George IV Bridge – celebrating 50 years

Engineering papers of John Rennie: acquired in 1970

The papers of Scottish engineer John Rennie (1761-1821) were the first engineering papers to come to the National Library of Scotland.

They consist mainly of the office correspondence of Rennie's engineering business, and the other material left in his office at his death in 1821. The papers run from the beginning of his career in 1782, and show the astonishing variety and geographical spread of his activities.

Among the collection is a long series of notebooks describing works that Rennie visited or projects that he was engaged in. Shown here is a drawing of the iron bridge over the Severn at Buildwas in Shropshire. The bridge itself was designed by Rennie's great rival, Thomas Telford. It represented a great technical advance in being both longer and lighter than the famous bridge over the Severn at Ironbridge on which it was modelled.

The Rennie Papers were received in 1970, and were followed by many other technological and scientific collections.

<  '50 years' home page