Sir Robert Rawlinson, English engineer and sanitarian, c 1860.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Mezzotint engraving by Thomas Oldham Barlow after a painting by Philip Westcott. Rawlinson (1810-1898) started out working in a stonemason's yard. From this he gained employment, first with Jese Hartley at Liverpool Docks, and later with Robert Stephenson (1803-1859). He was Stephenson's asistant on the London & North-Western Railway, and later his asistant surveyor. From 1843-47 he was chief engineer of the Bridgewater Canal. His growing reputation as a sanitarian led to his role as an inspector under the Public Health Act of 1848. In 1855 he was sent to the Crimea to improve hygiene conditions for British troops, where he succeeded in considerably lowering the death rate through disease. He became President of the Institution of Civil Engineers in 1894.