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Ennever & Enever family history & ancestry. Click here to return to the home page WJ Ennever (1869-1947). From the portrait by J Seymour R.A., exhibited in the Royal Academy.

James PINKERTON

James PINKERTON

Male Abt 1766 - 1849  (~ 83 years)

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  • Name James PINKERTON 
    Born Abt 1766  Middlesex Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Male 
    Occupation 1812  Kidwelly & Llanelly Canal, Dyfed, Wales Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Engineer 
    • A 9 mile long canal from Pontyberem to Burry Port.
    Census 1 Jun 1841  Bromley Street, Ratcliff, Stepney, Middlesex Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Died 8 May 1849  6 Clark Street, Stepney, Middlesex Find all individuals with events at this location 
    James Pinkerton (c1766-1849)
    James Pinkerton (c1766-1849)
    The Times 19/5/1849
    Occupation 15 May 1851 
    Civil Engineer 
    Notes 
    • The Pinkerton family may have originated in Lincolnshire or the East Riding of Yorkshire. James Pinkerton Snr was living in Cawthorne, Yorkshire in the 1760s. With John Dyson as his partner, he was contracted to work on the Ardingfleet Drainage, Driffield Navigation and Laneham Drainage between 1767 and 1769.
      In 1778 James Pinkerton Snr, in partnership with Robert Jessop and Robert Pinkerton, obtained the contract for the Beeston Brook to Nantwich section of the Chester canal.
      In 1779 James moved to North Cave, Yorkshire, buying the White Hart public house. Shortly afterwards he was imprisoned briefly for debt and the White Hart was taken over on his behalf by his brother, John. James Pinkerton Snr died in 1786 and his brother John became the leading contractor of the family.
      The bulk of the Pinkerton work was as muck shifters, either digging drainage ditches or as canal cutters. They often operated as management contractors, supplying labour and organizing other contractors for canal companies.
      From the 1780s the scale of the Pinkerton enterprise grew, with John Pinkerton managing up to 8 clients and projects simultaneously. Not surprisingly there were problems of cash flow and complaints over such matters as lack of progress, lack of supervision and quality of construction materials. At the same time the financial viability of some clients was also questionable.
      As the pace of canal construction quickened John Pinkerton had to delegate and rely on his nephews, including James Pinkerton Jnr.. James was first involved on the Rye Harbour contract in 1786. Following this he moved to Odiham, Hampshire, to supervise work on the Basingstoke canal with brother, Francis. Along with Francis and another brother George, James was involved in 1791 on the Leicester navigation, which included 8 miles of railway, in 1800 on both the Beverley Burnston and the Yedingham drainage.
      John Pinkerton had undertaken the whole work on the Basingstoke canal for a sum of £76, 690 6s 8d by a contract of October 3rd 1788. For a canal of over 35 miles this must have been the largest civil engineering contract awarded to a single contractor to that date. Complaints were made when the banks of the canal collapsed in 2 places within 6 months of opening and the Greywell tunnel was found to have been poorly built.

      In 1807 James Pinkerton Jnr, along with a Mr Ormond, successfully tendered for Lot 4 on the Glasgow, Paisley and Ardrossan canal. The contract involved excavation of 84, 370 cubic yards of material and construction of 11 bridges. The contract was forfeited the following year with only 12,417 cubic yards of excavation completed.
      James Pinkerton then tendered to complete the contract with a new partner by the name of Orr. By May 1809 work was virtually finished. In November 1810 it was still the only contarct on the canal to have been finished and, at £4,938, only marginally over the original tender costing.
      John Pinkerton died in 1813, leaving £7,500 in his will.
      He also left a fine reputation :

      Distinguished by sincerity of manners and gentleness of
      Temper. As a husband, uniformly affectionate; as a parent
      Laudably indulgent; as a friend, invariably constant……
      He was attached to liberty (and) embraced the Unitarian doctrine.”

      The Pinkertons continued working in the 2 decades following John's death. The most substantial works undertaken by James Pinkerton Jnr were in South Wales on the Kidwelly and Llanelly canal.. in the 1820s the family were contacted by Marc Brunel for labour as well as a supply of bricks for the Thames Tunnel.
      The last mention of the Pinkerton family is of William Pinkerton's unsuccessful tenders between 1839 and 1841 for the Great Western and the Bristol and Gloucester railways.

      Adapted from A Biographical Dictionary of Civil Engineers By A W Skempton (2002) by Fred Ellsworth
    Person ID I1332  1. Essex Ennevers
    Last Modified 10 Mar 2009 

    Family (spouse) Elizabeth HANSON,   Born:  1785/6, Godstone, Surrey Find all individuals with events at this location,   Died:  Yes, date unknown 
    Married 1 May 1822  St Bride, Fleet Street, City of London Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Children 
     1. Jane PINKERTON,   Born:  5 Oct 1819, Walworth, Surrey Find all individuals with events at this location,   Died:  Yes, date unknown
     2. George PINKERTON,   Born:  28 Jan 1822, Walworth, Surrey Find all individuals with events at this location,   Died:  Yes, date unknown
     3. Sarah PINKERTON,   Born:  23 May 1825, Walworth, Surrey Find all individuals with events at this location,   Died:  Yes, date unknown
    Family ID F427  Family Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Event Map
    Link to Google MapsBorn - Abt 1766 - Middlesex Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsOccupation - Engineer - 1812 - Kidwelly & Llanelly Canal, Dyfed, Wales Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsMarried - 1 May 1822 - St Bride, Fleet Street, City of London Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsCensus - 1 Jun 1841 - Bromley Street, Ratcliff, Stepney, Middlesex Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsDied - 8 May 1849 - 6 Clark Street, Stepney, Middlesex Link to Google Earth
     = Link to Google Earth 


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