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Sadly under-represented in statues, the men who literally built Britain – and London – may perhaps have to make do with Sir Christopher Wren’s epitaph in St Paul’s: ‘Reader, if you seek his memorial – look around you.’

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Engineers

Joseph Bazalgette

In 1853-54 more than 10,000 Londoners died of cholera. After the ‘Great Stink’ of 1858 closed Parliament, a massive sewer network was designed by Bazalgette (1819-1891). The two Embankments built to house the sewers also speeded up the flow of the narrowed River Thames.

Victoria Embankment WC2
Tube: Embankment

Hugh Myddelton

This self-taught engineer made his fortune as Royal Jeweller to King James I, but his greatest feat was to bring fresh water to the City from Hertfordshire in 1613. The New River project was 38miles (60km) long but he made little profit from it until the king stepped in to buy a half share and pay off debts.

Islington Green N1
Tube: Angel

Samuel Plimsoll

Commissioned by the National Union of Seamen, this 1929 work by Ferdinand Blundstone marks Plimsoll’s efforts in getting the Plimsoll Load line on all British ships, ‘preventing overloading of cargo’. The two figures are a seaman with a wreath and a woman representing ‘Justice’.

Victoria Embankment WC2
Tube: Embankment

Isambard Kingdo Brunel

Britain’s greatest engineer is immortalised by Baron Carlo Marochetti RA, who worked on the Arc De Triomphe in Paris and the Albert & Victoria tomb. Clutching a compass, one eyebrow raised, Brunel stands forlornly in a quiet corner of the Embankment, watching the ceaseless flow of traffic.

Temple Place WC2
Tube: Temple

James Henry Greathead

South African-born Greathead (1844-1896) developed the shield that made modern tunneling possible, while working on the Tower Subway, only the second tunnel under the Thames. Appropriately, the plinth of his statue hides a ventilation shaft for the Tube, built using his techniques.

Threadneedle Street EC3

Tube: Bank

Sir Richard Green

Outside Poplar Baths, this 1866 statue by Edward W. Wyon shows a noted local shipbuilder of East Indiamen, the last great sailing ships. Green also financed a local Sailor’s Home, orphanage, and hospitals. The dog has one ear missing, the result of a lad getting stuck behind it when climbing the statue.

East India Dock Road E14
DLR: All Saints

Robert Stephenson

Stephenson (1803-1859) was the only son of George Stephenson, developer of the steam train and railway, with whom he worked closely on perfecting engine designs. Also a noted bridge builder, he was one of the greatest engineers in an era of great men, leaving a phenomenal £400,000 in his will.

Euston Station NW1
Tube: Euston

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