Sir William Fairbairn 1789 - 1874

Scottish; British
born in:
Kelso, Scottish Borders, Scotland, United Kingdom

1803 - worked on a bridge being built by John Rennie, until he was injured by an accident. His father moved to Newcastle-Upon-Tyne where, William got a job in the Percy Main colliery. 1804 - was apprenticed to John Robinson, a millwright. 1811 - obtained employment as a millwright at Newcastle. 1817 - had a disagreement with his employer about a new Blackfriars Bridge over the River Irwell at Manchester, and this led to his setting up in partnership with an old shopmate, James Lillie. 1824 - went to Zürich to erect two watermills, constructing wheels which worked regularly whatever the height of the river. 1832 - a heavy loss in a cotton mill venture crippled the Fairbairn Lillie resources as millwrights and led to a dissolution of the partnership. 1835 - set up a shipbuilding works at Millwall, on the Thames in east London. 1839 - inspected the government works at Constantinople, and was decorated by the sultan, who also appointed him as ‘chief fabricator’ of machinery for the Turkish government in England. 1844 - due to strain, abandoned the Millwall establishment, returning to Manchester.