John Rennie, engineer, was born on the 7th June 1761 at Phantassie, Haddingtsonshire, Scotland. He was educated at Dunbar High School and later at Edinburgh University. In 1783 Rennie took a study tour into England making notes on engineering methods on canals, bridges and machinery. Following the tour and Rennie's introduction to James Wyatt, he began work at Albion Mills, Birmingham, in which he had erected the machines. By the time the building burnt down in 1791, he had established a reputation for supplying millwork which stretched as far as France, Spain and Portugal. From 1790 he was appointed surveyor to the Kennet and Avon Canal and later undertook a number of river navigation, harbour improvements, fen drainage schemes and waterworks. He is chiefly remembered for his bridge building which included Waterloo Bridge, Southward Bridge and London Bridge. He died on the 4th October 1821 at his home in Stamford Street, Southwark.