Fleeming Jenkin

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Henry Charles Fleeming Jenkin (25 March 1833 – 12 June 1885) was Professor of Engineering at the University of Edinburgh, remarkable for his versatility. Known to the world as the inventor of telpherage, he was an electrician and cable engineer, economist, lecturer, linguist, critic, actor, dramatist and artist. His descendants include the Tory MPs Patrick, Lord Jenkin of Roding and Bernard Jenkin.


Early life

Background and childhood

Generally called Fleeming (pronounced /ˈflɛmɪŋ/ "flemming") Jenkin, after Admiral Fleeming, one of his father's patrons, he was born to an old and eccentric family, in a government building near Dungeness, Kent, England, his father, Captain Charles Jenkin, at that time being in the coast-guard service. His versatility was derived from his mother, Henrietta Camilla Jackson, a strong and energetic character who sang and sketched. Owing to her husband's frequent absence, she became responsible for Fleeming's education. She took him to the south of Scotland, where, chiefly at Barjarg, she taught him drawing and allowed him to ride his pony on the moors. He went to school at Jedburgh, Borders, and afterwards to the Edinburgh Academy, where he won many prizes. Among his school fellows were James Clerk Maxwell and Peter Guthrie Tait.

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