James Simpson (engineer)

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James Simpson
James Simpson
Engineering career
Disciplinecivil engineer
InstitutionsInstitution of Civil Engineers (president) Fellow of the Royal Society

James Simpson (1799–1869) was a British civil engineer. He was president of the Institution of Civil Engineers from January 1853 to January 1855.[1]

James Simpson was the fourth son of Thomas Simpson, engineer of the Chelsea Waterworks. James succeeded his father in both this post and that of engineer of the Lambeth Waterworks Company. It was under Simpson's instruction that the Chelsea Waterworks became the first in the country to install a slow sand filtration system to purify the water they were drawing from the River Thames.[2] This filter consisted of successive beds of loose brick, gravel and sand to remove solids from the water.[3]

He also designed waterworks at Windsor Castle and Bristol as well as The Wooden Pier at Southend on Sea.[4] James Simpson established J. Simpson & Co., a manufacturer of steam engines and pumps. He made several improvements to the design of these machines.[5]


  1. ^ Watson, Garth (1988), The Civils, London: Thomas Telford Ltd, p. 251, ISBN 0-7277-0392-7
  2. ^ Brief History of the Chelsea Waterworks accessed on 1 December 2007
  3. ^ Hendricks, David (2005). Water Treatment Unit Processes: Physical and Chemical. CRC Press, p665. ISBN 0-8247-0695-1.
  4. ^ The Great Sheffield Flood
  5. ^ Roberts, Gwilym (1 January 2006). Chelsea to Cairo-- 'Taylor-made' Water Through Eleven Reigns and in Six Continents: A History of John Taylor & Sons and Their Predecessors. Thomas Telford. p. 134. ISBN 978-0-7277-3411-2.

Professional and academic associations
Preceded by
James Meadows Rendel
President of the Institution of Civil Engineers
December 1853 – December 1855
Succeeded by
Robert Stephenson