Sir Charles Fox (11 March
1810, Derby, United Kingdom – 11 June 1874) was an English civil engineer and contractor.
His work focused
on railways, railway stations and bridges.
Derby in 1810, he was the youngest of four sons of Dr.
trained to follow his father's career, he abandoned medical
training at the age of 19 and became articled to John
Ericsson of Liverpool, working with him and John Braithwaite on the Novelty locomotive, which he drove
in the Rainhill trials on the
He acquired a taste for locomotive
driving and was employed on the Liverpool and Manchester Railway,
being present at its opening.
In 1830 Fox married Mary, second daughter of Joseph Brookhouse
, by whom he had 3 sons
and a daughter.
One of his earliest inventions, patented in 1832, was the railway switch
in the UK),
which superseded the sliding rail used up to that time.
Robert Stephenson appointed him as
one of the engineers on the London and Birmingham Railway,
where he was responsible for Watford tunnel and the incline down
Town to Euston. He presented an important paper on the
correct principles of skew arches to the
1837 Herbert Spencer
, whose father
George Spencer had been Fox's tutor when young, joined him as an
entered into partnership with the contractor Joseph Bramah to form the company Bramah, Fox
and Co., which when Bramah retired became Fox, Henderson and Co.,
of London, Smethwick, and Renfrew.
company specialised in railway equipment, including wheels,
bridges, roofs, cranes, tanks and permanent way
materials. It also experimented
with components for suspension and girder bridges, with Fox reading
a paper before the Royal Society
company was responsible for many important station roofs including
Liverpool Tithebarn Street, (1849–50), Bradford Exchange (1850), Paddington and Birmingham New Street.
Henderson's expertise with structural ironwork led Joseph Paxton to invite them to build The Crystal
Palace for The Great
Exhibition of 1851.
Due to its innovative modular design
and construction techniques, it was ready in nine months. For their
work, Fox, Cubitt and Paxton were knighted
23 October 1851
exhibition they were employed by the Crystal Palace Company to move
the structure to Sydenham, re-erecting and enlarging it on Sydenham Hill,
thereafter known as Crystal Palace.
In 1857 he left the company to practise as a civil and consulting
engineer with two of his sons, Douglas
, and in 1860 formed a
partnership with his two sons, the firm being known as Sir Charles Fox and Sons
engineering work included the Medway bridge
at Rochester, three bridges over the Thames, a swing bridge across the River Shannon in Ireland, a bridge over the
Saône at Lyon and many
bridges on the Great Western
Railways upon which Fox worked included the
, Thames and
, East Kent
Lyons and Geneva
, Macon and Geneva
and the Zealand
lines. Fox was also engineer
to the Queensland, Cape Town
and Wynberg Railway and the Toronto narrow gauge
became an expert in narrow-gauge
railways and in conjunction with George Berkley he constructed the
first narrow-gauge line in India, and later
constructed narrow-gauge lines in other parts of the
Sons engineered the complex scheme of bridges and high-level lines
at Battersea for the London Brighton and
South Coast Railway, London, Chatham and Dover
Railway and London
and South Western Railway and the approach to Victoria Station, London, including
widening the bridge over the Thames.
also a member of the Institution of Civil
Engineers from 1838 until his death, a founder member of the
Mechanical Engineers from 1856 to 1871 and a fellow of the
Royal Asiatic Society and
Charles Fox died at Blackheath, London on 14 June 1874, at the age of sixty-four.
- Cooper, B., (1983) Transformation of a Valley: The
Derbyshire Derwent, Heinemann, republished 1991 Cromford: