Benjamin Blyth

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grave of Benjamin Blyth, Grange Cemetery

Benjamin Hall Blyth (14 July 1819 – 21 August 1866) was a Scottish civil engineer.[1]

Blyth was born at St Cuthbert's parish, Edinburgh[2] to Robert Brittain Blyth, an iron merchant, and his wife, Barbara, maiden name Cooper. He was their third son, and the first to survive to adulthood.

Blyth was trained as a railway engineer under an apprenticeship with Grainger & Miller, a railway contractor. In 1848 he established an engineering practice on the prestigious George Street in Edinburgh where it would remain for the next 100 years. He took his brother Edward Lawrence Ireland Blyth into partnership in 1854, Edward having finished his own apprenticeship with Grainger & Miller, the practice became known as B & E Blyth. The practice did work for the Caledonian, Glasgow and South Western, Scottish Central, Dundee and Perth, Great North of Scotland and Portpatrick railway companies.[1]

Blyth was a first cousin of Arthur Blyth, who was three times premier of South Australia in the 19th century. Their fathers were brothers.[3]

Blyth married Mary Dudgeon Wright in Leith, Edinburgh, on 1 August 1848.[4] Mary took on clerical duties in the early stages of Blyth's company.[5]

Blyth died from diabetes[6] aggravated by overwork at home in North Berwick on 21 August 1866 and is buried in the Grange Cemetery, being survived by his wife, seven sons and two daughters. [1][3] His wife died of meningitis in 1868, and their children were subsequently brought up by his wife's sister, Elizabeth Scotland Wright. His eldest son Benjamin Blyth II took over his father's practice[7] and the company remains in business to this day as Blyth and Blyth.[8] His house served as the offices of Scottish Natural Heritage between 1950 and 2003 and will revert to its use as a family home.[9]


  1. ^ a b c Dictionary of Scottish Architects entry
  2. ^ Old Parish Record of birth/christening
  3. ^ a b Blyth, E.L.I. 1893, The family of Blythe or Blyth of Norton and Birchet
  4. ^ Marriage certificate, held by Scottish records office
  5. ^ Blyth and Blyth: The First 100 Years, historical records held by company
  6. ^ Death certificate, held by Scottish records office
  7. ^ Dictionary of Scottish Architects son's entry
  8. ^ Blyth and Blyth
  9. ^ Edinburgh Architecture entry