Benjamin Outram

An Engineering Biography

by R.B Schofield

One of the most remarkable civil engineers of the early Industrial Revolution, Benjamin Outram initially worked as an assistant to William Jessop on the Cromford Canal but soon became a leading figure in his own right, acting for the Derby, Nottingham and Nutbrook canals in the East Midlands, the Ashton and Peak Forest in the North West, and the Huddersfield Narrow Canal, as well as many smaller schemes.

Outram also developed an improved system of horse-drawn railways, using L-section cast-iron plate rails, and built hundreds of miles of such lines, including those of the Derby, Peak Forest and Ashby de la Zouch canals, the Grand Junction's Blisworth Hill railway, and important lines in the Monmouthshire valleys.

As if this was not enough for a man who was only 41 when he died, Outram established and ran the Butterley Company, the largest coal and iron concern in the East Midlands, founded in 1790. This new book, the result of many years' research and based entirely on archival material, is the most detailed study of any civil engineer of this period yet published. It also throws new light on canal and railway contracting at a crucial stage in the development of both.

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Hardback, xii + 340 pages,
24 plates, 32 line drawings

ISBN 1 898937 42 7