John Rennie, Scottish civil engineer, 1803.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Engraving by William Daniell after a drawing by George Dance. John Rennie (1761-1821) was a civil engineer and the younger brother of the agriculturist George Rennie (1749-1828). After studying at Edinburgh University, Rennie was employed by Matthew Boulton (1728-1809) and James Watt (1736-1819) in 1784. He moved to London in 1791 to set up his own firm and built up a great reputation as a contructor of bridges, canals, docks and harbours. He is famous for Leeds, Southwark, Waterloo and London bridges (the latter completed by his son in 1831), and was also responsible for the docks at Hull, Liverpool, Greenock and Leith and the harbours at Portsmouth, Chatham and Plymouth. He became a fellow of the Royal Society in 1798.