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Sir Goldsworthy Gurney

Born 1793 in Padstow, he became a surgeon in Wadebridge. But by 1823 he had given up medicine to experiment with steam engines. He made a steam driven boat and a coach. In 1829 on of his coaches travelled from London to Bath and back at 15 miles per hour. However it was early days for steam engines, and there were powerful forces ranged against him - from sellers of horses to toll road owners. Gurney was forced out of business.

He carried on with experiments with steam engines, and perfected a means of channelling air to the firebox in a way that allowed the fire to function even when the engine was moving at speed. he also invented a better form of lighting for lighthouses., and it was he that realised that by giving each lighthouse a different flashing system, then sailors could know which lighthouse they were looking at.

Between 1854 and 1863 he was in charge of heating and lighting the Houses of parliament. And he was knighted for this in 1863. He built Bude Castle to prove that a house could be built on sand with the use of a concrete raft.

He died penniless in 1875, and was buried at Launcells Church near Bude. There is no memorial to him in Cornwall.





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