Engineering legend Locke was former Lord of the Manor

A FORMER Lord of the Manor in Honiton has been commemorated for being one of Britain's most notable civil engineers.

A FORMER Lord of the Manor in Honiton has been commemorated - for being one of Britain's most notable civil engineers.Although less well-known than the likes of Isambard Kingdom Brunel and Robert Stephenson, Joseph Locke was a pioneer in the planning and design of railways.When the yorkshireman died in 1860 at the age of just 55, his obituary in The Times described him as "one of the triumvirate of the engineering world... who had been so influential in the nation's development".The important role he played in major engineering works has been recognised by the Retired Chartered Engineers Club and the Institute of Civil Engineers, of which he was a former president, through the unveiling of a plaque in Honiton.Mr Locke, who was one of Honiton's two MPs between 1847 and 1860, when the town was considered a "rotten borough", owned a 500 acre estate, now absorbed into the Combe Estate after its purchase by the Marker family.The plaque is placed next to one commemorating the Trafalgar Way.Deputy mayor Councillor Vivienne Ash attended the unveiling ceremony with Burt Deboo, chairman of the Retired Chartered Engineers Club, Gwilym Roberts CBE, past president of the Institute of Civil Engineers, and Geoffrey Banks, president of the Retired Chartered Engineers Club.The late Mr Locke's peers described him as "one of Britain's most important railway engineers".He was an experienced engineer by the tender age of 17, having served an apprenticeship on Tyneside, and was appointed an assistant when Stephenson was planning the Stockton and Darlington Railway.Subsequently, he became Stephenson's assistant and was responsible for building the western half of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway. On the opening day, in 1830, he drove Stephenson's famous Rocket.Mr Locke went on to develop railways all over Britain, including the Salisbury to Yeovil line.

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