Sir Samuel Bentham, British inventor and naval architect, c 1800.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Engraving 'from an Old Miniature' of Sir Samuel Bentham (1757-1831), Inspector General of Naval Works. Bentham worked for nearly 20 years building up Britain's naval strength during the Napoleonic Wars. He sought out corruption and maladministration in the Admiralty dockyards and in so doing aroused such resentment that he was forced to resign in 1812, although many of his reforms had been adopted by this time. Other members of his family also achieved prominence: Bentham's brother Jeremy (1748-1832) was a philosopher and jurist, and his son George (1800-1884) was a botanist.