January 23, 1745
Civil engineer William Jessop – best known today for his prodigious work on canals, harbors, and railways – was born in the settlement of Plymouth Dock (now Devenport) in southwestern England.
The significant engineering projects that Jessop helped bring to fruition include the Grand Canal of Ireland, a pair of canals connecting Dublin with the River Shannon; the Cromford Canal, a major link between the English village of Cromford and the Derbyshire-based Eerwash Canal; the Grantham Canal, England’s first canal that was wholly dependent on reservoirs for its water supply; the West India Docks, the first large wet docks built at the Port of London; and the horse-drawn Surrey Iron Railway, widely considered to be the first public railway in the world.
Jessop also served as a mentor of sorts to other notable civil engineers, including John Rennie and Thomas Telford. Jessop died at his home near the English town of Ripley in 1814 at age of 69.
For more information on William Jessop, please check out https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Jessop.