The Online Encyclopedia and Dictionary






William Jessop

William Jessop (23 January 1745 - 18 November 1814) was a noted English civil engineer, particularly famed for his work on canals, harbours and early railways in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.

Jessop was born in Devonport, Devon in 1745, the son of a shipwright known to leading civil engineer John Smeaton through his work on the Eddystone Lighthouse. When Jessop's father died, William Jessop was taken on as a pupil by Smeaton (who also acted as Jessop’s guardian), working on various canal schemes in Yorkshire. After working for some years as Smeaton's assistant, Jessop increasingly began to work as an engineer in his own right.

In 1790, he founded (with fellow engineer Benjamin Outram) an iron-works in Derbyshire, the Butterley Iron Works, to manufacture cast-iron edge rails – a design Jessop had used successfully with flanged wheels on a horse-drawn railway scheme for coal wagons in Loughborough, Leicestershire (1789).

His projects included:

Jessop lived for some years (1784-1805) in Newark in Nottinghamshire, where he also twice served as town mayor.

Last updated: 05-18-2005 19:04:25