George Parker Bidder, mathematician, engineer and child prodigy, 1815.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Engraving by S Freeman after an original work by John King of George Parker Bidder 'The calculating phenomenon of England'. Bidder (1806-1878), portrayed here as a child prodigy aged about 9, was known as the 'Calculating Boy'. He performed public demonstrations of his arithmetical skills throughout Britain as a child and became a civil engineer, inventing the railway swing bridge. In 1846 he worked on the development of transatlantic cables with the Electric Telegraph Company and later designed the Royal Victoria Docks which opened in 1856. He was also a parliamentary advisor.