Fairbairn, Sir William, F.R.S., was born at Kelso, N.B., in 1789. After being educated as an engineer at Newcastle-on-Tyne, he started business in Manchester at the age of eight-and-twenty. He directed his attention to the use of iron for construction, and, having been successful in several minor experiments, began in 1835 to build iron ships. His experience aided Stephenson in the carrying out of the Menai tubular bridge. Among many technical works he wrote Iron: Its History and Manufacture, The Application of Iron to Building Purposes, and Iron Shipbuilding. One of the originators of the British Association, he became its president in 1861, received the medal of the Royal Society, and was created a baronet in 1869, dying in 1874. His brother, Sir Peter, and his nephew, Sir Andrew Fairbairn, have been eminent as manufacturers and public men at Leeds, and his son, Sir Thomas Fairbairn, the present baronet, is an authority on matters of art and on the labour question.