- \23.1.1745 Plymouth/ UK - 18.11.1814 Butterley Hall/ UK\William Jessop inherited from his father a natural ability in engineering, and because of his father's association with John Smeaton (1724-1792) he was accepted by the latter as a pupil in 1759. Jessop was retained as an assistant in 1767 and carried out field works, making surveys. He was recommended to the Aire and Calder Committee as an engineer in 1772 such that Jessop prepared a report on a part of the Selby Canal. He thus became resident engineer on the Selby Canal and soon after was elected to the Smeatonian Society of Engineers, of which he was later the Secretary for years. Meanwhile he accompanied Smeaton to Ireland to advice on the Grand Canal, ultimately becoming a consulting engineer, and was responsible for Ringsend Docks connecting the canal to the Liffey, opened in 1796. From 1783 to 1787 Jessop advised on improvements to the River Trent, and his ability was so recognized that it made his reputation. From then on he was consulted on the Cromford Canal, the Leicester Navigation and the Grantham Canal. At the same time he was chief engineer of the Grand Canal from 1793 to 1797 and then consulting engineer until 1805. There were few canals during this period on which he was not consulted. Jessop thus carried the responsibility for the Pont-Cysyllte Aqueduct in Wales and also designed the Caledonian Canal in 1804.\From 1792 Jessop was also interested in railways projects. His advice was sought in addition on drainage works in the lowlands of the Isle of Axholm, the Norfolk Marshlands and the Axe and Brue area of the Sommerset Levels. He was also consulted on harbor and dock improvements. These include Hull in 1793, Portsmouth in 1796, Folkestone in 1806 and Sunderland in 1807. His great dock works were however the West India Docks in London and the Floating Harbor in Bristol. Jessop was regarded the leading civil engineer in the country from 1785 to 1806; he died following a stroke.\Anonymous (1996). Jessop, William. Biographical dictionary of the history of technology: 380-381. Routledge: London.Burton, A. (1981). William Jessop. The canal builders: 87. David&Charles: London. PHadfield, C., Skempton, A.W. (1979). William Jessop, engineer. David&Charles: Newton Abbot.Jessop, W. (1800). Facts and arguments respecting the great utilities of an extensive plan of inland navigation in Ireland. Porter: Dublin.Jessop, W. (1803). On inland navigation and public roads. London.Rolt, L.T.C. (1962). William Jessop. Great engineers: 43-65. Bell&Sons: London. P
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