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Sir James Falshaw


1810 - 1889

Railway engineer and local politician. Born in Leeds (Yorkshire), the sixth of fourteen children of a wool merchant, Falshaw trained as an engineer and surveyor in Leeds. He found much work with the railway boom of the 1840s, working first in the North of England, but moving to Scotland in 1845. Based in Stirling, he worked on the Scottish Central Railway, which linked the existing Edinburgh and Glasgow Line with Stirling, Dunblane and Perth. Falshaw was also responsible for the construction of the Scottish Midland Railway, an extension from Perth to Forfar. He went on the work with Thomas Brassey on the construction of the Inverness and Nairn Railway (1855), its extension to Elgin (1858) and sections of the Portpatrick Railway (1861).

Falshaw settled in Edinburgh in 1858, joined the Town Council in 1861 and served as Lord Provost of the city (1874-77). During this time he was involved in various improvement projects, including building new reservoirs in Midlothian to supply the city with drinking water. He was knighted in 1876 and went on to serve as Chairman of the North British Railway Company (1882-87) during which time he promoted the building of the Forth Bridge.

Falshaw died at home in Belgrave Crescent in , Edinburgh and lies buried in Dean Cemetery. He is remembered by the Falshaw Bridge in Stockbridge, a window in St. Giles Kirk, a portrait in Edinburgh City Chambers and a bust in the Playfair Library of Old College in the University of Edinburgh.


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