The Plaque to William Jessop (1745-1814) Civil Engineer
The link between Jessop and Newark on Trent, first came to notice when a comparison was made between a known example of Jessop’s handwriting with the mayoral signature in the Newark Borough records (Newark Advertiser report of 18th April 1970, page 10, col. 4). This confirmed that they were written by the same hand.
A past Society member, Mr Guy Hemingway, identified the house, 37 Appletongate, as being occupied by Jessop from 1784 -1805. Then in a very neglected condition, the Society had to wait until 1982 before the building came up for sale and was fully restored. The new owner, Mr D R Martin, was very receptive to the Society’s request to erect a plaque.
So it was, on Sunday 24th November 1985, that Mr D A D Reeve OBE, Chairman and Chief Executive of the Severn Trent Water Authority and President-Elect of the Institution of Civil Engineers was invited to unveil the plaque to Jessop.
Even the best laid plans can go wrong however, as the Society found out! When Mr Donald Reeve pulled the curtain unveiling rope – it snapped!
Contingency plans were quickly put into operation, and the Society’s Secretary, Mr Vernon Radcliffe fetched a ladder. Mr Reeve had to climb up to unveil the plaque, placed high up on the side-wall of the building. (see picture)
Earlier, Mr Reeve had described Jessop as a remarkable man and an engineer at the forefront of the canal mania at the end of the eighteenth century. He was an engineer to the Trent Navigation Commission and was twice Mayor of Newark, and an alderman of the town.
Born in Plymouth, Jessop was apprenticed to John Smeaton, who rebuild the Eddystone Lighthouse in 1759.
Guests to the unveiling were welcomed by the Society Chairman, Mr Wyc Lumus, and included the Chairman of Newark & Sherwood District Council Mr Sam Wilford, Vice Chairman Mr Dennis Rolt and Mayor of Newark Mr Vincent Dobson.
For further information on William Jessop click HERE