George Bidder

George Bidder, the son of a stonemason, was born at Moreton Hampstead in 1806. A talented mathematician, Bidder was educated at Edinburgh University, where he met Robert Stephenson. After a brief period working as a clerk for an insurance company, he became an engineer.

Bidder worked with Robert Stephenson on the London & Birmingham Railway. As chief engineer on the Norwich & Lowestoft line, Bidder became the first person to design and build a railway swing bridge. However, Bidder's most important work was the Victoria Docks in London.

Bidder was one of the founders of the Electric Telegraph Company (the first company formed to provide telegraphic communication). George Bidder died at Dartmouth on 20th September, 1878.

Primary Sources

(1) Robert Stephenson told Samuel Smiles how George Stephenson liked to wrestle with George Bidder.

When my father came about the office he sometimes did not well know what to do with himself. So he used to invite Bidder to have a wrestle with him, for old acquaintance sake. And the two wrestled together so often, and had so many falls (sometimes I thought they would bring the house down between them), that they broke half the chairs in my outer office.