Huddart, Joseph (DNB00)

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HUDDART, JOSEPH (1741–1816), hydrographer and manufacturer, was born on 11 Jan. 1740-1 at Allonby in Cumberland, where his father was a shoemaker and farmer. He was educated at a school kept by the clergyman of the parish, and is said to have shown aptitude for mathematics and mechanics, to have constructed the model of a mill, and to have built a miniature 74-gun ship from the description in a work on naval architecture. On leaving school Huddart was sent to sea in the interests of a fish-curing business in which his father had engaged. On the death of his father in 1762 he succeeded to a share in the business, and took command of a small brig belonging to it, trading principally to Ireland. In 1768 he built another brig, mainly with his own hands, and while commanding these devoted much of his leisure to the study of navigation and to the survey of the ports he visited. In 1771 he went to London on a visit to a brother of his father, described as a wealthy tradesman in Westminster, whose daughters had married Sir Richard Hotham and Mr. Dingwall, both shipowners and holders of East India stock. On the introduction of these persons he entered the service of the East India Company, and in 1778 was appointed commander of the ship Royal Admiral, in which he made four voyages to the East. Meanwhile he occupied himself with the survey of the coasts and ports that came under his notice, and constructed charts of Sumatra and the coast of India from Bombay to the mouth of the Godavery, as well as—at home—of St. George's Channel. In 1788 he retired from the company's service, and seems to have been employed for the next three years in surveying among the Hebrides. In 1791 he was elected an elder brother of the Trinity House, and also a F.R.S. Several years before, the accident of a cable parting had turned his attention to the faulty manufacture of rope, and he invented a method ' for the equal distribution of the strains upon the yarns.' He now entered into business for the manufacture of cordage on this principle, in which he realised a handsome fortune. He died in London on 19 Aug. 1816, and was buried in a vault under the church of St.Martin's-in-the-Fields. He married in 1762 and had issue five sons, of whom one only survived him. His portrait, by Hoppner, is in the Institution of Civil Engineers.

[Memoirs of the late Captain Joseph Huddart, F.R.S., by his son Joseph Huddart (for private circulation, 1821, 4to); A Brief Memoir of the late Captain Joseph Huddart, and an Account of his Inventions in the Manufacture of Cordage (with portrait after Hoppner), by W. Colton; Remarks on Patent Registered Cordage, 1800,4to; Reports of Warm Registered Cordage manufactured by Huddart & Co., 1815.]

J. K. L.