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Born Caithness, Scotland (1784-1856), a shipbuilder, civil engineer and recoverer of wrecks. Served an apprenticeship with Robert Steele & Sons of Greenock, then returned to Wick and established his own shipyard. Became a renowned wreck recoverer of approx 240 vessels, including that of  Brunel’s “Great Eastern”. He also worked on a large number of harbours in Scotland, including Telfords harbour at Wick.

BROWN, Samuel KH, FRSE. (1776-1852) Civil & Mechanical Engineer.


Son of William Brown of Borland, Galloway, Scotland. Carried out experiments with wrought iron chain cables and his proposals on their use in ships rigging were taken up by the royal navy. He designed and built major suspension bridges using his chains.

CLARK, Adam (1811-1866)

A Scottish civil engineer, Edinburgh born, he died in Buda (now Budapest). He was responsible for construction of the Szechenyi Chain Bridge across the Danube which linked the districts of  Buda and Pest. He also saved the finished bridge on two occasions when its destruction was ordered, first by an Austrian general, and later by the commander of the Hungarian army. He was also responsible for design and construction of the Buda Tunnel. Locally regarded as a hero, the square between the tunnel and the bridge is named after him.

HESTE, William (1753 or 1763-1832)

William Hastie was a Scottish architect, town planner and civil engineer who spent most of his life in Russia.  He transformed townscapes throughout Imperial Russia in the early 19th century.

RANKINE, William John Macquorn FRSE, FRS. (1820-1872)

Born Edinburgh, Scotland. He was a civil engineer, physicist and mathematician, and a founding contributor to the science of thermodynamics.

RENNIE, John the elder FRSE, FRS (1761-1821) Civil Engineer

He was born at Phantassie, East Linton, Scotland and became one of the leading civil engineers of the 18th and 19th centuries. He designed and built a host of bridges, canals and docks.

Scottish Civil Engineers


Sir Edward MacColl (World’s first high-head reversible pumped-storage power station)

Born in Dumbarton, Scotland (1882-1951). On 30th November 2012, the Institute of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) presented an Engineering Heritage Award to Cruachan  Power Station, the brainchild of Sir Edward MacColl

STEVENSON, Robert FRSE, FGS, FRAS, MSA Scot, MWS, MinstCE (1772-1850) Civil Engineer

Born Glasgow, Scotland. Founding Father of the Stevenson dynasty of lighthouse builders and civil engineers. His most famous construction was that of the the Bell Rock lighthouse. He was Robert Louis Stevenson’s grandfather.

TELFORD, Thomas FRS, FRSE. (1757-1834) Civil Engineer

Born Eskdale, Dumfriesshire, Scotland. He was the pre-eminent engineer of his generation, building roads, bridges, canals, railways, harbours, piers, docks and many public buildings. In 1820 he became the first President of the Institution of Civil Engineers, a position he held until his death.

The Fresno Scraper

James Porteous (1848-1922) was a Scottish inventor who served his time in his father’s business, making and repairing carriages, wagons and agricultural equipment,  before emigrated to America in 1873. There he started up on his own account making buggies and heavy wagons.  Later he was to invent the Fresno Scraper, the basic design of which forms the basis of most modern earth moving equipment. It was one of the most important agricultural and civil engineering machines ever made, and was designated as an International Historic Engineering Landmark by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. See also Civil Engineering.

WALKER, James. FRS (1781-1862) Civil Engineer

Born Falkirk, Scotland, and nephew of engineer Ralph Walker. He built many London docks, railways, canals and 21 lighthouses, the most famous of which was the Bishop Rock off the Scilly Isles. Succeeded fellow Scot Thomas Telford as second President of the Institution of Civil Engineers, and was also chief engineer of Trinity House.

WALKER, Ralph (1749-1824) Civil Engineer

Born Clackmannanshire, Scotland. Particularly noted for for his work on London docks.

Scottish Achievement, Influence & Heritage is a work in progress