Longbotham, John

Longbotham, John
SUBJECT AREA: Canals
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b. mid-seventeenth century Halifax (?), Yorkshire, England d. 1801
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English canal engineer.
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The nature of Longbotham's career before 1766 is unknown, although he was associated with Smeaton as a pupil and thus became acquainted with canal engineering. In 1766 he suggested a canal linking Leeds and Liverpool across the Pennines. The suggestion was accepted and in 1767–8 he surveyed the line of the Leeds \& Liverpool Canal. This was approved by the promoters and by Brindley, who had been called in as an assessor. The Act was obtained in 1770 and Longbotham was first appointed as Clerk of Works under Brindley as Chief Engineer. As the latter did not take up the appointment, Longbotham became Chief Engineer and from 1770 to 1775 was responsible for the design of locks and aqueducts. He also prepared contracts and supervised construction. Meanwhile, in 1768 he had proposed a canal from the Calder and Hebble to Halifax. In 1773 he was elected to the Smeatonian Society of Civil Engineers. As soon as a part of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal was opened he started a passenger packet service, but in 1775, after completing both 50 miles (80 km) of the canal and the Bradford Canal, he was dismissed from his post because of discrepancies in his accounts. However, in the early 1790s he again advised the Leeds and Liverpool proprietors, who were in difficulties on the summit level. Longbotham had colliery interests in the Uphol-land area of Wigan, and in 1787 he surveyed a proposed route for the Lancaster Canal. In 1792 he was also associated with the Grand Western Canal. Details of his later life are scarce, but it is known that he died in poverty in 1801 and that the Leeds \& Liverpool company paid his funeral expenses.
JHB

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

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