George Sorocold

Derby Guide - Famous Derbeians - George Sorocold

George Sorocold was a hydraulic engineer of great talent, most famous locally for installing Derby's first piped water supply in 1691-93.

He achieved this by using a patent wheel which rose and fell without loss of energy with the height of the river. The water was raised by a screw to a tank behind St Michael's church from where it was piped to a number of public outlets in Derby town centre. The water also drove a device for boring out fresh wooden pipes. He went on to install 18 similar systems in other UK towns including 2 in London.

Sorocold went on to develop hydraulic works of a similar nature for gentleman's parks including Melbourne and Calke in Derbyshire. He also developed the work done by Cornelius Vermuyden in draining lead and coal mines.

George Sorocold was born in Derby in 1668. His father lived at Eggington and Derby. His earliest works included the water supply at Macclesfield and the recasting of the 10 bells at All Saint's church in Derby. He worked on various river navigation improvements including the river Derwent which was implemented in 1721. He build locks, recieving from Liverpool the freedom of the town for the first wet dock there in 1708. Sorocold also built and engineered the Derby Silk Mill for John and Thomas Lombe.

In 1684 he married Mary Franceys at All Saints' in Derby and by 1702 she had given birth to 13 children. She died in 1728.

Another talent was that as a cartographer. The maps he showed to parliament of his various river improvement schemes are of outstanding quality.

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Derby Silk mill
Derby Silk Mill

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