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Joseph Baxendale

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Joseph Baxendale (1785-1872) of Pickford and Co

1839 Joseph Baxendale of Camden Town, became a member of the Institution of Civil Engineers.[1]

1851 Deputy Lieutenant, Magistrate and Carrier, living in Finsbury, London[2]


1873 Obituary [3]

MR. JOSEPH BAXENDALE was the eldest son of a surgeon in Lancaster, where he was born in September, 1785.

At an early age he joined Messrs. Swainson, of Preston, calico printers; but in 1817, having some time before married a daughter of Mr. John Birley, of Blackburn, he entered the concern of Pickford and Co., in which he soon became the leading partner. He managed it with remarkable skill and success, and he retained this position to the time of his death.

As the largest carrier probably in England, Mr. Baxendale naturally brought into communication with the leading canal and railway engineers, by most, if not by all, of whom he was more or less intimately known. With George and Robert Stephenson he had a constant intercourse of the most friendly character.

He was elected an Associate of the Institution on the 8th of February, 1839 ; and having been Chairman of the South Eastern Railway Company during the construction of the most important works, his acquaintance with the late Sir W. Cubitt, Past-President Inst. C.E., ripened into a friendship only terminated by death.

It was during this period of his life that Mr. Baxendale was most intimately connected with civil engineering. He travelled constantly with Sir W. Cubitt to inspect the work, and was present at the great blast of the Shakspeare Cliff.

He purchased the harbour of Folkestone for the South Eastern Railway Company, and took a leading part in the improvements by which it was converted into a port for continental traffic. Mr. Baxendale was also for many years, and up to his death, a Director of the East Indian railway, in which position he came into communication with the late Mr. Rendel, Past-President Inst. C.E., for whom he had a great regard, and whose death was a severe blow to him.

Though no engineer himself, Mr. Baxendale fully appreciated the qualities which distinguished the leaders of the profession, and, so far as his scanty leisure would permit, cultivated their acquaintance. To the end of his life he took much interest in the Smeatonian Society, of which he was one of four honorary members, Dr. Roget and William Cotton being among them.

Mr. Baxendale retired from the chair of the South Eastern Railway Company at the close of 1844, and not long after from the active management of his own concern, the affairs of which, however, he superintended till a recent period.

He resided chiefly at Woodside, on the Old North Road, on the borders of Middlesex and Herts, where he had made extensive grounds and gardens; and he died there on the 24th of March, 1872.


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