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John Denham

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John Denham (1863-1931)


1931 Obituary [1]

JOHN DENHAM had a long and valuable experience in connexion with electric lighting and was the inventor of an improved system of electric lighting of trains for long distances on the Colonial railways.

He was trained at the Finsbury Technical College and at the works of Messrs. Latimer Clark, Muirhead and Company, of London. He represented the firm at the Crystal Palace Electrical Exhibition in 1882, and later was engaged at their Millwall works in the improvement of the electric arc lamp.

In 1883 he was employed by the Anglo-American Light Brush Electric Corporation.

He was an assistant on the electrical fitting of H.M.S. "Colossus" at Portsmouth and subsequently supervised the erection of lighting plant in England, France, Belgium, Holland, and Germany.

In 1888 he was sent by his company to take charge of erection and maintenance of electrical work at the Brussels Exhibition.

During 1889 he was engaged on work connected with the proposed lighting of the City of London and other towns. He then went to South Africa where he held several appointments, including that of electrical engineer to the Cape Government Railways, electrical and advisory engineer to the Table Bay Harbour Board, and consulting engineer to the Royal Engineers during the Boer War.

In 1912 he became electrical adviser to the Government Mines Department at Johannesburg and he retained this position until 1923.

Mr. Denham was born in London in 1863 and died on 31st December 1931.

He had been a Member of the Institution since 1900 and was also a Member of the Institution of Electrical Engineers.


1932 Obituary[2]

"THE LATE MR. JOHN DENHAM.

We regret to record the death of Mr. John Denham, which occurred on December 31, 1931, at the age of 68. Mr. Denham, who was born in London, was one of the earliest of the pupils at the Finsbury Technical College, where he studied under Ayrton and Perry in 1880 and 1881. Subsequently, he joined the firm of Messrs. Latimer, Clark, Muirhead and Company, and represented them at the Crystal Palace Electrical Exhibition in the following year. In 1883, he obtained an appointment in the test-room and lamp factory of the Anglo-American Brush Electric Light Corporation, and later carried out a number of installations for this concern, finally being employed on work in connection with the lighting of the City of London.

In 1889, he was appointed electrician to the Cape Government Railways, in which position he carried out a great deal of experimental work on the electric lighting of railway carriages, patenting a system of train illumination which was specially intended for employment on the rolling-stock used on very long journeys. He also had charge of the generating station at Cape Town, from which a supply was given to a number of urban and suburban railway stations, and of other similar plants in other parts of the colony, and reported on the projects for lighting many of the towns, Cape Town itself, Kimberley, Port Elizabeth, East London and Bloemfontein being among the communities dealt with in this way. Other appointments held by him included that of consulting electrician to the Table Bay Harbour Board and to the Public Works Department of Cape Colony, while during the South African War he acted as consulting engineer to the Royal Engineers at their Cape Town base. In 1902, Mr. Denham became Inspector under the Colonial Electric Lighting and Power Act (1895), and while holding this appointment also acted as electrical engineer to the harbours of Port Elizabeth and East London, as well as Electrical Inspector of Mines. On the formation of the Union of South Africa, he was transferred to the Mines Department in Johannesburg as Inspector of Machinery, a position which he held until his retirement a few years ago. He was elected an associate of the Institution of Electrical Engineers in 1891 and a member in 1897, and was twice Chairman of the Cape Town Local Section. He also became a member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in 1900."


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