He was the fourth son of John Hopkinson, an engineer who was mayor of Manchester in 1882/83. Hopkinson was educated at Owen's College, Manchester and Emmanuel College, Cambridge. He graduated from Emmanuel in 1881 and was made a fellow of the college in 1883. In 1882 he began to study mechanical and electrical engineering under Sir William Siemens, and received a doctorate from the University of London.
Hopkinson was involved in a number of large pioneering electrification projects. These included the Bessbrook and Newry Tramway, the Snaefell Mountain Railway the Blackpool and Fleetwood tramways and the City and South London Railway. For his work on the C&SLR he was awarded the Telford and George Stephenson Medals by the Institution of Civil Engineers.
He married Minnie Campbell of County Antrim, and they had two children. His elder brothers included the noted physicist and engineer John Hopkinson, and Sir Alfred Hopkinson, vice-chancellor of the University of Manchester, and amongst his nephews were engineer and scientist Bertram Hopkinson, and Austin Hopkinson, MP. Edward Hopkinson died at his residence in Alderley Edge, Cheshire in 1922, aged 62.
- Hopkinson, Mary & Ewing, Irene, Lady (eds.) (1948) John and Alice Hopkinson 1824-1910. London: Farmer & Sons, printers
- Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by Edward Hopkinson
|Parliament of the United Kingdom|
|New constituency||Member of Parliament for Manchester Clayton
| Succeeded by|
John Edward Sutton
|Professional and academic associations|
|President of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers
| Succeeded by|
Matthew Henry Phineas Riall Sankey
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