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Charles Geoffrey Cotton

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Charles Geoffrey Cotton (1884-1931)

1931 Obituary [1]

CHARLES GEOFFREY COTTON was a senior executive engineer of the Public Works Department of Nigeria at the time of his death, which occurred suddenly near Ojirami on 30th December 1931, whilst prospecting for the Native Administration in connexion with road development proposals.

Mr. Cotton was born in 1884, and received his technical education at evening classes at King's College, London.

He commenced his apprenticeship in 1905 under the chief engineer of the London and South Western Railway Company, and in 1910 took up an appointment with the Antofagasta and Bolivia Railway Company as maintenance waterworks engineer. He carried out surveys for rack railways and pipe-lines covering a district of over 500 miles.

In 1913 he joined the firm of Messrs. Dick, Kerr and Company, for whom he was engaged on similar work for the Las Palmas Light and Power Company until 1916.

After the War he went out to the Belgian Congo in the service of the Huileries du Congo Belge, in charge of surveys for roads and railways until 1924.

Mr. Cotton subsequently held various appointments under the Nigerian Government, and was responsible for large main-road bridge construction work, an earth dam and reservoir, and improvements to pumping and aeration plant for the water supply for the European reservation and part of the town at Ibadan.

He became an Associate Member of the Institution in 1922, and he was also a Member of the Institution of the Civil Engineers.

1932 Obituary[2]


We learn, with regret, of the death, from malaria, on December 30 last, at Auchi, Nigeria, of Mr. Charles Geoffrey Cotton, senior executive engineer, Public Works Department, Nigeria. Mr. Cotton was born on April 25, 1884, and received his general education at King’s College School, London. He served a pupilage of three years, from 1902 to 1905, under the late Mr. J. W. Jacomb-Hood, and afterwards entered the service of the London and South Western Railway, in which he remained for five years. His principal occupations comprised the preparation of Parliamentary surveys, plans and estimates for various works, including the re-alignment of the North Devon line and the renewal of Richmond and Kingston bridges over the River Thames. In 1910, Mr. Cotton proceeded to South America to take up an appointment on the Antofagasta (Chile) and Bolivia Railway, and during the succeeding three years he was in charge of tacheometrio surveys for a rack railway and pipe line. From 1913 to 1916, he was doing similar work in Las Palmas, Canary Islands, and after conducting surveys he was in charge of the construction of 12 miles of high-pressure pipe line. The succeeding three years were spent on active service in France and Belgium, first with the Inland Water Transport section of the Royal Engineers and later with the 247th Field Company, R.E., which formed part of the 63rd Royal Naval Division. Leaving the Army with the rank of captain in 1919, Mr. Cotton proceeded to Lusanga, in the Belgian Congo, to take up the position of surveyor in charge of road and railway surveys and the delimitation of properties, on behalf óf Les Huileries du Congo Beige. In 1925, Mr. Cotton entered the service of the Public Works Department, Nigeria, being first appointed to the Zaria Division, then to the Kano Division, and finally to the Ibadan Division. In 1930, he was promoted to the rank of senior executive engineer and assistant director (acting), and was placed in charge of the western area of the Colony, some 47,000 square miles in extent. He was in charge of a European staff of 40 and, among other duties, was responsible for the upkeep of 1,400 miles of roads. Mr. Cotton became an associate member of the Institution of Civil Engineers on January 11, 1910, and a full member as recently as January 13, 1931."

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