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British Industrial History

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Samuel John Knight

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Samuel John Knight (1809-1881)

1838 Samuel J. Knight of Belgrave Place, Pimlico, became a member of the Institution of Civil Engineers.[1]

1848 of Knight and Cumming

1882 Obituary [2]

. . . born in London in 1809, and was educated at the school of Mr. Fennell, at Wimbledon. When under fourteen years of age he lost his father, and soon after was placed, by the advice of his uncle (the late Mr. James Mackell, of Park Lane), in the house of Parkes and Pfeil, iron merchants.

Messrs. Maudslay had previously signified their willingness to take him into their works; his mother much wished him to accept their offer, but his uncle objecting, it was declined.

About the year 1832 he entered the works of Bramah and Robinson, engineers. Timothy Bramah, an old friend of his family, had the entire management of the engineering department, and perceiving at once young Knight’s ability, took every opportunity of employing him with, and introducing him to, the chief engineers of the day. During this time, on the 20th of February, 1838, he was elected an Associate of the Institution, being proposed by Sir Isambard Brunel.

In 1839 he left Messrs. Bramah and Robinson’s, and took a foundry at Maidstone - at first alone, and afterwards with a partner; this business, however, was given up in 1851.

He had now become known to, and had long had business relations with, Edward Ladd Betts, who, finding that he was disengaged, at once called upon him, and thus began a pleasant connection which lasted until the death of Mr. Betts.

From this time he devoted himself to various works, in which the firms of Messrs. Peto and Betts, Brassey and Wythes, Lucas Brothers, Waring Brothers, as well as the American merchants, Sir Curtis Lampson and Co., Robert Benson and Co., and T. S. Morgan and Co., were among many others engaged. Business poured in upon him from many quarters, and he was frequently consulted, both at home and abroad, in valuations, arbitrations, and other matters of the kind . . .

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