Birth of Edward Read, naval architect and Liberal MP

Born in Sheerness, Kent, Edward Read edited the Mechanics Magazine and in 1860 became secretary of the Institute of Naval Architects. In 1863 he was appointed Chief Constructor of the Royal Navy. During his time Read oversaw the final transition from wood to ironclad warships and the development of the revolving turret in a number of innovative designs including HMS Monarch and HMS Devastation. A long standing row with captain Cowper Coles led to Read resigning in July 1870. At the 1874 general election Read was elected as Liberal MP for Pembroke, later serving as MP for Cardiff. His parliamentary career was relatively uneventful, although he achieved office as a Lord of the Treasury in Gladstone’s short lived Third Administration. While an MP, he still found time to design ships for the German, Japanese and Chilean navies. In later life Read became a railway magnet, investing in a number of railroads in Florida, USA and advising the Channel Tubular Railway Preliminary Company – an early attempt at a Channel Tunnel. Read died age 76 in November 1906. His son Edward Tennyson (E.T.) Read was a leading political cartoonist working for Punch Magazine.