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Sir William Fairbairn, 1st Baronet of Ardwick (1789-1874)
3rd President of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.
Fairbairn was born in Kelso, Scotland in 1789.
At the age of sixteen, he was apprenticed to Percy Main Colliery, near Newcastle-on-Tyne. In 1811, he moved to London, where he worked for Rennie and Penn. In 1817, he launched a mill-machinery business with a former shop-mate, James Lillie.
Fairbairn was involved with many of the major technological advances of his day. Some of the areas he was involved with include bridge building, machinery manufacture, investigation into the strength of materials and the construction of boilers, as well as the prevention of boiler explosions. He was also one of the first to experiment with shipbuilding in iron, and his shipyard at Millwall was the earliest iron-shipbuilding establishment of any great size in England.
Fairbairn was appointed 1st Baronet of Ardwick in 1869 having declined a Knighthood in 1861.
He died in 1874.