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Robert Elliott-Cooper

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Sir Robert Elliott-Cooper (1845-1942) was a British civil engineer.

1845 January 29th. Born in Leeds as Robert Cooper the son of Robert Cooper, a Stockbroker, and his wife Louisa Lucretia Elliott

1851 Living at 21 South Grove, Camberwell: Robert Cooper (age 42 born York), Stock and Share Broker). With his wife Louisa Cooper (age 45 born Ripon) and their children Isabella Mary Cooper (age 10 born Leeds); Maria Jane Cooper (age 7 born Leeds); and Robert Cooper (age 6 born Leeds).[1]

1861 Living at 16 Little Woodhouse, Leeds: Louisa L. Cooper (age 55 born Ripon), Proprietor of houses and fundholder and a Widow. With her daughter Isabella Cooper (age 20 born Leeds) and her son Robert Cooper, Scholar.[2]

On 27 September 1870 he was commissioned into the 1st Yorkshire (West Riding) Artillery Volunteer Corps as a First Lieutenant, a rank replaced by that of Lieutenant during British Army standardisation in 1871. The 1st Yorkshire (West Riding) Artillery Volunteer Corps was a Volunteer Force coastal artillery unit formed at Leeds in 1860 and armed with 32 pounder guns.

1871 A lodger at 16 Kensington Terrace, Headingley, Leeds: Robert E. Cooper (age 26 born Leeds), Civil Engineer.[3]

1874 Patent. '1893. To Robert Elliott Cooper, of 37, Kensington-terrace, Hyde Park, Leeds, in the county of York, Civil Engineer, and Francis Campin, of 58, Fenton-street, Leeds, in the county of York, Civil Engineer, for the invention of "improvements in apparatus for locking railway signals and switches and for locking railway signals and gates at level crossings."[4]

Promoted to Captain on 5 June 1875 and Major on 16 April 1879.

1881 Living at 37 Kensington Gardens, London: Robert Elliott-Cooper (age 36 born Leeds), Civil Engineer. With his wife Fanny Elliott-Cooper (age 23 born Hull) and their children Evelyn G. Elliott-Cooper (age 2 born Kensington); Gilbert D. A. Elliott-Cooper (age 1 born Kensington); and Malcolm Elliott-Cooper (age 1 month born Kensington). Four servants.[5]

He resigned his commission as a Major on 27 February 1886 and was permitted to retain his rank and continue to wear the uniform.

1891 Living at 81 Lancaster Gate, London: Robert Elliott Cooper (age 46 born Leeds), Civil Engineer. With his wife Fanny Elliott Cooper (age 35 born Hull) and their children; Evelynn Gladys Elliott Cooper (age 12 born Bayswater); Gilbert Darcy Elliott Cooper (age 11 born Kensington); Malcolm Elliott Cooper (age 10 born Kensington); Millicent Elliott Cooper (age 8 born Kensington); Vera Elliott Cooper (age 5 born Paddington); and Neville Bones Elliott Cooper (age 2 born Paddington). Six servants.[6]

1899 Elliott-Cooper was appointed a tax commissioner for the City of Westminster and its liberties on 9 August 1899. He returned to the army by serving in the Engineer and Railway Staff Corps, an unpaid volunteer unit which provides technical expertise to the British Army. He was commissioned into this corps as a Lieutenant-Colonel on 6 January 1900.

1901 Living at 81 Lancaster Gate, London: Robert Elliott Cooper (age 56 born Leeds), Civil Engineer and Employer. With his wife Fanny Elliott Cooper (age 43 born Hull) and their children; Evelyn G. Elliott Cooper (age 22 born Kensington); and Malcolm Elliott Cooper (age 20 born Kensington). Five servants.[7]

He was awarded the Volunteer Officers' Decoration on 15 November 1904 in recognition of his twenty years service as a volunteer officer. Elliott-Cooper continued in the Engineer and Railway Staff Corps as a Lieutenant-Colonel after that corps' transferral from the Volunteer Force to the newly formed Territorial Force on 1 April 1908.

1911 Living at Bentworth Hall, Alton: Robert Elliott-Cooper (age 66 born Leeds), Civil Engineer. With his wife Fanny Elliott-Cooper (age 53 born Hull) and their two daughters Gladys Elliott-Cooper (age 32 born Bayswater) and Millicent Elliott-Cooper (age 28 born Bayswater). Also one visitor and eight servants.[8]

1912 He was made Commandant of the corps on 27 July 1912 and promoted to the honorary rank of Colonel. He resigned his commission with the corps on 21 March 1914 and was again permitted to retain his rank and wear the uniform.

Elliott-Cooper became the Crown Agent Engineer for the construction of railways by the government in British West Africa on the death of Benjamin Baker in 1907.

He was elected president of the Institution of Civil Engineers for the November 1912 to November 1913 session.

He served as chairman of the War Office Committee of Hutted Camps during the First World War, a service for which he was rewarded with an appointment as Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath on 1 January 1919.

Elliott-Cooper was a member of the British Standards committee which established standards for the use of Portland Cement in 1919. He was also elected president of the Smeatonian Society of Civil Engineers in 1923.

In marking his 85th birthday in 1930 the journal Nature noted that he was "among the oldest of English engineers". He drew up the plans for the widening of Knowle Locks on the Warwick and Birmingham Canal in the 1930s.

Elliott-Cooper at one point lived at 44 Princes Gate in Knightsbridge.

He died in 1942

1942 Obituary [9]

IT was with deep regret that we recorded in our last issue the death of Sir Robert Elliott-Cooper at the age of ninety-seven.

It was as long ago as 1912 that Sir Robert was President of the Institution of Civil Engineers, and he was the senior surviving Past-President. By his death a link with the distant past is broken, for his grandfather was one of those who accompanied Captain Cook in his voyage round the world.

Sir Robert was born in 1845, received his general education at Leeds Grammar School under Dr. Barry, and then became a pupil with John Fraser, of Leeds.

Throughout his life he was particularly associated with railways in this country, and in all parts of the world. But his activities were by no means restricted to that field. Until 1876 when he came to London and started a consulting practice, he acted as resident engineer for railways under construction in Yorkshire. He was chief engineer for laying out and constructing the Lancashire, Derbyshire and East Coast Railway, and constructed many other lines in South Africa, Italy, and in British possessions overseas, including Nigeria and the Gold Coast.

One of his appointments was consulting engineer for the Regents Canal and Dock Company, now part of the Grand Union system.

Sir Robert joined the Institution of Civil Engineers in 1870, became a full member in 1876, and President in 1912. His address, which surveyed on a world-wide scale the work of engineers at that date, reveals his particular interest in railways, and his firm conviction of the blessings engineering works could confer on the communities amongst which they were built.

Before the 1914-18 war Sir Robert was Colonel Commandant of the Engineer and Staff Corps. During the war he was Chairman of the War Office Committee of the Institution of Civil Engineers and a member of several other committees having a relation to the war effort.

In 1919 he was made K.C.B. Amongst other appointments he was at various times member of the Executive Council of the N.P.L., and of the Advisory Council of the Science Museum, and Chairman of Committee of the Engineering Standards Association on Steel Bridges.

1942 Obituary [10]

SIR ROBERT ELLIOTT-COOPER, K.C.B., V.D., was born at Leeds on the 29t,h January 1845, and died at Knapwood House, Knapwood, Surrey on the 16th February 1942.

He was educated at Leeds Grammar School, and commenced his engineering pupilage with the late Mr. John Fraser, M. Inst. C.E., in 1864, under whom he served as resident engineer on the construction of railways in Yorkshire until November 1874, when he travelled to India to inspect engineering works.

He returned in May 1875, and in June 1876 commenced private practice in Westminster. During his long career he was responsible for the design and construction of numerous railway and other engineering works in many parts of the world, and he travelled extensively in connexion with his professional work. He acted as Consulting Engineer to the Regents Canal and Dock Company, and also from 1908 to 1916 for railways in Nigeria and the Gold Coast Colonies, whilst he was in frequent request as an arbitrator in railway matters.

In 1900 he was gazetted Lieutenant-Colonel of the Engineer and Railway Staff Corps, of which he became Colonel-Commandant. During the war of 1914-1918, he acted as Chairman of the War Office Committee of The Institution. In 1919 his services were recognized by his creation as K.C.B.

From 1911 to 1928 he was Chairman of the Committee of the Engineering Standards Association on Steel Bridges; in 1912 he was appointed a member of the Advisory Board of the Science Museum, and in 1914 a member of the India Office Committee for appointments in the Public Works Department and the State Railways; of the General Board of the National Physical Laboratory; and of the London County Council Tribunal of Appeal (Building Act). From 1916 he served on the Committee on the Deterioration of Structures exposed to Sea Action ; and in 1919 was appointed a member of the Government Mining Sub-Committee.

In 1925 he was appointed Technical Adviser to the Treasury to supervise payments to contractors under the Trades Facilities Act.

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