Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 135,180 pages of information and 215,290 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

William Patterson

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William Patterson (1795-1869), was an influential ship designer and ship builder

1795 Born in Arbroath, and became the ward of a 'slop seller' in Wapping, London.

1810 Apprenticed to Trufitt, a Rotherhithe shipwright, and later became foreman to the steamship builder William Evans.

c.1823 He moved to Bristol, and became assistant to shipowner William Scott when Scott embarked on shipbuilding at East Wapping.

1830 Patterson took over the yard on the bankruptcy of Scott. Patterson's design flair led to him being asked to build the first steam vessel designed for regular Atlantic passages - the SS Great Western. This in turn led to his involvement with Brunel's SS Great Britain.

1837 SS Great Western launched at Bristol; built by Patterson, but designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel. [1]

c.1839 Contributed to the design of the SS Great Britain

1842 Patterson drew up hull lines and advised Acramans in building two large steamships, Avon and Severn.

1848 He built the Charlotte Jane, which carried emigrants to New Zealand.

1849 Built three ships for the Austrian Government - Corah, Inca and Cazique.

1851 Suffered a significant financial loss when the Demerara was damaged in the Avon when being towed to the Clyde to have her engines fitted. At over 3000 tons, it was the second largest built in Bristol at that time (exceeded only by the SS Great Britain).

c.1855 Supervised conversion of the partly-built Royal Charter into a screw steamer

1858 One of 3 surveyors appointed to inspect the SS Great Eastern, who produced a highly critical report of the quality of construction and her readiness for sea

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