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British Industrial History

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Thomas Wilson (1751-1820)

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of Sunderland.

Schoolmaster and Engineer, best known as a designer of iron bridges.

He was heavily involved in the design and construction of the iron Wearmouth Bridge which, for the time (opened 1796), had a massive span (236 ft).

Two of his bridges were major failures (Yarm and Staines). Several have survived, Tickford Bridge at Newport Pagnell, Stratfield Saye Bridge in Berkshire, and Spanish Town Bridge (Jamaica).

The ironwork for his bridges was produced by Walkers of Rotherham (Joshua Walker and Co, successors to Samuel Walker and Co)

He died in April 1820 at Bridge House, at the south end of Wearmouth Bridge.

The above information is drawn from 'A Biographical Dictionary of Civil Engineers in Great Britain and Ireland, Vol 1 1500-1830' [1], where much more information may be found.

A good account of Thomas Wilson's bridges may be found in a Paper presented to the Newcomen Society by J. G. James [2]

See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. [1]'A Biographical Dictionary of Civil Engineers in Great Britain and Ireland, Vol 1 1500-1830' Edited by A W Skempton, Thomas Telford Publishing, 2002
  2. 'Thomas Wilson's Cast-Iron Bridges 1800–1810' by J. G. James, Transactions of the Newcomen Society, Volume 50, Issue 1 (1978), pp. 55–72