Geoffrey Binnie

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Geoffrey Binnie

Geoffrey Morse Binnie

(1908-11-13)13 November 1908
Died5 April 1989(1989-04-05) (aged 80)
EducationCharterhouse School
Alma mater
Parent(s)William Binnie
RelativesSir Alexander Binnie (paternal grandfather)

Geoffrey Morse Binnie FRS FEng (13 November 1908 – 5 April 1989) was a British civil engineer and writer particularly associated with dams and reservoirs.[1][2]

Binnie was the third generation of his family to enter civil engineering (his grandfather was Sir Alexander Binnie, and father William Binnie[1][2]). He was educated at Charterhouse School, Trinity Hall, Cambridge and Zurich University. On graduation, he became a pupil of Swiss engineer Dr Henry Edward Gruner, working on a hydro-electric scheme, Seruf-Niederenbach, in the Alps, and then on a larger project, Albbruck-Dogern on the River Rhine.[2]

He joined the Binnie & Partners firm of consulting engineers in 1931. From 1932–1936, he worked on the 88m high Jubilee Dam in Hong Kong, the then highest dam in the British Empire.[3] Upon his return to the UK, he worked on the construction of Eye Brook Reservoir at Corby, Northamptonshire. In 1939, he was appointed a Partner in the family firm.[2]

During World War II, he served in the Royal Engineers. After the war, he worked on various water supply projects in the UK and overseas, including the Kalatuwawa Dam, near Hanwella, which supplies water to Colombo in Sri Lanka.[1] Other major projects included:

Binnie retired in December 1972, but remained active on various committees concerned with dams and barrages, including the Severn Barrage Committee from 1977–1979. He also researched the history of water and dam engineering; his first book Early Victorian Water Engineers was published in 1981, and in 1987, his second book, Early Dam Builders in Britain was published.[2]


He was a Fellow of the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) and was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1975. During his career, his ICE honours and awards included the Telford Premium (1938), George Stephenson Medal (1959), Telford Gold Model (1968), the Smeatonian Society's John Smeaton Gold Medal (1974) and the Newcomen Society's Dickinson Medal (1976).[2]


His life and work is commemorated by an annual lecture organised by the British Dam Society.[5]


  1. ^ a b c d Singer, Andre; R. A. Longmire (1989). "Geoffrey Binnie: obituary". Asian Affairs. 20 (3): 385–387.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Muir Wood, Sir Alan (1990). Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society: Geoffrey Morse Binnie (13 November 1908 – 5 April 1989). London: Royal Society. pp. 45–57.
  3. ^ Carlyle, Bill (2008). "The Binnie heritage in dam engineering". Dams and Reservoirs. 18 (3): 121–134. doi:10.1680/dare.2008.18.3.121.
  4. ^ Pakistan Water Gateway
  5. ^ ICE Associated Societies newsletter, Spring/Summer 2011 (Accessed: 19 July 2013)