John Alexander Brodie
John Alexander Brodie (1858 – 1934) was a British
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 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...


Brodie began his professional career in 1875 working in the Mersey Docks and Harbour Board engineering department under Chief Engineer George Fosbery Lyster
George Fosbery Lyster
George Fosbery Lyster succeeded John Hartley as Engineer in Chief to the Mersey Docks and Harbour Board. He was followed by his son, A.G. Lyster in 1897....

, following this he set up a private consultancy and spent some time working in Spain. In 1889 he invented the goal net for use in football matches and he said that this was the invention of which he was the most proud. Brodie returned to Liverpool in 1898 as the city engineer suggesting several improvements for the town such as a ring road, electric trams and the East Lancashire Road.

He was at the fore front of pre-fabricated housing technology promoting the use of pre-cast reinforced concrete
Reinforced concrete
Reinforced concrete is concrete in which reinforcement bars , reinforcement grids, plates or fibers have been incorporated to strengthen the concrete in tension. It was invented by French gardener Joseph Monier in 1849 and patented in 1867. The term Ferro Concrete refers only to concrete that is...

 slabs as a means of building houses quickly and cheaply, he presented an example of this technique to the Cheap Cottages Exhibition at Letchworth
Letchworth Garden City, commonly known as Letchworth, is a town and civil parish in Hertfordshire, England. The town's name is taken from one of the three villages it surrounded - all of which featured in the Domesday Book. The land used was first purchased by Quakers who had intended to farm the...

 where many examples of this kind of building can be found to this day. The design attracted attention from across the world and he is known to have influenced Grosvenor Atterbury
Grosvenor Atterbury
Grosvenor Atterbury was an American architect, urban planner and writer. He studied at Yale University and then travelled in Europe. He studied architecture at Columbia University and worked in the offices of McKim, Mead & White. Much of Atterbury’s early work consisted of weekend houses for...

 who used a similar technique to build the houses at Forest Hills Gardens
Forest Hills Gardens, Queens
Forest Hills Gardens is a community located in Forest Hills, in the New York City borough of Queens. Its streets are privately owned but open to traffic. The Northern Border runs along the L.I.R.R...


Brodie was also interested in town planning and this was recognised in 1912 when he was asked to help select the site of and plan New Delhi
New Delhi
New Delhi is the capital city of India. It serves as the centre of the Government of India and the Government of the National Capital Territory of Delhi. New Delhi is situated within the metropolis of Delhi. It is one of the nine districts of Delhi Union Territory. The total area of the city is...

. He visited India twice for this purpose and in 1931 was invited to the official opening ceremony by the Viceroy owing to the high regard that Edwin Lutyens
Edwin Lutyens
Sir Edwin Landseer Lutyens, OM, KCIE, PRA, FRIBA was a British architect who is known for imaginatively adapting traditional architectural styles to the requirements of his era...

, the chief planner had for him.

He served 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...

 between 1920 and 1921, becoming the first local authority engineer to receive the accolade. He was also an Associate Professor of Engineering at Liverpool University and vice-president of the Liverpool Self-Propelled Traffic Association which would later become a constituent of the Royal Automobile Club
Royal Automobile Club
The Royal Automobile Club is a private club and is not to be confused with RAC plc, a motorists' organisation, which it formerly owned.It has two club houses, one in London at 89-91 Pall Mall, and the other in the countryside at Woodcote Park, Surrey, next to the City of London Freemen's School...


After his death in 1934 Liverpool City Council
Liverpool City Council
Liverpool City Council is the governing body for the city of Liverpool in Merseyside, England. It consists of 90 councillors, three for each of the city's 30 wards. The council is currently controlled by the Labour Party and is led by Joe Anderson.-Domain:...

 named Brodie Avenue in his honour.

External links

  • Obituary Institution of Civil Engineers, 1935

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