Guppy, Thomas Richard

BORN 1797, Bristol - DIED 28 Jun 1882, Portici, Campania
GRAVE LOCATION Napoli, Campania: Cimitero Britannico di Napoli, Via Nuova del Campo 25, Poggioreale (Via Nuova del Campo)

Thomas Richard Guppy was the son of Samuel Guppy, a merchant from Bristol. After his education Thomas Guppy travelled to the Mediterranean and returned to England in 1815. Because the war was over he sought an apprenticeship to an engineer but there was no work because the war was over. In 1820 he left from Portsmouth for Philadelphia. In the USA he financed his travels by selling manufactured copper products.

Afer a year in the USA he went to Germany to learn the language and to study architectural drawing. In Leipzig he studied under Professor Siegel and in Dresden he met Thormeyer, who was architect to the king. He studied in Dresden and in Munich before he entered aht Academy of Fine Arts in Paris in 1823. There Baltard was his teacher. In 1824 he returned to England. With his brother Samuel Guppy he ran the Friars Sugar Refinery at Bristol for several years.

But he wanted to be an engineer after all and in 1830 and in cooperation with I.K. Brunel he started a company for the construction of a railway from Bristol to London. In 1832 their project was endorsed by Parliament and the Great Western Railroad Company was formed. In 1835 Brunel and Guppy started a new project, a steamboat that would run from Bristol to New York and would also be called the Great Western. On 19 July 1837 it was launched, but during its first trial a fire broke out. On 8 April 1838 the Great Western sailed to New York for the first time. Guppy became the Engineer of the Great Western Steamship Company and under his supervision the ship the Great Britain was constructed. In was launched in 1846 but ran ashore after a few hours.

In 1849 he moved to Naples for health reasons. There he worked as a consulting engineer. In 1854 he started a mechanical engineering company that would employ hundreds of workers. In 1878 he was elected a member of the Institution of Civil Engineers. During his last years he still visited the premises of his company. He died in 1882 at Portici. The guppy fish wasn't named after him but after his nephew Robert Lechmere Guppy.

Related persons
• cooperated with Brunel, Isambard Kingdom


The grave of Thomas Richard Guppy at the Cimitero Britannico di Napoli.
Picture by Androom (16 Feb 2020)


Engineers Walk

Gurdjieff, George

Published: 18 Oct 2020
Last update: 18 Oct 2020