Fox, Sir Charles

Fox, Sir Charles
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b. 11 March 1810 Derby, England
d. 14 June 1874 Blackheath, London, England
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English railway engineer, builder of Crystal Palace, London.
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Fox was a pupil of John Ericsson, helped to build the locomotive Novelty, and drove it at the Rainhill Trials in 1829. He became a driver on the Liverpool \& Manchester Railway and then a pupil of Robert Stephenson, who appointed him an assistant engineer for construction of the southern part of the London \& Birmingham Railway, opened in 1837. He was probably responsible for the design of the early bow-string girder bridge which carried the railway over the Regent's Canal. He also invented turnouts with switch blades, i.e. "points". With Robert Stephenson he designed the light iron train sheds at Euston Station, a type of roof that was subsequently much used elsewhere. He then became a partner in Fox, Henderson \& Co., railway contractors and manufacturers of railway equipment and bridges. The firm built the Crystal Palace in London for the Great Exhibition of 1851: Fox did much of the detail design work personally and was subsequently knighted. It also built many station roofs, including that at Paddington. From 1857 Fox was in practice in London as a consulting engineer in partnership with his sons, Charles Douglas Fox and Francis Fox. Sir Charles Fox became an advocate of light and narrow-gauge railways, although he was opposed to break-of-gauge unless it was unavoidable. He was joint Engineer for the Indian Tramway Company, building the first narrow-gauge (3 ft 6 in. or 107 cm) railway in India, opened in 1865, and his firm was Consulting Engineer for the first railways in Queensland, Australia, built to the same gauge at the same period on recommendation of Government Engineer A.C.Fitzgibbon.
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Principal Honours and Distinctions
Knighted 1851.
Further Reading
Obituary, 1875, Minutes of Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers 39:264.
F.Fox, 1904, River, Road, and Rail, John Murray, Ch. 1 (personal reminiscences by his son).
L.T.C.Rolt, 1970, Victorian Engineering, London: Allen Lane.
PJGR

Biographical history of technology. - Taylor & Francis e-Librar. . 2005.

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