John Coode (engineer)

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John Coode (engineer) : biography

11 November 1816 – 02 March 1892

Sir John Coode (11 November 1816 – 2 March 1892), English civil engineer, was born at Bodmin, Cornwall, the son of a solicitor. After considerable experience as an engineer in the west of England he came to London, and from 1844 to 1847 had a consulting practice in Westminster.

In the latter year he was appointed resident engineer in charge of the extensive national harbour works at Portland then in progress. In 1856 he was appointed engineer-in-chief of this undertaking, and this post he retained till the completion of the works in 1872. His services at Portland were rewarded with a knighthood. He was now recognised as the 19th century’s leading authority on harbour construction, and his advice was sought by many of the colonial governments, especially by those of South Africa, New Zealand, Australia, and by the Indian government.

After the Portland Harbour his best-known work is the harbour of Colombo, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka). He was also responsible for the straightening of the lower reaches of the Yarra River in Melbourne, Australia with the resulting district of Coode Island and the Coode Canal named for him, and the design of what became Victoria Dock.

He designed the lighthouse at La Corbière in Jersey which was the first lighthouse in the British Isles to be built of reinforced concrete.

He was made a K.C.M.G. in 1886. From 1884 till his death he was a member of the Suez Canal Commission, and from 1889 to 1891 president of the Institution of Civil Engineers. He died at Brighton on 2 March 1892.