Alexander Nimmo

1783 - 1832

Surveyor, engineer and educationalist. Most likely born in Cupar (Fife), Nimmo moved to Kirkcaldy at a young age, where he attended the grammar school. He extended his education at the University of St Andrews (1797-99) and then at the University of Edinburgh, for a further two years, before taking a post teaching mathematics at Fortrose Academy in 1802. From there, he moved to become Rector of the Inverness Royal Academy (1805-11). He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 1811.

An enthusiastic experimenter and surveyor, he measured water temperatures deep within Loch Ness, examined the movement of sediment in the Moray Firth near Chanonry Point and produced a survey of Fort George. On the recommendation of the engineer Thomas Telford (1757 - 1834), Nimmo was funded by the Government to accurately measure county boundaries in the Highlands for Arrowsmith's map of Scotland, published in 1807. Nimmo then abandoned his teaching to work as an engineer and surveyor in Ireland. He reclaimed bogs and built roads, bridges and harbours and also advised on railways. He is particularly remembered for his contribution to the infrastructure of Connemara.

He died in Dublin. A marble bust of Nimmo is located in the premises of the Royal Dublin Society, sculpted by Irishman John Edward Jones (1808 - 1862), who had trained as an engineer in Ireland under Nimmo, before becoming a sculptor.

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