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Born in 1826, the son of William Heap and Mary (nee Smith) at Isles House, Padiham, Lancashire. His father owned a prosperous grocery business.
After serving an apprenticeship with an unidentified engineering company, in 1846 he secured a position as a junior engineer with William Evans (of Cambridge), contractor for the Conwy Railway Bridge.
On completion of the Conwy bridge, Heap moved with William Evans to work on the construction of the Boyne Viaduct.
Held a leading position in the Canada Works, Birkenhead, including full charge of the bridge department for 10 years. With George Harrison, Brassey's brother-in-law, was responsible for the management of Thomas Brassey and Co.
Then established himself in business in Liverpool, as an inspector of ironwork and machinery as well as a merchant, supervising heavy contracts for India, such as wrought iron jetties for Calcutta, and bridges for America - see William Heap and Co (Liverpool)
1872 became member of I Mech E; of Bank Chambers, Cook Street, Liverpool
1880 of 9 Rumford Place, Liverpool.
1896 of 28 Chapel Street, Liverpool.