adventurers—Supremacy of the Dutch—English and foreign piracy—English harbours—The Cob at Lyme Regis—Dover—Yarmouth—Docks at Liverpool—Docks on the Thames—The Thames the silent highway—Travelling by sea—Passage by ferries.


CHAPTER II.

BEACONS AND LIGHTHOUSES.
Origin of lighthouses—Island of Pharos—Roman lighthouses at Boulogne and Dover—Whitby--The Saxon shore—Norse lighthouses—Flamborough—Pitch-pots on the south coast—Lights at Winchelsea—Dungeness—St. Catherine's Lighthouse—Lights by coal fires—The Trinity House—Jobbing of Lighthouses—Smalls Rock, Bristol—The Skerries—Eddystone—Rye and Arundel Lights—False Lights—The Tour de Cordovan.


CHAPTER III.

OLD BRIDGES.
Old fords—Necessity for bridges—Ancient British bridges on Dartmoor—Roman bridges—Early English bridges—St. Swithin's, at Winchester—Croyland Bridge—Bow Bridge—Order of Brothers of the Norwich, Bridge—Bridge &c.—Rochester Bridges built by the early Churchmen at Burton, Norwich, Wade, &c.—Rochester Bridge—Wakefield Bridge—Monmouth Bridge—Llanrwst Bridge.


CHAPTER IV.

OLD LONDON BRIDGE.
Thames Ferry, between London and Southwark—John Overy and St. Mary Overy—The first London Bridge of wood—Rebuilt of stone—The foundations—Time occupied in the building—Description of the old bridge—The piers, roadway, and street—A second bridge on the Thames opposed—Westminster Bridge built by Labelye—Blackfriars Bridge—The Mylnes, engineers.


CHAPTER V.

WILLIAM EDWARDS, BRIDGE BUILDER.
Memoir of William Edwards—His early life—Learns drystone wall-building—Self- education—Builds iron forges—Studies the ruins of Caerphilly Castle—His three successive bridges over the Taff—Pont-y-Prydd—His other bridges—His character—His sons also bridge builders.
――――♦――――


LIFE OF JOHN SMEATON.
____________

CHAPTER I.

SMEATON'S BOYHOOD AND EDUCATION.
John Smeaton's birth and education—Leeds at the beginning of last century—Road communications of the neighbourhood—Austhorpe Lodge—Smeaton's mechanical amusements—Leeds Grammar-school—Smeaton's workshop—Hindley's account of his boyish occupations.


CHAPTER II.

SMEATON LEARNS THE TRADE OF MATHEMATICAL INSTRUMENT MAKER.
Placed in an attorney's office—Attends the Law Courts in Westminster Hall—Learns the trade of mathematical instrument maker—Attends meetings of the Royal Society—His mechanical contrivances and inventions—His paper on the Natural Powers of Wind and Water to Turn Mills—An indefatigable student—Turns his attention to civil engineering—His tour in Holland.


CHAPTER III.

THE EDDYSTONE ROCK—WINSTANLEY'S AND RUDYERD'S LIGHTHOUSES.
Dangers of the Eddystone Rock—Necessity for a lighthouse—Henry Winstanley—His eccentricities—Designs and erects the first lighthouse on the Eddystone—Is washed away in a storm—John Rudyerd—Builds the second lighthouse—Is destroyed by fire—Mr. Smeaton applied to for a design.


CHAPTER IV.
SMEATON'S LIGHTHOUSE ON THE EDDYSTONE.
Lord Macclesfield's recommendation of Smeaton as engineer of the new lighthouse on the Eddystone—His investigation of the subject—Decides that it must be built of stone—The design—His journey to Plymouth—His visits to the rock—Makes a model of the proposed building—Mr. Jessup appointed resident engineer, and the excavations commenced—Dangers of the work—Smeaton narrowly escapes shipwreck—Progress of the work—Smeaton's courage—His carefulness as to details—Smeaton on the Hoe—The lighthouse finished and the light exhibited—Its uses—The lights in the English Channel.


CHAPTER V.
MR. SMEATON'S EMPLOYMENT AS A CIVIL ENGINEER.
Smeaton appointed receiver for the Derwentwater estates—The roads and commerce of England—General want of capital—Smeaton extensively employed as an engineer—Improvement of navigations—Calder Navigation—His Report on the drainage of the Lincoln and Cambridge Fens—Various drainage works—Repairs London Bridge—Designs pumpin—engines—Erects bridge at Perth—Constructs Forth and Clyde Canal—Erects bridge at Coldstream—Designs improvements for the Carron Works—Banff Bridge—Hexham Bridge—St. Ives Harbour—Ramsgate Harbour—Use of the Diving-bell—Eyemouth Harbour—Mills and machinery erected by Smeaton—His improvements in Newcomen's steam-engine.


CHAPTER VI.
SMEATON'S PRIVATE LIFE—DEATH AND CHARACTER.
Smeaton's home at Austhorpe—His study and workshop—His blacksmith—Papers contributed to Royal Society—His tools—His lathe—His mechanical ingenuity and skill—His visits to London—Engineers' first club—His views of money—Refuses an engagement to serve the Empress of Russia—Determines to publish an account of his works—His opinion of literary composition—His manners--Anecdote of Smeaton and the Duchess of Queensberry—His domestic character—His benevolence—Recognition of his eminent intellectual ability—His great industry—Failure of his health—Death.
――――♦――――


LIFE OF JOHN RENNIE.
____________

CHAPTER I.
RENNIE'S BOYHOOD AND EDUCATION.
Rennie born at Phantassie, East Lothian—Scotland at the middle of last century—The roads—State of agriculture in the Lothians—The population—Their poverty and want of spirit—Engineering and architecture—Old bridges—The mechanical arts at the lowest ebb—The art of teaching—Grammar and parish-schools—Rennie's early education—His mechanical habits—His education under Andrew Meikle—Dunbar Grammar School.

CHAPTER II.
RENNIE'S MASTER-ANDREW MEIKLE.
Fletcher of Saltoun introduces barley-mills and fanners into Scotland—James Meikle—Popular prejudice against "artificial wind"—Andrew Meikle, millwright—Progress of agricultural improvement in East Lothian—Mr. Cockburn of Ormiston—Meikle's mills—Clumsy methods employed in thrashing grain—Various attempts made to invent a thrashing-mill—Mr. Kinloch's models—Andrew Meikle's invention of the thrashing-machine-His improvements in windmills—Drainage of Kincardine Moss—Meikle's mechanical ingenuity—His death.


CHAPTER III.
RENNIE BEGINS BUSINESS AS MILLWRIGHT AND ENGINEER.
Rennie frequents Andrew Meikle's workshop—Begins business as a millwright—Prepares designs and estimates—Attends the University of Edinburgh—Dr. Robison—Rennie's studies and amusements—Mills erected by him in Scotland—Tour in England—Visits James Watt at Birmingham—Rennie builds his first bridge near Edinburgh—Removes to Birmingham—Is engaged to superintend the erection of the Albion Mills, Southwark.


CHAPTER IV.
THE ALBION MILLS—MR. RENNIE AS ENGINEER.
London in 1785—Coaches and turnpike roads—Trade—The shipping of the Thames—Erection of the Albion Mills—The first employment of the steam-engine in driving mill machinery—Rennie's extensive use of ironwork in their erection—The Albion Mills destroyed by fire—Rennie's employment on similar works—Earl Stanhope and steam navigation—Rennie undertakes works of civil engineering—Constructs the Kennet and Avon Canal—The Rochdale Canal—The Lancaster Canal—Various canal works—The Royal Canal, Ireland.


CHAPTER V.
MR. RENNIE'S DRAINAGE OF THE LINCOLN AND CAMBRIDGE FENS.
Recommends the employment of the steam-engine in Fen drainage—Drowned state of the Lincoln Fens—Arthur Young's account of them—The East Fen—Sir Joseph Banks resolves upon their drainage—Mr. Rennie employed to devise a plan for draining Wildmore Fen—His comprehensive view of the subject of Fen drainage—His catchwater system—His report—The works executed—Great Hobhole Drain—Effects of the drainage on agriculture—His proposed improvement of the Witham at Boston—Reports on the drainage of the Great Level—Eau Brink Cut—Characteristics of Fen scenery.


CHAPTER VI.
MR. RENNIE'S BRIDGES.
Dr. Robison visits Rennie in London—Theory and practice in bridge-building—Early designs of bridges—Designs Kelso Bridge—Musselburgh Bridge—Projected cast-iron bridge over the Menai Straits—Boston Bridge—Rennie's various designs of bridges--Waterloo Bridge—Its distinctive features—Foundation of the piers—The centering—Mode of fixing the centres—The bridge road—Completion of the work—Southwark Bridge—The iron-work—Details of construction—Characteristics of the bridge.


CHAPTER VII.
THE BELL ROCK LIGHTHOUSE.
Dangers of the Bell Rock—Scotch lighthouses—Plans of a lighthouse on the Bell Rock proposed—Rennie requested to report—His recommendations adopted—Appointed engineer—Prepares detailed plans of the lighthouse—The excavations commenced—Dangers of the work described by Mr. Stevenson, resident engineer—Rennie's visits to the rock—Recommends modifications in the plans, which are adopted—The lighthouse finished—Mr. Rennie's claims as chief engineer vindicated.


CHAPTER VIII.
MR. RENNIE'S DOCKS AND HARBOURS.
Growth of the Trade of London—Pirates and plunderers on the Thames—Necessity for docks William Jessup, C.E.—Rennie's London Docks—Construction of the lock entrances—Arrangement of the working details—The East India Docks—Improved methods of working—Report on Wick Harbour—The River Clyde—Grimsby Docks—Invention of hollow quay walls—Holyhead Harbour—Hull Harbour and Docks—Invention of the dredging-machine—Leith Docks—Various harbour works—Rennie's principles of harbour construction—Ramsgate Harbour—Improvement of the Diving-bell.


CHAPTER IX.
MR. RENNIE'S WAR DOCKS AND OTHER GOVERNMENT WORKS.
Rennie extensively employed by Government—Defences of the coast—Defensive Works on the river Lea—The Hythe Military Canal constructed after his designs—Fulton's Torpedo—Report on the Government dockyards—Recommends extensive improvements and concentration of dockyard machinery—Plymouth, Portsmouth, Deptford, Woolwich, Chatham—His plan of a naval arsenal at Northfleet—Sheerness dockyard works—Construction of the great dockyard wall—Design of Medway improvement.


CHAPTER X.
PLYMOUTH BREAKWATER.
Plymouth Sound—Plans for its protection from southerly winds—Mr. Rennie's report thereon—His plan of a breakwater adopted—The works commenced—Methods employed—Effects of storms—Modifications of the plan—The works completed by Sir John Rennie—Uses of the breakwater.


CHAPTER XI.
MR. RENNIE'S LAST WORKS-HIS DEATH AND CHARACTER.
Rennie's extensive and various employment as civil and mechanical engineer—Advises the introduction of steam-power into the Royal Navy—The 'Comet' built—New London Bridge, his last great design—His private life—Failure of health—Short continental tour—His close application—Death—His portrait—Habits—Conscientiousness—Truthfulness—Anecdote of his handiness as a mechanic—Love of old books—Solidity of his structures—Conclusion.

――――♦――――





 

LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.

――――♦――――

FULL-PAGE PLATES.

 

 PAGE

PORTRAIT OF JOHN SMEATON, F.R.S., 1724-1792

Frontispiece

SOUTH ASPECT OF THE EDDYSTONE LIGHTHOUSE
       COMPLETED BY SMEATON IN 1759

152.

BRIDGE AT PERTH OVER THE TAY CONSTRUCTED BY
        SMEATON

168.

PORTRAIT OF JOHN RENNIE (FROM A DRAWING BY
        GEORGE DANCE IN THE NATIONAL PORTRAIT
        GALLERY)

217.

THE BELL ROCK LIGHTHOUSE (AFTER A PICTURE BY
        J. M. W. TURNER)

336.

LONDON DOCKS

360.

NEW LONDON BRIDGE, OPENED BY HIS MAJESTY
        WILLIAM IV. IN PERSON, AUGUST 1, 1831

432.

 



LINE ILLUSTRATIONS
 

 

PAGE

 

PAGE

Ancient manner of constructing Piers

13.

Smeaton's Lathe

195.

Yarmouth Old Pier

16.

Smeaton's Burial-place, Whitkirk

209.

Pharos, Dover Castle

33.

Monumental Tablet in Whitkirk

213.

Old English Beacon

39.

Map of Rennie's Native District

217.

Tour de Cordovan

45.

Rennie's Birthplace, Phantassie

229.

Ancient Bridge on Dartmoor

49.

Houston Mill

238.

Croyland Bridge

56.

Portrait of Andrew Meikle

245.

Old Bow Bridge

59.

Rennie's first Bridge

259.

Wakefield Bridge and Chantry

64.

The Albion Mills

268.

Monmouth Bridge

66.

Locks on the Rochdale Canal

277.

Llanrwst Bridge

67.

Lune Aqueduct, Lancaster

280.

Old London Bridge, 1559

73.

Map of the Lincolnshire Fens before their
        Drainage by Rennie

 288.

Old London Bridge, 1662

76.

Plan of Eau Brink Cut

304.

Portrait of William Edwards

87.

Kelso Bridge

310.

Caerphilly Castle

90.

Musselburgh Bridge

311.

Pont-y-Prydd

93.

Boston Bridge

314.

Eddystone Lighthouse

100.

Section of Waterloo Bridge

319.

Map of Smeaton's Native District

102.

Centering of Waterloo Bridge

321.

View of Leeds, early in the century

104.

Waterloo Bridge (Skelton's)

326.

Whitkirk, near Leeds

108.

Southwark Bridge

329.

Map of coast of Devon and Cornwall

115.

Waterloo Bridge (Leitch's)

334.

Winstanley's Lighthouse (Eddystone)

118.

Section of Bell Rock Lighthouse

345.

Rudyerd's Lighthouse (Eddystone)

124.

View of Bell Rock Lighthouse

349.

Section of Smeaton's Lighthouse

140.

Portrait of William Jessop

359.

Plan of the 46th course

145.

Plan of London Docks

360.

Progress of the works to the 15th course

147.

Plan of East and West India Docks

364.

Smeaton on the Hoe

149.

Plan of Holyhead Harbour

372.

Light at the Nore

158.

View of Holyhead Harbour

373.

Old London Bridge, before the alteration of 1758

166.

Method of using the Diving-Bell

386.

Old London Bridge, after the alteration

167.

Plan of proposed Docks at Northfleet

400.

Coldstream Bridge

172.

Plan of Sheerness Docks

403.

Banff Bridge

175.

Plan of Medway Improvement

408.

Plan of St Ives Harbour

179.

Map of Plymouth Sound

411.

View of St  Ives Harbour

180.

Plymouth Breakwater from Mount Edgcombe

415.

Map of Ramsgate and Harbour

182.

Near View of Plymouth Breakwater

422.

View of Ramsgate Harbour

183.

Section of the Breakwater

424.

Plan of Eyemouth Harbour

188.

Portrait of Captain Huddart

428.

View of Eyemouth Harbour

189.

View of New London Bridge

436.

Smeaton's House at Austhorpe

192.

Section of Bridge

437.


――――♦――――

 

JOHN SMEATON F.R.S., CIVIL ENGINEER.
(1724-92)
Picture Wikipedia.


ILLUSTRATIONS
ADDED TO THIS ON-LINE EDITION
 

 

PAGE

 

PAGE

John Smeaton F.R.S., Civil Engineer.

Title

The Rochdale Canal.

278.

The Cob at Lyme Regis.

14.

The Wyre Aqueduct.

279.

London Docks, 1845.

21.

The Lune Aquaduct.

281.

The Pharos of Alexandria.

31.

Wildmoor Fen.

285.

The Pharos at Dover Castle.

33.

Blankney Fen.

286.

Cordouan lighthouse.

46.

Sir Joseph Banks.

289.

Clapper Bridge at Postbridge, Dartmoor.

49.

Anton's Gowt.

295.

Trinity Bridge, Crowland.

57.

Hobhole Drain.

296.

Devil's Bridge, Kirkby Lonsdale.

60.

Metheringham Fen.

305.

Wakefield Bridge and the Chantry Chapel.

64.

Rennie's London Bridge (Arizona).

306.

Pont Fawr, Llanrwst.

68.

Musselburgh Bridge.

312.

Old London Bridge.

69.

Rennie's Waterloo Bridge.

326.

Westminster Bridge around 1750.

82.

Sectional view of Southwark Bridge.

327.

Blackfriars Bridge under construction, 1764.

84.

Bell Rock Lighthouse (sketch).

335.

The Usk Bridge.

94.

Robert Stevenson, Civil Engineer.

341.

Smeaton's Tower, Plymouth.

130.

Stevenson's 'improved' lighting apparatus.

342.

The Eddystone Lighthouse today.

155.

Bell Rock—the "Barrack".

343.

Calder and Hebble canal.

161.

The Bell Rock Lighthouse: illustration.

344.

Isle of Axholme drains.

164.

The Bell Rock Lighthouse today.

350.

Queensbury Bridge, Amesbury.

168.

Pool of London, 1841.

352.

Perth Bridge.

169.

East and West India Docks.

364.

Coldstream Bridge.

173.

Jesse Hartley

366.

Smock mill at Spital Tongues.

190.

Harbour light at Howth.

375.

St Mary's Church, Whitkirk, Leeds.

214.

Harwich High and Low Lighthouses.

376.

John Robison.

254.

The Royal Military Canal.

391.

Joseph Black.

255.

Plymouth Breakwater.

410.

James Watt.

258.

Plymouth Breakwater—1844 plan.

425.

The Kennet and Avon Canal (map)

274.

John Rennie.

426.

Avoncliffe Aqueduct.

276.

East Linton - Bronze plaque of John Rennie.

452.


――――♦――――
 

 



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