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British Industrial History

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Andrew Alexander

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Andrew Alexander M.A.(1828-1890), Railway engineer.

1828 31 May: Born at St. Andrews, son of Andrew Alexander, Professor of Greek at St Andrews University and his wife Esther nee Proctor[1]

1841 Andrew Alexander 55, lived in St Leonards, Fife, with Esther Alexander 45, Patrick Alexander 16, Hugh Alexander 15, Andrew Alexander 13, Esther Alexander 11, Christian Alexander 7, Jane Alexander 6[2]

1856 of Canada Works, Birkenhead

1860 of Canada Works, discussed the topic of Tubular Bridges in a series of letters to The Engineer.

Designed the locomotive for steep inclines, otherwise attributed to Fell, which was tested at Whalley Bridge on the Cromford and High Peak Railway[3]

1862 Married Harriotte Emma Young in Wisbech[4]

1864 of Millwall Ironworks[5]

Andrew Alexander, was a civil engineer of some standing and a mechanical engineer. He was interested and active in aeronautics and he was a founder member of the Aeronautical Society in 1866. He presented some papers to the society including "Power in Relation to Weight in Aerial Navigation".

1869 of Worcester[6]

1871 Living at Lansdowne Crescent Claines, Worcs.: Andrew Alexander (age 42 born St. Andrews), Civil Engineer M.A. With his wife Harriette Emma Alexander (age 30 born Tydd St. Maty, Lincs.) and their children John Edmond Alexander (age 7 born Belevedere, Kent) and Patrick Young Alexander (age 4 born Belevedere, Kent). Two servants.[7]

1872 of Worcester

In 1875 he went to see Thomas Moy's Aerial steamer at The Crystal Palace. This woefully underpowered machine illustrated many interesting design features and on demonstration may have achieved a brief hop into the air (accounts vary). That same year, he became manager of the Cyclops works of Charles Cammell and Co in Sheffield — a city famous for metalworking — there he worked on the problem of improving the quality of armour applied to warships.[8]

Andrew Alexander was a practical-minded man, unlikely to be prone to flights of fancy, yet at a time when many ridiculed the idea of heavier-than-air flight, he told his son Patrick he was sure that the problems of aviation would be solved. He was clearly a major influence on Patrick's life.

1881 Living at Leavygreave, Hounsfield Road, Nether Hallam, Sheffield: Andrew Alexander (age 52 born Scotland), Civil Engineer M.A. With his wife Harriette Emm. Alexander (age 40 born Tyd St. Mary, Lincs.) and their son Patrick Young Alexander (age 14 born Belevedere, Kent). Two servants.[9]

c.1885 Left the Cyclops works and moved to Bath[10]

1890 Died in Bath, leaving an estate of £58,000[11].

  • NB Another Andrew Alexander, born in St Andrews in 1828, was the son of William Alexander (1790-1857) and his wife Elspeth Herd (1790-1874); this Andrew was a cabinet maker in 1851.

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. BMD
  2. 1841 census
  3. The Engineer 1864/01/22
  4. BMD
  5. Letter to The Engineer
  6. Letter to The Engineer
  7. 1871 Census
  8. Biography of Patrick Y Alexander
  9. 1881 Census
  10. Biography of Patrick Y Alexander
  11. National probate calendar