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Jolliffe & Banks
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Edward Banks (1770-1835) was a Yorkshireman of humble descent, who began his working life as a labourer in the construction industry, though his talent and determination saw him rise to the very top of the profession. Aged only twenty-one, he was the contractor for the Leeds & Liverpool Canal and he first worked with John Rennie in 1793 on the Lancaster and Ulverston canals. In 1803 he was in Surrey building the Croydon to Merstham extension of the Surrey Iron Railway, whose trucks were pulled by mules. One of the users of the railway was the quarry at Merstham, whose stone had been used in the rebuilding of London Bridge after the Great Fire of 1666.The owners of the quarry were the Jolliffe family, and Colonel Hylton Jolliffe MP went into partnership with Banks. In 1807 his place was taken by his brother, the Reverend William Jolliffe (1774-1835),and they were soon one of the most important contractors in the country, building canals, docks, lighthouses and bridges.


Jolliffe & Banks

The monument to Sir Edward Banks in Chipstead Church in Surrey. All three of the bridges he built for Rennie feature on the memorial, with the bust of Banks himself sitting on an arch of London Bridge.



London's enclosed dock systems were developed during the early years of the nineteenth century, and Jolliffe & Banks, on the recommendation of Rennie, were involved in several of them, including the West India Dock and the London Docks. They were the contractors for all three of John Rennie's bridges in London and also worked on two of the bridges designed by his son, George Rennie, across the Serpentine in Hyde Park and over the Thames at Staines. They also worked with John Rennie on the naval dockyard at Sheerness and a scheme to drain vast areas of the Fens in Norfolk. In 1824 Jolliffe & Banks diversified by founding the General Steam Navigation Company, a highly successful business that for many years ran passenger and cargo services both on the Thames and across to the Continent.
The monument to Sir Edward Banks in Chipstead Church in Surrey. All three of the bridges he built for Rennie feature on the memorial, with the bust of Banks himself sitting on an arch of London Bridge.

The two men seem to have had a close personalrelationship as well as a good working partnership. Banks' second wife was the sister of his partner's wife, and one of Banks' daughters married Jolliffe's son.

Banks was knighted by George IV in 1822 for his work on Waterloo and Southwark Bridges, the first engineer to be so honoured. When he died he was buried in the churchyard of St Margaret's, Chipstead, Surrey, a spot he chose because he had fallen in love with the area when he was working on the Iron Railway. He was so proud of his work on the three Thames bridges that they all appear on his monument inside the church. His bust stands on a depiction of London Bridge, with Waterloo and Southwark on either side.

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