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Benjamin Burleigh

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Benjamin Burleigh (1820-1876)

1877 Obituary [1]

Benjamin Burleigh was born at Oxford on the 24th of May, 1820.

Owing to the death of his father he entered upon the active duties of life at the early age of fifteen, and before he was nineteen had executed in a satisfactory manner many large parish surveys.

He was afterwards engaged by Colonel Landmann and the late John Braithwaite, M.Inst.C.E,, in making designs and drawings for bridges and other works on the Eastern Counties Railway.

In the year 1845 Mr. Burleigh became chief of a large surveying party under Mr. Gregory, Past-President Inst. C.E., in preparing surveys for a proposed line. He was then employed on the East Lincolnshire Railway, under James Hodges, and, on the completion of those works in 1849, on the construction of the Great Northern Railway, as the Resident Engineer on the section between London and Peterborough under the late Mr. Cubitt, Vice-President Inst. C.E.

He designed and carried out many important works on the line, including the viaduct at Peterborough, and the aqueduct over the Regent’s Canal. On the termination of this engagement Mr. Burleigh took offices in Westminster, where he practised as an Engineer and worked out patents, amongst which may be mentioned 'Switches and Crossings,' 'Railway Fastenings,' 'Concrete Blocks,' weighing 300 tons each, for harbour works, 'Rotary Lever,' 'Solidified Charcoal Blocks for Filters' - specimens of which blocks he had the honour of submitting to H.R.H. the late Prince Consort.

Mr. Burleigh originated the idea of the 'Working Man’s Home,' on the system of a joint-stock association, and had a prospectus printed, dated the 13th of May, 1863; but, owing to not having sufficient interest, he was unable to carry out this idea.

He also proposed the construction of an underground railway from King’s Cross down the Goswell Road and Aldersgate Street to the Mansion House, and in August 1853 prepared drawings for the same; but the scheme was looked upon as visionary, and he was unable to carry it out.

In 1862 and 1863 he designed and superintended, as Chief Engineer, the construction of the Bristol Port railway from Clifton to Avonmouth, after which he superintended, for Sir John Hawkshaw (Past-President) and Messrs. G. R. Stephenson (President) and Burke, the construction of the East London Railway from New Cross and the Kent Road to Wapping through the Thames Tunnel, when he designed and carried out many important works.

For a short time he was connected with the Indian State railways, under General Strachey, and in the year 1873 was appointed Architect to the North-Eastern Railway Company, which post he held up to the time of his death, on the 25th of April, 1876.

Mr. Burleigh was elected an Associate on the 1st of February, 1853. He was also a Member of the Council of the Inventors’ Institute, and one of the scientific referees of the Patent-rights Association.

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