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Benjamin Baker, British civil engineer

Benjamin Baker, British civil engineer

C028/8272

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Credit

MARIA PLATT-EVANS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY MARIA PLATT-EVANS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Sir Benjamin Baker (1840-1907), British civil engineer. Baker was born in Frome, Somerset and educated at Cheltenham Grammar School. At the age of 16 he was apprenticed in an iron works and began to learn about engineering. He later worked with eminent engineers WH Wilson and Sir John Fowler. He designed the cylindrical vessel used to transport Cleopatra's Needle (a large obelisk) from Egypt to London, and was instrumental in the design and construction of the iron-clad tunnels of the first underground railways in London. His true vocation was in bridge design. He was an expert witness in the enquiry into the Tay Rail Bridge disaster of 1879 and helped design and engineer the Forth Rail Bridge - revolutionary in its use of steel and its cantilever design. Baker was also consulting enginer on the first Aswan Dam in Egypt. He was knighted in 1890 and elected a Fellow of the Royal Society.

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