Beardmore, Nathaniel

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Nathaniel Beardmore


Nathaniel Beardmore 1816 (Nottingham, UK) -1872 (Broxbourne, Herts., UK)


Beardmore was born on 19 March 1816 in Nottingham, England. He began his professional education as a pupil to Plymouth architect George Wightwick, and subsequently apprenticed to the well-known civil engineer James Meadows Rendel (1799-1856). He later became a partner in Rendel's engineering practice, for which he prepared surveys and drawings of railways, roads, bridges and harbors, worked on water supplies in both Scotland and England, and to a lesser extent worked on railroad projects. His partnership with Rendel ceased amicably in 1848, and Beardmore in 1850 became the sole engineer for the drainage and navigation works on the River Lea. In 1854 he was awarded a Telford Medal by the Institution of Civil Engineers for his paper 'Description of the Navigation and Drainage Works, recently executed on the Tidal portion of the River Lea'.

To quote from the ICE Obituary: "The navigation being one that in places utilizes the old river chaanel, and, in other places, is worked through special cuts, has, in con- sequence, in many parts, thc whole of the floods of the valley to carry off, and hence as the difficulties of navigation were more due to excess than to want of water, a considerable amount of engineering skill was required to construct durable works capable of being economically managed under these conditions. In his report of 1859 Mr. Beardmore states that previously to 1860 the locks and bridges were in the last stage of existence; and some idea of the task which he undertook may be gathered from the fact, that the works executed under his superintendence comprised the rebuild ing of thirty-eight bridges, twelve locks, sixtumbling-bays,the formation of five cuts, and the obliteration of four locks and two tumbling-bays."

A man of diverse talents and many interests, he was elected a Fellow of the Geological Society of London (1848), and a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society (1858). He was also elected a member of the Institution of Civil Engineers (1846), and a member of the Royal Meteorological Society (1851), serving in 1861 and 1862 as president of the latter society.

He published the first edition of his well-known book Hydraulic Tables in 1850, when he began his own engineering practice. A third, expanded edition of this work under the title of Manual of Hydrology that appeared in 1862 greatly enhanced his reputation as an engineer, much to the benefit his business during the remaining ten years of his life.

He moved in 1855 to Broxbourne, Hertfordshire, where he died on 24 August 1872 of pneumonia. His eldest son Nathaniel St. Bernard Beardmore inherited his business and carried on his engineering practice.[1]

Hydrological Achievements[edit]

To quote from the ICE obituary "Mr. Beardmore’s ‘‘Manual of Hydrology ” is a book too well-known to the profession to require any special description. In early years he had found by personal experience how much labour might be saved by the systematic use of tables in the computations daily required by the hydraulic engineer; and many of the tables it contained were originally prepared for private use. The first edition was published in May, 1850, under the unassuming title of “ Hydraulic Tables”. Its compilation cost him much mental labour, most of which was performed in the quiet midnight hours, when the professional work of the day was ended. The estimation in which these tables were held by competent judges, and the manner in which they were appreciated by the profession in general, was shown by the fact that in a very short time (September, 1851) a second edition was called for. This edition, which was considerably enlarged and amended, was immediately printed and published. It was sold out nearly as quickly as its predecessor, and the work soon became very scarce; but, the Author, insteadof reprinting, was anxious still more to improve, arrange, and extend its contents, whichhad been compiled originally rather in the form of notes than as an exact treatise. Much time was spent in making the necessary calculations, and in collecting and collating additional data, Mr. Beardmore being in correspondence with scientific men in all parts of the world, so that it was not until 1862 that the “Manual of Hydrology,” as it now stands,was placed before the public. It is to be feared that English engineers are with justness reproached with their indisposition to communicate to others the result of their investigations and experience. By the publication of the work in its complete form Mr. Beardmore proved himself an honourable exception to a general rule, and earned the gratitude of his professional brethren."

Reference Material[edit]

Nathaniel Beardmore, Wikipedia, accessed 15.04.2016

Institution of Civil Engineers Obituary

Major Publications[edit]

Bearmore, N, 1950, Hydraulic tables, to aid the calculation of water and mill power, water supply,drainage, and navigable rivers; with synopsis of rainfall in Great Britain, &c. SFO. London, 1850.

Beardmore, N, 1852, Hydraulic tables, to aid the calculation of mater and mill power, vater supply, and drainage of towns, and improvement of navigable rivers ; together with the properties and strength of rnaterials; useful numbers and logarithms; also tide tables for 1852, 1853, 1852; tide constants ; with various phenomena of tidal rivers. 8vo. Plates. London, 1852.

Beardmore, N, 1862, Manual of Hydrology; containing-I. Hydraulicand other tables; II. Rivers, Flow of Water, Springs, Wells, and Percolation ; III. Tides, Estuaries, and Tidal Rivers ; IV. Rain-falland Evaporation. By Nathaniel Beardmore, Civil Engineer. London, 1862.