Penarth Dock, South Wales - 150 years - the heritage and legacy  
Penarth Dock, South Wales - the heritage & legacy . . .

Index to Volume Seven - The People - Dock Family Trees - Engineers, Artisans & Doers . . .

Peter Thompson (c.1815-1867)

The following is the text of the obituary published by the Institution of Civil Engineers within Volume XLIV, Session 1875-6 - Part II : [174] [499]

Mr. Peter Thompson, born about the year 1815, was the architect of his own fortunes, for, beginning with very little, he in time reached a position of affluence and public importance. He was a native of the village of Forgue, near Huntley, Aberdeen shire, where his father, who had a numerous family, was a builder in a small way. The boy served his time as a mason to his parent, and subsequently attended a drawing class in Aberdeen, becoming proficient as a draughtsman. At the age of twenty-two he joined his elder brother George, who had then gained considerable reputation as a railway contractor, near Halifax, Yorkshire, and in the course of a few years developed such aptitude for the business that he was taken in as a partner.

He also joined the firm of Rennie, Logan, and Co., of Newport, Monmouthshire, which worked in conjunction with the other undertaking for some time afterwards, the operations of the Newport firm extending over the southern districts of the country, whilst those of George Thomson and Co. were more directed to works in the midland and northern portions of England.

A couple of years having elapsed, he went to Liverpool to superintend the construction of the first Kensington reservoir. He next repaired to Heywood, near Rochdale, where he remained for three years, and had charge of the construction of a portion of what is at the present time the main line between Bolton and Rochdale; the extension of a branch railway through the town of Oldham ; the making of part of the line from Shipley to Bingley, and the construction of a portion of the Midland railway through Darley Dale to Rowsley and Bakewell. He also made the railway from Matlock to Buxton, where in order to avoid the destruction of the picturesque seat of Haddon Hall, a tunnel is carried beneath the mansion.

In 1849 he returned to Liverpool, where his permanent residence was fixed, and where the head-quarters of his firm became located. Among the numerous local works which he undertook and carried out were the extension of the old Liverpool and Bury railway from Chadwick Street to Tithebarn Street and the building of the Exchange Station, and the construction of the line between Sandhills Junction and Waterloo (the Liverpool, Crosby, and Southport railway). He built the North Dock branch railway from Sandhills to the Stanley Dock, and deepened the Great Float for the Mersey Docks and Harbour Board. This work gave employment for three years to about 46,000 men and 240 horses, and from 2 million to 3 million cubic yards of excavations were made, the material furnishing the means of raising about 160 acres of Bidston Marsh.

He likewise constructed the Carriers' Docks and the Canada Half-tide Dock ; the London and North-Western branch to Canada Dock, including the tunnel under the Liverpool and Leeds Canal, a difficult undertaking, as it involved the temporary diversion of the canal without stopping its traffic ; the expansion of the tunnel to Wapping Station and the station ; and the Prescot reservoir for the Rivington water supply. The new reservoir at Kensington was also made by him, and the old one covered in.

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