Benjamin Blyth II

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Benjamin Blyth II
B H Blyth.jpg
Born 25 May 1849
Died 13 May 1917(1917-05-13) (aged 67)
North Berwick, East Lothian
Nationality Scottish
Education Edinburgh University
Spouse(s) Millicent Taylor
Children Benjamin Edward Blyth, Elsie Winifred Blyth
Parent(s) Benjamin Hall Blyth I, Mary Dudgeon Wright
Engineering career
Discipline Civil
Institutions Institution of Civil Engineers (president),
Royal Society of Edinburgh (fellow)
Practice name Blyth and Blyth
The grave of Benjamin Hall Blyth, Dean Cemetery

Benjamin Hall Blyth FRSE (25 May 1849 – 13 May 1917), often called Benjamin Blyth II, was a Scottish civil engineer.[1]


Blyth, who was born in St Cuthbert's Parish, Edinburgh,[2] was the eldest of the nine children of the railway engineer Benjamin Blyth[1] and Mary Dudgeon Wright. He studied at Merchiston Castle School between 1860 and 1864 before studying for a Master of Arts degree from Edinburgh University, graduating in 1867.

After the death of both parents – Benjamin Blyth in 1866 and Mary Dudgeon Wright in 1868 – Blyth and his siblings were brought up by their mother's sister, Elizabeth Scotland Wright.[3][4]

Following his father's death Blyth entered the family engineering consultancy and became a partner five years later. Blyth served as a consultant to the North British Railway and the Great North of Scotland Railway and served in an advisory capacity to the British Army with the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel in the Engineer and Railway Staff Corps. In 1872 he married Millicent Taylor [5] with whom he had a son, Benjamin Edward, who died in infancy,[6] and a daughter, Elsie Winifred.[1] He became a member of the Institution of Civil Engineers in 1877, being elected to its council in 1900. He served as vice-president in 1911 and in 1914 became the first practising Scottish engineer to serve as president.[7] On 7 February 1898 he became a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh.[8]

Blyth's house at 17 Palmerston Place, Edinburgh

In later life he lived in a large Victorian townhouse at 17 Palmerston Place in Edinburgh's West End.[9]

Blyth stood as the Unionist candidate for the East Lothian by-election of 1911. He lost. One of his platforms was opposing the giving of home rule to Ireland.[10]

He was widowed on 12 September 1914 and died in North Berwick on 13 May 1917, of "spittielioma of tongue".[11] He was survived by his daughter. His nephew, Benjamin Hall Blyth (sometimes referred to as Benjamin Blyth III) was the son of his brother Francis Creswick Blyth – who was taken on by Blyth and Blyth in 1909,[12] continued the consultancy after his death.[1]

He is buried on the obscured southern terrace of Dean Cemetery in Edinburgh, towards the east. His wife, Millicent Taylor (1852-1914) lies with him. Their infant son, Benjamin Edward Blyth, who died in 1875 aged only 6 weeks lies at their feet.


  1. ^ a b c d Dictionary of Scottish Architects entry
  2. ^ Old Parish Record of birth
  3. ^ Will of Mary Dudgeon Wright, held by Scottish records
  4. ^ Census of Scotland 1871
  5. ^
  6. ^ Blyth, E.L.I. 1893, The family of Blythe or Blyth of Norton and Birchet
  7. ^ Watson, Garth (1988), The Civils, London: Thomas Telford Ltd, p. 252, ISBN 0-7277-0392-7 
  8. ^ Royal Society of Edinburgh fellows list Archived 4 October 2006 at the Wayback Machine.
  9. ^ Edinburgh and Leith Post Office Directory 1905-6
  10. ^ The Scotsman, various editions from 1911
  11. ^ Death certificate, held by Scottish records office
  12. ^ Blyth and Blyth: The First 100 Years, historical records held by company

Professional and academic associations
Preceded by
Anthony George Lyster
President of the Institution of Civil Engineers
November 1914 – November 1915
Succeeded by
Alexander Ross