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British Industrial History

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Henry Palfrey Stephenson

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Henry Palfrey Stephenson (1826-1890), founder of the Society of Engineers


1890 Obituary [1]

. . . . In 1850 he entered into partnership with the late William Dredge, and the firm of Dredge and Stephenson was for some time engaged in the construction of bridges in England and Wales. The partnership, however, was not of long duration, and in 1852 Mr. Stephenson devoted himself to private practice.

From the foregoing, it will be seen that Mr. Stephenson’s training essentially fitted him for a dock and railway engineer, and it was in this capacity that he commenced private practice. . . . . [more]


Stephenson, Henry Palfrey (1826 - 1890), civil engineer, son of Major John Stephenson of the 6th dragoon guards, was born at Portobello, near Edinburgh, on 27 March 1826. He was educated at a private school at Twickenham, and in 1842 became a student at the college of civil engineers, Putney. The then principal was Dean Cowie of Exeter; Sir Guilford Molesworth, and several other well-known engineers were his fellow students. He founded the Putney Club, which was afterwards converted into the Society of Engineers His early professional work consisted mainly of the design of iron railway bridges, and of arbitration work. In 1858 he turned his attention to gas lighting for towns; he designed and carried out several important gas undertakings on the continent, and was connected as a director with a large number of similar undertakings both in England and abroad. He was elected an associate of the Institution of Civil Engineers in 1853, and a full member in 1864. About 1882 his health began to fail, and he gradually retired from active professional pursuits; he died on 30 April 1890.



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Sources of Information

  1. 1890 Institution of Civil Engineers: Obituaries