John Miller (engineer)

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The grave of John Miller of Leithen, Dean Cemetery

John Miller FRSE (26 July 1805 – 8 May 1883) was a Scottish civil engineer and Liberal Party politician. Together with Thomas Grainger, he formed the influential engineering firm of Grainger and Miller, specialising in railway viaducts.


He was born in Ayr and died in Edinburgh.[1][2] He went into partnership with Thomas Grainger in 1825. The partnership was responsible for many of Scotland's great railway projects. Miller took the lead role in surveying the Edinburgh and Glasgow Railway.[3] He designed many viaducts, including the Lugar Viaduct, Cumnock and the Ballochmyle Viaduct, Mauchline.[4] A plaque commemorating his life was unveiled at Haymarket railway station on the 200th anniversary of his birth.[5] In 2012 a memorial was unveiled at Ayr, funded by the Institution of Civil Engineers.[6] A further plaque to Miller and his work was unveiled in April 2014, at Ballochmyle Viaduct. The plaque was produced by the Institution of Civil Engineers and was jointy unveiled by the ICE President, Geoff French, and East Ayrshire Provost, Jim Todd.[7]

Although primarily a railway engineer (including the design of railway stations) he was also responsible for the construction of Granton Harbour.[8]

He trained the engineer Benjamin Blyth.

Political Career[edit]

As John Miller of Leithen, he unsuccessfully contested the Stirling Burghs at the 1852 general election, and was defeated again in Edinburgh at the 1865 general election. He was elected unopposed as one of two Members of Parliament for Edinburgh at the 1868 general election, but at the 1874 election he lost his seat to another Liberal candidate, James Cowan.[9]

He is buried in the north-east section of the original Dean Cemetery in Edinburgh not far from the main entrance.


  1. ^ David Goold. "Scottish Architects". Scottish Architects. Retrieved 2 May 2012. 
  2. ^ "House of Commons constituencies beginning with "E" (part 1)". Leigh Rayment's House of Commons pages. Retrieved 11 April 2009. 
  3. ^ A Biographical Dictionary of Civil Engineers in Great Britain and Ireland; Google Books. Retrieved 2 May 2012. 
  4. ^ Waterston, Charles D; Macmillan Shearer, A (July 2006). Former Fellows of the Royal Society of Edinburgh 1783-2002: Biographical Index (PDF) II. Edinburgh: The Royal Society of Edinburgh. ISBN 9780902198845. Retrieved 25 September 2010. 
  5. ^ "Plaque unveiled at platform four to mark engineering achievements of John Miller". ScotRail. 26 July 2005. Retrieved 2 May 2012. 
  6. ^ "Scotrail: Ayr Honours ‘Scotland’s Brunel’". Retrieved 2 May 2012. 
  7. ^  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  8. ^ Buildings of Scotland: Edinburgh, by Gifford McWilliam and Walker
  9. ^ Craig, F. W. S. (1989) [1977]. British parliamentary election results 1832–1885 (2nd ed.). Chichester: Parliamentary Research Services. pp. 540, 561. ISBN 0-900178-26-4.