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Edward Ladd Betts (5 June 1815 – 21 January 1872) was an English civil engineering contractor who was mainly involved in the building of railways.

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posted by JOHN K THORNE alias JOHN K THORNE on Saturday 14th of May 2022 08:43:24 AM

Edward Betts was born at Buckland, near Dover, son of William Betts (1790–1867), a successful contractor's agent and railway contractor. He was apprenticed to a builder at Lincoln. However, becoming more interested in engineering, he then worked as agent for Hugh McIntosh building the Black Rock lighthouse at Beaumaris, Anglesey. Edward Betts's first railway undertaking was to supervise the building of the Dutton Viaduct on the Grand Junction Railway for Hugh McIntosh under George Stephenson as engineer. After the death of McIntosh in 1840, William Betts & Sons—the family firm now named for Edward and his father—gained contracts on the South Eastern Railway for stretches that included the Marsden-Ashford line, Maidstone Branch, and the Saltwood tunnel. They also obtained large contracts on behalf of David McIntosh for the Midlands County Railway, whereby the Betts family relocated to Leicester, and for the Manchester-Birmingham Railway. After that, Betts continued to gain contracts, especially in the Chester area. Upon his father's retirement at Bevois Mount, Southampton in 1845, Betts assumed full responsibility for the Betts company business. Separately, the partnership between the major civil engineering contractors Samuel Morton Peto and Thomas Grissell was dissolved in 1846, and so Betts worked with Peto on parts of the Great Northern Railway. In 1848, Peto and Betts established a formal partnership and together they were to work on a large number of railway contracts. Frequently, they also working in partnership with Thomas Brassey as Peto, Brassey and Betts. Possibly the greatest enterprise of this trio was the building of the Grand Trunk Railway in Canada. Betts undertook the actual management of the venture which included the Victoria bridge across the Saint Lawrence River at Montreal. Peto, Betts and Brassey built at great speed the Grand Crimean Central Railway which enabled supplies, particularly heavy ammunition, to be transported from Balaclava to the British troops engaged in the siege of Sevastopol in the Crimean War. Betts in particular was responsible for obtaining the enormous amount of supplies and equipment, the fleet of ships to convey them from England to the Black Sea and the navvies and skilled workers needed to carry out the work, also in a very short period of time. Around 1850 Betts bought a 'palatial residence', Preston Hall near Aylesford in Kent, and had it rebuilt in a Jacobean style, where he employed a staff of 18. Also in the 1850s, he acquired a London home at 29 Tavistock Square where he employed a further 8 servants and by 1860 he had moved to Great George Street, Westminster. In 1858, already a magistrate and a Deputy Lieutenant, he became High Sheriff of Kent. In the general election of 1865, he contested the Maidstone seat as a Conservative but was unsuccessful. Betts and Peto had always been amenable to major speculation; for example, once they had built the London, Tilbury and Southend Railway, they leased it as operators for twenty-one years from the opening in 1854, a speculation said in 1863 to be losing £24,000 a year (equivalent to £2,350,000 in 2020). In the 1860s, Betts and Peto agreed to build a line between London Bridge and Victoria for the London, Chatham and Dover Railway and to be paid entirely in the company's shares and debentures. To raise the funding for the construction they became involved in complicated finance-raising schemes, and with their overseas operations hindered by war, they overstretched themselves. Consequently, Betts and Peto were probably the most prominent casualties of the collapse of the bank Overend, Gurney and Company and the ensuing banking crisis when railway stocks were particularly badly affected and the London, Chatham and Dover Railway became insolvent and therefore the shares they had been paid in became worthless. They were unable to pay their creditors and became insolvent in the following year. Only minor works were to follow for Betts; small alterations to the Metropolitan Railway and an abortive attempt to improve the navigation of the River Danube. In 1843, Betts married Ann Peto (19 September 1820 – 23 January 1908[3]), the sister of Samuel Morton Peto.[4] Both are interred in the family vault in the churchyard of St Peter and St Paul's Parish Church, Aylesford. Their children were: Edward Peto Betts (b. 1845) sometimes referred to as Edward Ladd Betts. Elizabeth Peto Betts (22 October 1846 — 1 March 1940[3]) interred in the family vault at Aylesford. Morton Peto Betts (30 August 1847 – 19 April 1914), a leading English sportsman of the time. He was notable for scoring the first goal in an English FA Cup Final. Alice Peto Betts (b. 1849) Ernest William Peto Betts (29 October 1850 – 12 November 1932 was ordained as a Church of England minister and officiated at the weddings of his siblings Morton and Ann. Percy Campbell Betts (b. 7 January 1856 – 14 October 1878 accidentally shot himself at home while cleaning a revolver. Interred in the family vault at Aylesford. Herbert Peto Betts (b. 1857) was ordained as a Church of England minister and officiated at his sister Ann's wedding. Ann Gertrude Betts (b. 1858) Around 1850 Betts bought a 'palatial residence', Preston Hall near Aylesford in Kent, and had it rebuilt in a Jacobean style, where he employed a staff of 18. Also in the 1850s, he acquired a London home at 29 Tavistock Square where he employed a further 8 servants and by 1860 he had moved to Great George Street, Westminster. In 1858, already a magistrate and a Deputy Lieutenant, he became High Sheriff of Kent. In the general election of 1865, he contested the Maidstone seat as a Conservative but was unsuccessful. Next text is scanned and 95% complete. Still readable. M R . EDWARDLADD BETTS wasborn a t Bucklands, near Dover, on the5th of June, 1815. He was the eldest son of Mr. WilliamBetts,ofSandown,Kent. Atanearlyagehewasappren- ticed to a builder named Richsrdson, in Lincoln, and showed great aptitude for mechanical pursuitsh, aving constructed a small working model of asteam-engine. Thefirstcontract on which hc was practically engaged, undcrthe superintendence of his father, who was for many years associated with the eminent con- tractor, Mr. M'Intosh, was the erection of the Black Rock Light- house, near Bcaurnaris, North Wales. On the completion of this work, when onlycjghteenyears old, hesuperintended the con-struction of tlle Dutton Viaduct, on the Liverpool and Birming- hamrailway, at first underNr. George Stephenson, and after- wards under his successor, the late Mr. Joseph Locke, M.P., Past- President Inst. C.E. This was awork of considcrable mqnitude, executed at a time when thefacilities in use at the present day for carryingout such anundertaking were unknown.Fromthis period to the close of his life Mr. Betts was continuallyengaged in various railwayworks, many of which were of a difficult character, requiring organization of no ordinarynature,but for which his talentws erepeculiarly adapted. The&lidlandrailway from Rugby to Leicester, the South-Eastern from PIeigate to Dover, the line from Paddock Wood to Maidstone, andthe NorthWales mineral railway from Chester toWrexham,fdlowed in rapid succession. In the year 1845 AJr. Bettsentcredinto a contract for thefirst section of the Chester and Holyhead, andthe Chester and Mold railways. These works, together with the line through the island of Anglesea to Holyhead, were carried out under the direction of the lateMr. A. M . Hoss, who wasassociated with the lateMr. Robert Stephenson, &!LP.,Past-PresidentInst. C.E. On the completion of the last-named contract E . Betts entered into partnership with Sir S.Morton Peto, Bart., andconstructed the Great Northernloop line from Peterborought,hrough Boston, Lincoln, andGains- borough, 20 Doncaster ; the East Lincolnshire railwayfrom Boston t o Louth; the Oxford and Birmingham; theOxford, Worcester, and Wolverhampton;the Great SoutheronfBuenosAyres; andthe Duna- burg and Witepslr railway, in Russia; also the line from Algiers to Bledah, for the French Government, and many smallcr works, including the Net,herlands land drainage. It was at the suggestion of Sir S. Morton Peto, duringthewarinthe Crimea, thatthe English Government was induced togivean order for the con- struction of a railway from Balaclava to the camp, for the purpose of conveying material and ammunitionfor the siege of Sebastopol. Mr. Betts undertook the entire organizationof this important enter- prise, and with such cnergy, that in a few wceks from its com- mencement theline was inworking order. Many largeand important works wereexecuted by Nessrs. Peto and Betts inconnec- tion with the latMe r.Brassey. The Grand Trunk railwaoyf Canada (including the Victoria Tubular Bridge across the River St. Lam- rcnce at Montreal) may bementioned as ono of great magnitude. The Jutland and North and SouStchhleswigrailways,inDenmark; the Lyons and Avignon, in France; the Tilbury and Southend ; the Hereford, Boss, and Gloucester ; the South London and Crystal Graving Docks ; and many otherworks, were successfully carried to completion, principally under Nr. Betts’ personal supervision. The firm of Pet0 andISetts,in partnershipwith NCrr.ampton,constructed the whole of the London, Chatham, and Dover railway, including twobridges across the Thames. Those only who arepractically acquainted with the execution of large works, requiring constant andunremittingattention, can inany measure appreciate the amount of energyandmentallabour expended by Mr. Betts on thcse various enterprises. Mr. Betts was elected an Associate of the Institution of Civil Engineers the 26th of June, 1849. In 1851 and l852 he filled the officeof Chairman of theEastern Counties Railway Company. Thiswas a period of greatanxietyto him, and a strike of the engine-drivers employed on the line added to the difficulties of the management. Hisvigourandetermination were never more forcibly shown than on this occasion, when he not only completely s~~ppressedthemovement, and prevented itextending to other railways (as it was feared it might), but at the same time carried on the traffic with little interruption. An accident, which affected hiseyesight, compelled himtoresignthe position he had held with so much benefit to the company. Mr. Betts married, in 1843, the youngest daughter of Mr. William Peto, of Cookham, Berks. He was a magistrate and deputy-lieutenantfor the county of Kent, and in 1858 served as high sheriff for that county. In the year 1865 he contested the represectationof Maidstone in theConserva- tive interest. This brief sketch of Nr. Betts’ life would be incomplete without some allusiontohisprivateand domestic worth-his untiring applicationtoalltheduties of life, andindomitableenergy in fulfilling them-his stern rectitude in aldl ealings with his fellow- men, added to his generalbenevolence, nobleness of character, and the warmth and generosity of his friendships. How often he held out a helpinghandto those in difficulties, or started others in life who owe their subsequent success to him, many might attest, and some havegratefully acknowledged. Mr. Bettswas gifted with a clear judgment and a vigorous mind that grasped at once the main points of a question, and quickly decided on its merits. This almost intuitive perception of character enabled him promptly to estimate men’s worthandtheir capacity for any given work. That he was not often deceived in this respect is proved by the many life-long friendships he formed, and by the number of years his agents and emp1oyi.s continued to serve him with attachment and Declininghealthandthestrong recomlncndations of his phy- sicians induced him in the autumn of 1871 to go to Egypt, in the hope that a winter in that climate would restore his strength. But it was not to be; years of unceasinglabour had done their work but too surely; andon the morning of Sunday, January21st, 1872, he peacefully passed away, atthe age of 56, at Assouan, TTppcr Egypt. His rcmains were brought to England, and were interred at Aylesford, Kent, in which parish he had for many years resided. Edward Ladd Betts (1815-1872) of Peto and Betts 1815 June 5th. Born at Bucklands, Dover, the son of William Betts (1790-1867) and his wife Elizabeth Hayward Ladd ( -1847) 1836 Resident supervisor for Hugh McIntosh on the construction of Dutton Viaduct[1] 1843 July 6th. Married Ann (1821-1861), the youngest daughter of William Peto, of Cannon Court, Cookham, Berks, and the sister of Samuel Morton Peto.[2] 1844 Birth of son Edward Peto Betts 1846 Birth of daughter Elizabeth Peto Betts 1847 Birth of son Morton Peto Betts 1849 Birth of daughter Alice Peto Betts 1850 Birth of son Ernest William Peto Betts c1850 Bought a 'palatial residence', Preston Hall near Aylesford in Kent, and had it rebuilt in a Jacobean style, where he employed a staff of 18 in addition to his home at 29 Tavistock Square, London. 1851 Living at 29 Tavistock Square, London: Edward Ladd Betts (age 35 born Buckland, Kent), Engineer. With his wife Ann Betts (age 30 born Great Marlow) and their children Edward Peto Betts (age 6 born Wateringbury, Kent), Elizabeth Peto Betts (age 5 born St. Pancras), Morton Peto Betts (age 4 born St. Pancras), Alice Peto Betts (age 2 born Cookham), Ernest William Peto Betts (age 6 Months born Aylesford). Eight servants.[3] 1856 Birth of Percy Campbell Betts 1857 Birth of son Herbert Peto Betts 1858 Birth of daughter Annie Gertrude Betts 1861 Staying at the Royal Hotel, Plymouth: Edward Ladd Betts (age 45 born Buckland, Kent), Deputy Lieut. and Magistrate, Civil Engineer. With Ann Betts (age 40 born Great Marlow), Edward Peto Betts (age 16 born Wateringbury, Kent), and Elizabeth Peto Betts (age 15 born London). 1866 Peto, Betts and Crampton had agreed to build a line between London Bridge and Victoria for the London, Chatham and Dover Railway, to be paid entirely in the company's shares and debentures. To raise the funds for construction they became involved in complicated finance-raising schemes but overstretched themselves. Consequently, they were probably the most prominent casualties of the collapse of the bank Overend, Gurney and Co and the ensuing banking crisis when railway stocks were particularly badly affected. They were unable to pay their creditors and became insolvent in the following year. 1867 Sir Samuel Morton Peto, Bart., Edward Ladd Betts, and Thomas Russell Crampton, all of Great George-street, Westminster, in the county of Middlesex, being Traders, and carrying on business in copartnership as Contractors for Constructing Public Works, and Builders, under the style or firm of Peto, Betts and Crampton, were adjudicated bankrupts on the 3rd day of July, 1867. 1872 January 21st. Died at Aswan, Egypt 1872 Burial at Aylesford, Kent



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