20th June 1858

Edinburgh engineer James Jardine dies

Engineer James Jardine was the first person to calculate mean sea level, which is the average height of water at a particular point. From this, it’s possible to make accurate calculations on land of the height of hills, depth of valleys and so on. It’s also used in flight so that planes can determine their altitude.

Water would be a recurring theme throughout his life. He worked on Eyemouth harbour and collaborated with Thomas Telford to improve Edinburgh’s drinking water supply. This necessitated the construction of a new reservoir outside the city centre, which also allowed for the complete draining of the loch that sat below Edinburgh Castle and had previously been the city’s main water supply. The land that was uncovered is now Princes Street Gardens. Elsewhere in the city, he worked on the digging of railway lines and the construction of Dean Bridge.

Jardine died in Edinburgh, aged 81.



Other events that occured in June

FREE Scotland history newsletter

Don't miss our weekly update on Scotland's fascinating history. We promise never to sell your data to anyone else, and there's a super-easy unsubscribe link on the bottom of each email so you can leave whenever you want.