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British Industrial History

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W. Roylands Cooper

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W. Roylands Cooper (c1886-1959) of The Engineer

1950 Retirement announced.

1959 Obituary [1]

WE regret to have to record the death on January 29 of Roylands Cooper who joined the editorial staff of this journal in J 921. He was 73 years of age. Though he had been retired for several years he continued up to within a very few weeks of his death to contribute to our columns. Literally hundreds of acquaintances will be distressed to hear of his death.

Curiously enough, considering that he was one of the editors of this journal, Roylands Cooper was not a good writer. He wrote too much in a flurry of haste and sometimes with too little care. Other editors who had to read and check his proofs were therefore far from blessing him! But in the collection of information, in persuading people to give him drawings and photographs, in discovering in advance confidential information and so forth he was superb and tireless. From the moment he woke to the moment he went to bed he was a bustle of energy, never wearying in seeking information, in talking to all and sundry who might prove helpful, in person, over the telephone, in his own office, in their offices, in trains and buses and tubes, in the street or going round a works. So super-abundant was his energy that it was exhausting for lesser mortals to spend much time with him. His memory for names and faces was phenomenal so that he collected a very large variety of acquaintances. Moreover his personality was attractive. One might be irritated by the sheer exuberance of his vitality ; but never for very long. For Cooper liked his fellow men. They liked him in return.

In this country Roylands Cooper was particularly well known amongst marine engineering people for that was a field he especially made his own editorially. But abroad he was more widely known. During the first world war he was interned in the big Ruhleben camp outside Berlin. He helped with its organisation and running, and in the process acquired fluency in the French and German tongues. He was thereafter particularly at home in Germany and loved nothing better than to travel to that country to visit fairs and exhibitions and the like gathering information for THE ENGINEER. Throughout his retirement he had continued to make visits there, especially to report upon successive Hanover Fairs.

No journal was ever blessed with a more loyal servant than was THE ENGINEER in Cooper. Quite simply, for Roylands Cooper, there was no other journal in the whole wide world that could bear comparison with it. Nor, in his estimation, was there ever an editor to bear comparison with the late Loughnan St. Lawrence Pendred under whom he served for nearly twenty-five years. Once a week, regularly, until a few weeks ago he visited this editorial office. We are going, very much, to miss the sight of him and the sound of his voice.

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