BARLOW, Peter William (1809-1885), civil engineer. ARTS AND COMMERCE PROMOTED MEDAL Instituted 1753 [Mercury and Minerva Medal]. Silver medal, engraved on the reverse "TO MR. P.W.BARLOW MDCCCXXIV FOR A PERSPECTIVE DRAWING OF A TRANSIT THEODOLITE". 52mm., EF, mounted in a removable medal suspender.
Peter William Barlow was born at Woolwich, the elder son of Professor Peter Barlow, engineer and mathematician. He was educated at private schools and went on to follow his ambition of a career in civil engineering by becoming a pupil of Henry Robinson Palmer (1795–1844), a founder member of the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE), who proposed him as an associate member in January 1826 (ODNB). Barlow went on to build bridges (he designed the first Lambeth Bridge over the Thames) and tunnels, developing new techniques, notably the cylindrical tunnelling shield which he patented in 1864. Barlow won this medal at the early age of 15 for drawing a transit theodolite, in itself interesting as this was a new invention at the time (1824), indicating Barlow's early interest in civil engineering instruments, as well as his skills as a draughtsman.