Daniel Gooch

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Daniel Gooch
Daniel Gooch.png
Sir Daniel Gooch by Leslie Ward, 1882
Born (1816-08-24)24 August 1816
Bedlington, Northumberland
Died 15 October 1889(1889-10-15) (aged 73)
Nationality United Kingdom
Engineering career
Significant projects Great Western Railway
Transatlantic telegraph cable

Sir Daniel Gooch, 1st Baronet (24 August 1816 – 15 October 1889) was an English railway and transatlantic cable engineer and Conservative politician who sat in the House of Commons from 1865 to 1885. He was the first Superintendent of Locomotive Engines on the Great Western Railway from 1837 to 1864 and its Chairman from 1865 to 1889.

Early life[edit]

Gooch was born in Bedlington, Northumberland, the son of John Gooch, an ironfounder, and his wife Anna Longridge.[1] In 1831 his family moved to Tredegar ironworks, Monmouthshire, south Wales, where his father had accepted a managerial post, and it was there that Daniel would begin training under Thomas Ellis senior, who together with Ironmaster Sam Homfray and Richard Trevithick pioneered steam railway locomotion. Gooch in his diaries writes: "I look back upon the time spent at Tredegar as by far the most important years of my life... large works of this kind are by far the best school for a young engineer."[citation needed] He trained in engineering with a variety of companies, including a period with Robert Stephenson and Company, but was aged 20 when recruited by Isambard Kingdom Brunel for the Great Western Railway, under the title "Superintendent of Locomotive Engines", taking office on 18 August 1837.[2]

Railway engineer[edit]

Gooch's earliest days with the company were a struggle to keep the miscellaneous collection of 7 ft 0 14 in (2,140 mm) broad gauge steam locomotives ordered by Brunel working. Taking the best of these, the GWR Star Class (on which he and Brunel had improved the blastpipe arrangement) as a model, he designed the GWR Firefly Class of 2-2-2 express passenger locomotives introduced in 1840. In comparative trials by the Gauge Commissioners, Ixion of this class proved capable of speeds greater than its standard gauge challenger. In 1843 Gooch introduced a new form of locomotive valve gear.

In 1840, Gooch was responsible for identifying the site of Swindon Works and in 1846 for designing the first complete locomotive to be constructed there, Great Western, prototype of the GWR Iron Duke Class of 4-2-2s which were able to achieve 70 miles per hour (110 km/h) and which, much renewed, saw out the broad gauge. Though Gooch's locomotives were principally for the broad gauge, between 1854 and 1864 he also had to design a number of standard gauge classes for the GWR's new Northern Division. In 1864 Gooch resigned from his post of Locomotive Superintendent, though he continued as a member of the GWR Board.

Cable engineer and other roles[edit]

From 1859 Gooch lived at Clewer Park in Windsor and was a Deputy Lieutenant for Berkshire.[1] In 1865, Gooch was recalled to the Great Western Railway Company as Chairman. He was also chief engineer of the Telegraph Construction Company. In this role, he was instrumental in laying the first successful Transatlantic telegraph cable, using the SS Great Eastern (1865/66).

Political career[edit]

In 1865, while out of the country laying the cable, Gooch was elected Conservative MP for Cricklade. He held the seat until 1885.[3]

Later business activities[edit]

In 1866 Gooch was created a baronet in recognition of his cable work. In 1868 he became chairman of the Telegraph Construction Company after John Pender the first chairman resigned. He led the Great Western Railway out of near-bankruptcy and took a particular interest in construction of the Severn Tunnel. Final abandonment of the broad gauge did not take place until after his death at the age of 73. GWR Castle class steam loco no. 5070 and British Rail Western region class 47 diesel loco no. D1663 (later 47078) were both named after him.

Family[edit]

Gooch married Margaret Tanner in 1838. Following her death in 1868 he married Emily Burder in 1870; she died in 1901. His brothers John Viret Gooch, Thomas Longridge Gooch and William Frederick Gooch were also railway engineers.

Notes[edit]

References[edit]

  • Gooch, Daniel (1972). Memoirs & Diary. David & Charles. ISBN 0-7153-5609-7. 
  • Griffiths, Derek (1987). Locomotive Engineers of the GWR. Patrick Stephens Ltd. ISBN 0-85059-819-2. 
  • MacDermot, E.T. (1927). History of the Great Western Railway, vol. I: 1833-1863. Paddington: Great Western Railway. 
  • (24 September 2004), Sir Daniel Gooch. Retrieved 9 February 2005.
Business positions
Preceded by
None
Superintendent of Locomotive Engines
on the Great Western Railway

1837 – 1864
Succeeded by
Joseph Armstrong
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Ambrose Lethbridge Goddard
Lord Ashley
Member of Parliament for Cricklade
1865 – 1885
With: Ambrose Lethbridge Goddard 1865–1868
Frederick William Cadogan 1868–1874
Ambrose Lethbridge Goddard 1874–1880
Nevil Story-Maskelyne 1880–1885
(representation reduced to one member 1885)
Succeeded by
Nevil Story-Maskelyne
Baronetage of the United Kingdom
New creation Baronet
(of Clewer Park)
1866 – 1889
Succeeded by
Henry Daniel Gooch