James Walker (engineer)
James Walker, FRS, was an influential Scottish
Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain, it shares a border with England to the south and is bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the...

 civil engineer
Civil engineer
A civil engineer is a person who practices civil engineering; the application of planning, designing, constructing, maintaining, and operating infrastructures while protecting the public and environmental health, as well as improving existing infrastructures that have been neglected.Originally, a...

 of the first half of the 19th century.

Walker was born in Falkirk
Falkirk is a town in the Central Lowlands of Scotland. It lies in the Forth Valley, almost midway between the two most populous cities of Scotland; north-west of Edinburgh and north-east of Glasgow....

 and was apprenticed to his uncle Ralph Walker in approximately 1800, with whom he gained experience working on the design and construction of the West India
West India Docks
The West India Docks are a series of three docks on the Isle of Dogs in London, the first of which opened in 1802. The docks closed to commercial traffic in 1980 and the Canary Wharf development was built on the site.-History:...

 and East India Docks
East India Docks
The East India Docks was a group of docks in Blackwall, east London, north-east of the Isle of Dogs. Today only the entrance basin remains.-History:...

 in London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

. Also in London, he worked on the Surrey Commercial Docks
Surrey Commercial Docks
The Surrey Commercial Docks were a large group of docks in Rotherhithe on the south bank of the Thames in South East London. The docks operated in one form or another from 1696 to 1969...

 from about 1810 onwards, remaining as engineer to the Surrey Commercial Dock Company until his death in 1862.

An associate of Thomas Telford
Thomas Telford
Thomas Telford FRS, FRSE was a Scottish civil engineer, architect and stonemason, and a noted road, bridge and canal builder.-Early career:...

, he succeeded him as President of the Institution of Civil Engineers
Institution of Civil Engineers
Founded on 2 January 1818, the Institution of Civil Engineers is an independent professional association, based in central London, representing civil engineering. Like its early membership, the majority of its current members are British engineers, but it also has members in more than 150...

, serving from 1834 to 1845. He was also chief engineer of Trinity House
Trinity House
The Corporation of Trinity House of Deptford Strond is the official General Lighthouse Authority for England, Wales and other British territorial waters...

, hence his considerable involvement with coastal engineering and lighthouse
A lighthouse is a tower, building, or other type of structure designed to emit light from a system of lamps and lenses or, in older times, from a fire, and used as an aid to navigation for maritime pilots at sea or on inland waterways....


Projects and other work

James Walker worked on various engineering projects, including:
  • Greenland Dock
    Greenland Dock
    Greenland Dock is the oldest of London's riverside wet docks, located in Rotherhithe in the area of the city now known as Docklands. It used to be part of the Surrey Commercial Docks, most of which have by now been filled in...

    , London (c.1808 – c.1862)
  • The Regent's Bridge (today Vauxhall Bridge
    Vauxhall Bridge
    Vauxhall Bridge is a Grade II* listed steel and granite deck arch bridge in central London. It crosses the River Thames in a south–east north–west direction between Vauxhall on the south bank and Pimlico on the north bank...

    ), London (1816, since demolished)
  • Survey for the Leeds and Selby Railway
    Leeds and Selby Railway
    The Leeds and Selby Railway was an early British railway company and first mainline railway in Yorkshire. It was opened in 1834.The company was absorbed by the York and North Midland Railway and the line remained in use through the subsequent NER, LNER, BR and post-privatisation periods.As of 2010...

  • Start Point lighthouse
    Start Point lighthouse
    Start Point lighthouse was built in 1836 to protect shipping off Start Point in south Devon England. Open to the public in summer months, it is a grade II listed building owned and operated by Trinity House.- Construction :...

    , Devon
    Devon is a large county in southwestern England. The county is sometimes referred to as Devonshire, although the term is rarely used inside the county itself as the county has never been officially "shired", it often indicates a traditional or historical context.The county shares borders with...

  • Advice on alignment of Hereford and Gloucester Canal (1838)
  • Improvements to Aberdeen
    Aberdeen is Scotland's third most populous city, one of Scotland's 32 local government council areas and the United Kingdom's 25th most populous city, with an official population estimate of ....

     Harbour (1838)
  • Wolf Rock
    Wolf Rock, Cornwall
    Wolf Rock is a treacherous rock located east of St Mary's, Isles of Scilly and southwest of Land's End, in Cornwall, United Kingdom. A lighthouse, known as the Wolf Rock Lighthouse, was built on the rock by James Walker from 1861 to 1869; it entered service in January 1870.The lighthouse is in...

     beacon and lighthouse (1840–1862)
  • Gunfleet Lighthouse
    Gunfleet Lighthouse
    Gunfleet Lighthouse is a screw-pile lighthouse lying in the North Sea, six miles off the coast at Frinton-on-Sea in Essex constructed in 1850 by James Walker of Trinity House. It is 74 feet in height and hexagonal in plan; mounted on seven piles forming a steel lattice and originally painted red...

    , off Frinton-on-Sea
    Frinton-on-Sea is a small seaside town in the Tendring District of Essex, England. It is part of the Parish of Frinton and Walton.-History:...

    , Essex
    Essex is a ceremonial and non-metropolitan county in the East region of England, and one of the home counties. It is located to the northeast of Greater London. It borders with Cambridgeshire and Suffolk to the north, Hertfordshire to the west, Kent to the South and London to the south west...

  • Bishop Rock lighthouse (1858)
  • Needles Lighthouse
    The Needles
    The Needles is a row of three distinctive stacks of chalk that rise out of the sea off the western extremity of the Isle of Wight, England, close to Alum Bay. The Needles lighthouse stands at the end of the formation...

  • Completion of the Caledonian Canal
    Caledonian Canal
    The Caledonian Canal is a canal in Scotland that connects the Scottish east coast at Inverness with the west coast at Corpach near Fort William. It was constructed in the early nineteenth century by engineer Thomas Telford, and is a sister canal of the Göta Canal in Sweden, also constructed by...

  • Alderney
    Alderney is the most northerly of the Channel Islands. It is part of the Bailiwick of Guernsey, a British Crown dependency. It is long and wide. The area is , making it the third-largest island of the Channel Islands, and the second largest in the Bailiwick...

     breakwater, Channel Islands
    Channel Islands
    The Channel Islands are an archipelago of British Crown Dependencies in the English Channel, off the French coast of Normandy. They include two separate bailiwicks: the Bailiwick of Guernsey and the Bailiwick of Jersey...

  • St Catherine’s Harbour, Jersey
    Jersey, officially the Bailiwick of Jersey is a British Crown Dependency off the coast of Normandy, France. As well as the island of Jersey itself, the bailiwick includes two groups of small islands that are no longer permanently inhabited, the Minquiers and Écréhous, and the Pierres de Lecq and...

    , Channel Islands (1847–1856)
  • Improvements to navigation in the River Tyne
    River Tyne
    The River Tyne is a river in North East England in Great Britain. It is formed by the confluence of two rivers: the North Tyne and the South Tyne. These two rivers converge at Warden Rock near Hexham in Northumberland at a place dubbed 'The Meeting of the Waters'.The North Tyne rises on the...


Walker was also involved in the design of a dock harbour in Hamburg (1845, with William Lindley
William Lindley
William Lindley , was a famous English engineer who together with his sons designed water and sewerage systems for over 30 cities across Europe.-Life:...

 and Heinrich Hübbe). He was also involved in the Liverpool and Manchester Railway
Liverpool and Manchester Railway
The Liverpool and Manchester Railway was the world's first inter-city passenger railway in which all the trains were timetabled and were hauled for most of the distance solely by steam locomotives. The line opened on 15 September 1830 and ran between the cities of Liverpool and Manchester in North...

, preparing a report on the merits of stationary and locomotive engines along with other notable engineers of the day.


A memorial to Walker was commissioned by the Institution of Civil Engineers
Institution of Civil Engineers
Founded on 2 January 1818, the Institution of Civil Engineers is an independent professional association, based in central London, representing civil engineering. Like its early membership, the majority of its current members are British engineers, but it also has members in more than 150...

 to stand at Greenland Dock and was unveiled in 1990.


  • Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, Volume 12, Royal Society (Great Britain), 1863 , "Obituary Notices of Fellows Deceased", p. lxiv-lxvi, google books link

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.