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British Industrial History

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John Wilson (1770-1850)

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John Wilson (1770-1850), civil engineer, of Glencorse, Midlothian,

1770 Born in Argyll, son of a farmer

Trained as a mason; may have worked on the Crinan Canal

Worked on the east end of the Caledonian Canal (not to be confused with another mason called John Wilson [from Cumbria] who worked elsewhere on the canal).

1812 Birth of son, Robert Wilson[1]

1813 With Thomas Telford and John Simpson visited Sweden and gained a contract to work on the Gotha Canal.

1815 Returned to Scotland

1816 Not finding work in Scotland, returned to work in Sweden

1817 Returned to Scotland

1820 Twin sons born on the 12th August, 1820, Allan and Edward who both became civil engineers.

1820 Appointed resident engineer for the Glencorse reservoir of Edinburgh waterworks. Remained as superintendent and keeper of Edinburgh Waterworks until 1843.

1843 Inspector of repairs to the Caledonian Canal at Gairlochy, where he bought a house

1850 Died at Midcalder. 4 surviving sons; of the twins, Allan and Edward, one established his own business in London and the other travelled the world. They in turn were succeeded by two nephews, one of whom carried on the London consultancy whilst the other became Chief Engineer to the Great Eastern Railway. They in turn had sons who continued as civil engineers, and grandsons who have diversified into newer branches of engineering[2]

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. John Wilson's family tree on Ancestry
  2. Article on the Wilsons, 1982 [1]
  • Biographical dictionary of Civil Engineers [2]