Richard Birdsall Rogers
Life and Times of a Canadian Engineer



A Man and His Dream

"... exam in Engineering - did pretty well..."

Richard Birdsall Rogers, 1874

The magnificent achievement of the Peterborough Hydraulic Lift Lock in Peterborough, Ontario, Canada, owes its unique design to the vision of one man, Richard Birdsall Rogers. It was a construction project fraught with political conspiracies, constant court battles and labour difficulties. In spite of setbacks, the Lift Lock construction forged ahead. Newspaper articles declared the project necessary for both tourism and transportation but also had substantial coverage of exploding expenses to complete the project. Rogers lived through the scandal, suffered professional humiliation and finally received vindication years later from all charges.
Rogersí hydraulic lift lock is still in operation after nearly 100 years. There have been several books and articles which chronicle his work but none which have been based on his personal diaries, drawings, correspondence and photographs. These materials are preserved in Trent University Archives, and it seems appropriate to celebrate the achievements of Rogers on the eve of the centenary. This is his story.

Peterborough Hydraulic Lift Lock 1

Listen to Richard Rogers' daughter describe opening day in a 1964 interview


Trent Masonry Plans 2

Biography and Career 3

Trent Valley Canal Project 4

Peterborough Lift Lock 5

Diaries 6

Correspondence 7

Images 8


Site Map 9

Photograph Information & Credit

1 Hydraulic Lift Lock, Peterborough, Ont.
2 Trent Canal Hydraulic Lift Lock No. 1, Masonry Plans Traverse Section (Rich'd B. Rogers)
3 Heber Roger, Lillian, [Leah], Edna in Car ca. 1920's
4 Mode of Construction. Concrete Lock No. 4. First Concrete Lock in Canada, Oct. 1896
5 Hydraulic Lock at Peterborough
6 [S.S. Empire]
7 St. Luke's Anglican Church Picnic, 1895
8 Fenelon Falls
9 Map of the Trent Canal (Office of the Superintending Engineer of the Trent Canal, Peterborough, January 1905 Rich'd B. Rogers)


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