Handyside, William (DNB00)

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HANDYSIDE, WILLIAM (1793–1850), engineer, was born in Edinburgh in 1793, and, after being apprentice for two years in an architect's office, accompanied his uncle, Mr. Baird, to St. Petersburg, where the latter had already an established reputation in engineering. Handyside speedily evinced special talent in the same direction, and was employed by the Russian government in important public works of various kinds. He designed the machinery for the imperial arsenal and the imperial glass-works, built many bridges and steam-vessels of all sizes, stationary engines suited to numberless different manufactories in all cases giving the details of the machinery, and superintending its execution. In 1824 he built four suspension bridges, and contrived an ingenious and most satisfactory machine for testing the strength of the links which support the roadways. His greatest monument as an engineer is the stone and metal work which he executed for the cathedral of St. Isaac in St. Petersburg, including a colonnade of forty-eight granite pillars, each of eight feet diameter and fifty-six feet high, and a circle of thirty-six monolithic pillars (each forty-two feet high), raised two hundred feet above the ground, and surmounted by an iron dome of 130 feet diameter. The column erected in memory of the Emperor Alexander, said to be the largest in the world, was raised to its position on a basement thirty feet high in twenty-five minutes, a feat in engineering which is probably even now unexampled. Handyside's great energy was overtasked in Russia, and when visiting his native town in 1850, he died there on 26 May.

[Proceedings of the Inst. Civ. Engineers, x. 85 ; Dict. Imp. Biog.]

R. E. A.