Transportation History

October 4, 1821

John Rennie, a civil engineer whose legacy included a wide array of notable transportation infrastructure projects throughout England, Scotland, and Wales, died at his home in London at the age of 60. Rennie had been born near the Scottish village of East Linton in 1761. He demonstrated considerable proficiency in mechanics at an early age.

Rennie, who studied at the University of Edinburgh, made his way to London in 1791 and launched his own engineering firm there. During the remainder of that decade, he focused much of his energies and expertise on the development of canals. The waterways that Rennie designed and built included the Lancaster Canal, the Chelmer and Blackwater Navigation, the Crinan Canal and the Rochdale Canal.

In addition, Rennie established a formidable reputation as a builder of bridges. He brought to these projects not only careful attention to details but also bold innovations, using…

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