University of Glasgow.
Educated at Belfast Academical Institution and University of Glasgow. Whilst still young, he offered himself as candidate for the Office of Engineer to the Belfast Harbour Commissioners, but was refused. Some of his positions were:
Advisor on the Suez Canal for the British Government.
Extensive works for Emperor Napoleon in France. Chief Engineer of the Plymouth and Dover Harbours. Chairman of the Anglo-American Telegraph Company.
Chief Engineer overseeing construction of the South Staffordshire Railway, which opened in 1849. After an Act of Parliament was passed to allow it, he took a 25-year lease on the railway, thus becoming the first person ever to be the sole owner of a railway. With the financial backing of several businessmen, he planned and built "The South Staffordshire Water Works Company" which piped fresh water to all of the Black Country.
He was President of the Institution of Civil Engineers from 1864-5. He unsuccessfully stood for Parliament as a Liberal Party candidate for Belfast at the 1857 general election, the second time he had been rejected by his native town. He was also Lieutenant-Colonel of the Engineer and Railway Staff Corps, a volunteer corps whose members serve as engineering advisors to the British Army.
[Royal Society; 20th United Kingdom Parliament]
He was elected at the 1868 general election as the Member of Parliament (MP) for East Staffordshire, and held the seat until his death in 1873.