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British Industrial History

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Hugh McIntosh

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Hugh McIntosh (1768–1840), a major railway, canal and building contractor

1768 Born near Nairn, Scotland

Worked as a navvy on the Forth and Clyde Canal

Worked on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal

1795 Gained his first contract, for work on the Lancaster Canal; worked with 2 partners over the next 4 years on this canal.

Gained the first of several contracts on the Grand Trunk Canal

Married Mary Cross, daughter of a farmer who was also an agent of the canal.

1799 Birth of their son David McIntosh

1803 Gained his first contract for the East India Co's import and export docks, the start of 21 years work on various London Docks.

Later contracts for the London Dock Co, including the Eastern Dock, and the Lavender Pond for the Commercial Co.

1809 May have been the first British contractor to work abroad if he did take part in the demolition of the Flushing fortifications (as inferred by Skempton).

He engaged in speculative house building to serve the docks in London.

Took up residence in London

1813-16 Contractor on the construction of Pembroke Docks

1816-17 Mr. M'Intosh employed William Mackenzie as agent in measuring, levelling, setting out, and taking account of the work on the Union Canal, being constructed under Hugh Baird.[1]

1817 Wrote to Thomas Telford seeking work on the Union Canal

1822-7 Contractor on the construction of the Gloucester and Berkeley Canal, including Sharpness Docks

1823-32 Contractor on Plymouth Docks work

1824-32 Contractor on Portsmouth Docks

He built sewers, bridges and roads in the London area, worked for several water companies and gas works.

Worked on the Regent's Canal

1830s Made repairs to Blackfriars Bridge

1831-2 Contractor on the construction of the Thames and Severn Canal

1831-5 Contractor on the construction of the Great Western Canal

1836-8 Contractor on the construction of the Grand Junction Canal

1838 Contractor for the Great Western Railway where, with his son David McIntosh, he took over the contracts of William Ranger but this later lead to a lawsuit.

Won a contract on the Aire and Calder Navigation in the final years of his life.

1840. Died. 'The whole of the London and Greenwich Railway was built by him, and also the greater portion of the East India Docks.'[2]

The business had become so large that, although contracts were taken in the name of his son David, several agents were needed to manage all of the works; these included his brother James McIntosh, William Radford, William Mackenzie, Edward Ladd Betts, William Betts, James Leishman.

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. Obituary of William Mackenzie
  2. London Evening Standard - Saturday 07 November 1840
  • The Canal Builders by Anthony Burton. 1972/81. ISBN 0 7153 8120 2
  • A Biographical Dictionary of Civil Engineers in Great Britain and ..., Volume 1 edited by A. W. Skempton