Autograph Letter Signed, to E.W.Cooke, the marine painter, commenting on a recent visit to the Academy, hoping that Cooke “will come west and take a subject from the old Classical Naval Scenes there.” 2 pp. 8 x 5 inches, in good condition. 24 Great George Street, Westminster, 2 August 1867. A scarce letter from a “lightning calculator”. George Parker Bidder (1806 – 1878), English engineer, architect and calculating prodigy. In childhood, his father, William Bidder, a stonemason, exhibited him as a “calculating boy”, first in local fairs up to the age of six, and later around the country. In 1837 he was engaged with Robert Stephenson in building the Blackwall railway, and it was he who designed the peculiar method of disconnecting a carriage at each station while the rest of the train went on without stopping, which was employed in the early days of that line when it was worked by means of a cable. Another series of railways with which he had much to do were those in the eastern counties which afterwards became the Great Eastern system. He also advised on the construction of the Belgian railways; with Robert Stephenson he made the first railway in Norway, from Christiania to Eidsvold; he was engineer-in-chief of the Danish railways, and he was largely concerned with railways in India, where he strongly and successfully opposed break of gauge on through routes. He was also one of the founders of the Electric Telegraph Company, which enabled the public generally to enjoy the benefits of telegraphic communication. In hydraulic engineering, he was the designer of the Victoria Docks.