Metcalf, John

[br]
b. 1717 Knaresborough, Yorkshire, England d. 1810
[br]
English pioneer road builder.
[br]
The son of poor working parents, at the age of 6 an attack of smallpox left him blind; however, this did not restrict his future activities, which included swimming and riding. He learned the violin and was much employed as the fiddle-player at country parties. He saved enough money to buy a horse on which he hunted. He took part in bowls, wrestling and boxing, being a robust six foot two inches tall. He rode to Whitby and went thence by boat to London and made other trips to York, Reading and Windsor. In 1740 Colonel Liddell offered him a seat in his coach from London to Harrogate, but he declined and got there more quickly on foot. He set up a one-horse chaise and a four-wheeler for hire in Harrogate, but the local innkeepers set up in competition in the public hire business. He went into the fish business, buying at the coast and selling in Leeds and other towns, but made little profit so he took up his violin again. During the rebellion of 1745 he recruited for Colonel Thornton and served to fight at Hexham, Newcastle and Falkirk, returning home after the Battle of Culloden. He then started travelling between Yorkshire, where be bought cotton and worsted stockings, and Aberdeen, where he sold horses. He set up a twice-weekly service of stage wagons between Knaresborough and York.
In 1765 an Act was passed for a turnpike road between Harrogate and Boroughbridge and he offered to build the Master Surveyor, a Mr Ostler, three miles (5 km) of road between Minskip and Fearnly, selling his wagons and his interest in the carrying business. The road was built satisfactorily and on time. He then quoted for a bridge at Boroughbridge and for a turnpike road between Knaresborough and Harrogate. He built many other roads, always doing the survey of the route on his own. The roads crossed bogs on a base of ling and furze. Many of his roads outside Yorkshire were in Lancashire, Cheshire and Derbyshire. In all he built some 180 miles (290 km) of road, for which he was paid some £65,000.
He worked for thirty years on road building, retiring in old age to a cotton business in Stockport where he had six spinning jennies and a carding engine; however, he found there was little profit in this so he gave the machinery to his son-in-law. The last road he built was from Haslington to Accrington, but due to the rise in labour costs brought about by the demand from the canal boom, he only made £40 profit on a £3,000 contract; the road was completed in 1792, when he retired to his farm at Spofforth at the age of 75. There he died, leaving a wife, four children, twenty grandchildren and ninety greatgrandchildren. His wife was the daughter of the landlord of the Granby Inn, Knaresborough.
[br]
Further Reading
S.Smiles, Lives of the Engineers, Metcalfe, Telford: John Murray.
IMcN

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

Look at other dictionaries:

  • John Metcalf (civil engineer) — John Metcalf, or as he was more popularly known, Blind Jack Metcalf (August 15, 1717 ndash; April 26, 1810) was the first of the professional road builders to emerge during the Industrial Revolution. Made blind from smallpox at the age of six,… …   Wikipedia

  • Metcalf (surname) — Metcalf is a surname, and may refer to: Barbara Metcalf, American historian Chris Perry Metcalf, British actor Donald Metcalf, Australian physiologist Dorothy Metcalf Lindenburger, American trainee astronaut Eric Metcalf, American football player …   Wikipedia

  • John Metcalf — can refer to: * John Metcalf (civil engineer) (1717 ndash;1810), British civil engineer * John Metcalf (writer) (b. 1938), Canadian writer and editor * John Metcalf (driver), NASCAR series driver * John Metcalf (composer), Welsh composer * John… …   Wikipedia

  • John Metcalf (writer) — John Metcalf is also the real name of Blind Jack. John Metcalf (born 12 November 1938) is a Canadian writer, editor and critic.Born in Carlisle, England he was educated at Bristol University, receiving his BA in 1960 and a Certificate in… …   Wikipedia

  • John H. Chafee — John Chafee John Lester Hubbard Chafee (* 22. Oktober 1922 in Providence, Rhode Island; † 24. Oktober 1999 in Bethesda, Maryland) war ein US amerikanischer Politiker. Er gehörte der Republikanischen Partei an …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • John Hubbard Chafee — John Chafee John Lester Hubbard Chafee (* 22. Oktober 1922 in Providence, Rhode Island; † 24. Oktober 1999 in Bethesda, Maryland) war ein US amerikanischer Politiker. Er gehörte der Republikanischen Partei an …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • John Lester Hubbard Chafee — John Chafee John Lester Hubbard Chafee (* 22. Oktober 1922 in Providence, Rhode Island; † 24. Oktober 1999 in Bethesda, Maryland) war ein US amerikanischer Politiker. Er gehörte der Republikanischen Partei an …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • John Davis Long — Mandats 32e gouverneur du Massachusetts 8 janvier  …   Wikipédia en Français

  • John Metcalf (composer) — John Metcalf (born 1946) is a leading Welsh composer. Educated at Dean Close School, Cheltenham he is a joint UK Canadian citizen, his music has been widely performed throughout Europe, North America and elsewhere.His work has embraced a variety… …   Wikipedia

  • John Saul's Blackstone Chronicles — John Saul s Blackstone Chronicles: An Adventure in Terror is an adventure game by Legend Entertainment and Red Orb Entertainment released in 1998.The game is based on serial novels that were written by John Saul, called Blackstone Chronicles A… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.