Named after John Smeaton (June 8, 1724 – October 28, 1792), the first self-proclaimed civil engineer, who is often regarded as the father of civil engineering. It was down to his role in improving the navigational capabilities of the River Lea, including new cuts and locks, which led to a major stimulus in trade to the area, that he received the honour here. Until his work, which was carried out between 1765 – 1770, the Lea served many conflicting interests, principally those of barge operators, millers fulling cloth or grinding corn, and the New River Company, which extracted clean water supplies for London. Smeaton also pioneered the use of hydraulic lime in concrete and was associated with the Lunar Society. And his work on improving the efficiency of watermills is said to have contributed to the Industrial Revolution.
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