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Last edited 04 Jul 2016

Robert Davies shipwright

This article is part of ICE's Engineer biographies series.

DAVIES, Robert (d. 1723), shipwright, leased a shipbuilding yard in Leith at the start of the eighteenth century.

At that time there was already a small dock, 60 ft. by 24 ft., known as Lynn's Dock, built at the end of the previous century. Davies was well connected by his marriage to Janet Livingstone, the daughter of the Court of Sessions Clerk.

In April 1709, he was made a Burgess of Edinburgh and in 1710 successfully renewed his petition to build a dock capable of the repair of large vessels. The dock was similar to previous docks in the area and used a right-angled kink in the bank of the Water of Leith to provide two sides of the dock, with a third wall built out parallel with the bank in the direction of the flow.

In 1718, Davies remarried, being styled as Honourable Shipbuilder in Leith. At his death in 1723 he left his family of three daughters and a son (who died in childhood) his yard, a small vessel worth Scots £300, and property in Leith.


This text is an extract from A Biographical Dictionary of Civil Engineers in Great Britain and Ireland, published by ICE in 2002. Beginning with what little is known of the lives of engineers such as John Trew who practised in the Tudor period, the background, training and achievements of engineers over the following 250 years are described by specialist authors, many of whom have spent a lifetime researching the history of civil engineering.

--The Institution of Civil Engineers