About Philip Henry Witton

Philip Henry Witton

Philip Henry Witton (1762-1838) was employed by the Warwick and Birmingham Canal Company in 1793 as their Clerk/Accountant at a salary of £100 per annum plus a house.

Witton was an accomplished artist and seems to have been well connected, although he had perhaps fallen on hard times in 1793 as he is described on his appointment as Clerk as a "chape maker". After the Birmingham Riots of 1791 when rioters targetted religious and political dissenters, such as Joseph Priestley, who were voicing support for the French Revolution, Witton collaborated in a book of paintings that he made of some of the more notable damaged buildings. So as a skilled draughtsman and artist he turned his hand readily to technical drawing work.

In 1795 Witton takes on additional responsibilities for "drawing and measuring" and we are fortunate that his collection of drawings of "Utensils in Canal Work" survives and gives a fascinating insight into some of the fine detail of how the canal was built.

In 1798 Witton takes over the role of Engineer on the Warwick and Birmingham Canal and oversees the completion of works up to the opening of the canal in December 1799.

Some of his original drawings are shown here