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British Industrial History

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College for Civil Engineers, Putney

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The College for Civil Engineers and of General, Practical and Scientific Education, of Putney.

1839 The College was founded, initially based in Gordon House in Kentish Town, with a purpose of affording sound instruction in the theory and practice of civil engineering and architecture.

1839-41 Oliver Byrne was Professor of Mathematics

1840 Moved to 2 riverside mansions, Putney House and The Cedars, in Putney.

1840 Edward Bell was appointed Lecturer on Machinery in connection with Civil Engineering

1842 Henry Palfrey Stephenson became a student. Guilford Molesworth and several other well-known engineers (W. J. Kingsbury, E. Riley, E. Pontifex, M. Woodifield, Robert King) were also students at this time.[1]

1844-51 The principal was Dean Benjamin Morgan Cowie (1816-1900) of Exeter, who also lectured in mathematics[2]

1845 David Thomas Ansted was appointed Professor of Geology

1847-53 William Binns was Professor of Applied Mechanics

John Arthur Phillips was Professor of Chemistry for a period

1849 Samuel Clegg, Junior was appointed Professor of civil engineering and architecture.

1850 Lyon Playfair resigned and was succeeded by Edward Frankland

The college was not a financial success and closed during the 1850s.

1854 May. Robert Munro Christie and Henry Palfrey Stephenson, with six others, founded the "Putney Club" as a means of reunion for former students of Putney College. It appears that, in the early meetings, various points of engineering practice were discussed in an atmosphere of informality. The custom of reading and discussing papers was introduced at the first meeting in 1855, with a paper by the first president, Mr Stephenson, on "The Rise and Fall of Putney College." At the annual general meeting in December, 1857, the name was changed from the Putney Club to the Society of Engineers.[3]

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. Obituary of Henry Palfrey Stephenson
  2. Dictionary of National Biography
  3. The Engineer 1954/02/05