Hamilton Owen Rendel

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Hamilton Owen Rendel (1843–1902) designed and installed the original raising mechanism of the Tower Bridge while working for Sir W. G. Armstrong Mitchell & Company of Newcastle upon Tyne.

Tower Bridge hydraulics[edit]

One of the original steam engines: a 360 hp horizontal twin-tandem compound engine, fitted with Meyer expansion slide valves

The mechanism was powered by pressurised water stored in several hydraulic accumulators.[1][2] Water, at a pressure of 750 psi (5.2 MPa), was pumped into the accumulators by two 360 hp (270 kW) stationary steam engines, each driving a force pump from its piston tail rod. The accumulators each comprise a 20 inches (51 cm) ram on which sits a very heavy weight to maintain the desired pressure.


Rendel was a member of a notable family of engineers. His father, James Meadows Rendel, was a civil engineer who married his mother, Catherine Jane Harris. His siblings were:

A cousin, James Murray Dobson, became resident engineer of the Buenos Aires harbour works in the 1880s and 1890s.


  1. ^ "Bridge History". Towerbridge.org.uk. 2003-02-01. Retrieved 2012-06-13. 
  2. ^ Lane, MR (1989). The Rendel Connection: a dynasty of engineers. Quiller press, London. ISBN 1-870948-01-7.