In 1791 Banks became contractor on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal, and in 1793 under the engineer John Rennie (1761–1821) worked on the Lancaster and Ulverston canals, rapidly extending his operations in 1795–7 to the Huddersfield.
Banks and Jolliffe were responsible for building bridges, dockyards, lighthouses and prisons. Among his undertakings were Staines bridge, the naval works at Sheerness dockyard, and the new channels for the rivers Ouse, Nene, and Witham in Norfolk and Lincolnshire. They were the builders of the Waterloo, Southwark, and London bridges. He owed his fortune principally to these contracts, which he took under the nominal superintendence of the Rennies.
Banks was knighted on 12 June 1822 for his skill and perseverance in building Waterloo and Southwark bridges, the first knighthood bestowed on an engineer
He died at his daughter's house at Tilgate, Sussex, on 5 July 1835. He was buried in a family grave at Chipstead, Surrey, the beauty of which spot he had observed when working on the Merstham tram road many years earlier.
(Source MH Ports)