Triple portrait of Joseph Mitchell.
Reproduced with permission of the Highland Council.
Civil engineer Joseph Mitchell (1803-1883) was born in Forres and educated in Inverness and Aberdeen. He assisted Thomas Telford in the construction of the Caledonian Canal and succeeded his father as Chief Inspector & Superintendent of Highland Roads and Bridges for 40 years from 1824. He was engineer for the Inverness & Perth, Inverness & Aberdeen, Inverness & Nairn, Inverness & Ross-sire Junction Railway Companies, retiring in 1867. In that role Joseph Mitchell designed, surveyed and suppervised the building of the 103 mile stretch of the Inverness & Perth Junction Railway from Forres to Dunkeld, where it joined the Perth & Dunkeld Railway. As the pioneering railway engineer during the major construction phase of the railways in the north of Scotland, he was the visionary who saw the importance of linking Inverness with the south by the direct route to Perth. Many at the time doubted its practicality. Joseph Mitchell is justly renowned for his major role in planning and engineering railways in Scotland.
As engineer to the Scottish Fisheries Board, he was also responsible for improving many harbours throughout the country. Additionally he produced the first modern concrete roads, conducting three successful trials in England and Scotland in 1865-66.