James Leslie

1801 - 1889

Harbour engineer. Born in Largo (Fife), Leslie was educated at the University of Edinburgh, under his uncle Prof. John Leslie (1766 - 1832). He was apprenticed to the architect W.H. Playfair (1789 - 1857) and also worked with Sir John Rennie (1794 - 1874) in London. He returned to Scotland to become Clerk of Works at Leith Harbour in 1828. He was appointed Harbour Engineer in Dundee in 1832 and, as such, was responsible for the Customs House and Harbour Chambers (1842-3), the Earl Grey Dock (1834) and early work on the Victoria Dock (1833-70). He served in this post until 1846. He also built docks at Dysart (1830), Methil (1838), Arbroath (1839), Montrose Harbour (1841) and Kirkcaldy Harbour (1846), together with piers. He worked with John La Trobe Bateman (1810-89) for Dundee Corporation Waterworks and developed Clatto Reservoir (1874) and several aqueducts. He went on to gain a reputation for other reservoirs; namely Gladhouse Reservoir (1879), Edgelaw Reservoir (1880) and Rosebery Reservoir (1880) in Midlothian. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 1858. By 1872, he had formed a partnership with his son Alexander. He died in at his home in Leith and lies buried in Dean Cemetery (Edinburgh).

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