Sir William Fairbairn

Marshall gives a fuller account than usuaul. Fairbairn was born in Kelso on 19 February 1789 and died in Farnham on 18 August 1874. Late in 1803 the Fairbairn family moved to a farm near Newcastle upon Tyne owned by the Percy Main Colliery where William became an apprentice millwright in March 1804. He met George Stephenson, and they became lifelong friends. He was a pioneer in the construction of iron boats: the Lord Dundas plied on the Forth & Clyde Canal. In 1813 he moved to Manchester where he established his Canal Street Works (see Lowe) producing locomotives, notably the Bury type and McConnell's Large Bloomers, and girder bridges where he was associated with Robert Stephenson. In 1846 his firm became William Fairbairn & Sons when he was joined by his sons Thomas and William Andrew. William Pole's The life of William Fairbairn (1877) gives a complete list of his papers. He received a baronetcy in 1869 and was a staunch member of the Unitarian Church.
Cookson, Gillian entry in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography

Papers seen

Two lectures on the construction of boilers and on boiler explosions. Leeds Mechanic's Institution. London: Simpkin Marshall, 1851.

On the consumption of fuel and prevention of smoke. British Association

(both National Library of Scotland)

Bacck to Steamindex home page

2006-05-21