Robert Daglish (1779–1865) was a colliery manager, mining, mechanical and civil engineer at the beginning of the railway era. He was born in North East England and became a member of the Institution of Civil Engineers in 1830. Following his death at Orrell on 28 December 1865 he was buried at Wigan Parish Church. He had married Margaret Twizel in 1804; their children included George (1805–1870), who became a surgeon, and Robert, who also was an engineer.[1]

Haigh Foundry

Dalglish moved to Lancashire in 1804 to take up employment for Lord Balcarres of Haigh HallHistoric country house in Haigh, near Wigan in Greater Manchester England. . He managed the Haigh FoundryIronworks and foundry in Haigh near Wigan that was notable for the manufacture of steam engines. and adjacent Brock Mill Forge. While there he built pumping, winding and blast engines which in their day were described as “improved and efficient machines”.[2]


Around 1810, Daglish moved to Orrell where he was appointed manager of John Clarke’s Orrell Colliery. Having seen John BlenkinsopMining engineer at Charles Brandling’s Middleton Collieries who patented a rack and pinion system for a steam locomotive and commissioned the first practical railway locomotive from Fenton, Murray and Wood’s Round Foundry in Holbeck, Leeds in 1811. ‘s rack locomotive for the Middleton Railway near Leeds in 1812, under licence, he built the Walking HorseLancashire’s first steam locomotive, built by Robert Daglish in 1812 at the Haigh Foundry for colliery owner, John Clarke; it entered service the following year. to a similar design as Blenkinsop’s SalamancaSalamanca, designed and built by Matthew Murray in 1812, was the world’s first commercially successful steam locomotive..[2] He converted the colliery wagonway between the pits at Winstanley and the Leeds and Liverpool Canal at Crooke to a running track with stone sleepers and iron rails.[3][4] The locomotive was built at Haigh Foundry. Under Daglish’s management the colliery was extremely profitable.[2] He built two more locomotives and said they each did the work of 14 horses saving the company about £500 per year.[4]


Dalglish supervised much of the construction work on the Bolton and Leigh RailwayLancashire's first public railway, promoted as a mineral line in connection with William Hulton's coal pits to the west of his estate at Over Hulton. which opened in 1828.[5] He rebuilt the locomotive, Novelty, for the St Helens and Runcorn Gap Railway in 1833. With his son, Robert who erected the machinery for that railway’s inclined planes, he operated the line from 1839 until 1848. Dalglish was consulted by other railway companies such as the Newcastle & Carlisle Railway in 1832 and the Great North of England Railway. He won a prize in the London and Birmingham Railway’s competition for the best design for rail chairs. In North America, Dalglish was consulted by the Baltimore and Susquehanna, the Boston and Providence, the New York and Harlem and Norwich and Worcester Railroads.[1]

Robert Daglish jnr.

Daglish’s son, Robert (1809 – 1883) was also an engineer. He trained with Hick and Rothwell in Bolton before moving to Lee Watson and Company’s St Helens Iron Foundry. The foundry supplied machinery for mills, mines, waterworks, glassworks, and railways. Iron lattice truss bridges were supplied to the Liverpool and Bury Railway in 1846. He was also a railway contractor.