Gooch, Sir Daniel

b. 24 August 1816 Bedlington, Northumberland, England
d. 15 October 1889 Clewer Park, Berkshire, England
English engineer, first locomotive superintendent of the Great Western Railway and pioneer of transatlantic electric telegraphy.
Gooch gained experience as a pupil with several successive engineering firms, including Vulcan Foundry and Robert Stephenson \& Co. In 1837 he was engaged by I.K. Brunel, who was then building the Great Western Railway (GWR) to the broad gauge of 7 ft 1/4 in. (2.14 m), to take charge of the railway's locomotive department. He was just 21 years old. The initial locomotive stock comprised several locomotives built to such extreme specifications laid down by Brunel that they were virtually unworkable, and two 2–2–2 locomotives, North Star and Morning Star, which had been built by Robert Stephenson \& Co. but left on the builder's hands. These latter were reliable and were perpetuated. An enlarged version, the "Fire Fly" class, was designed by Gooch and built in quantity: Gooch was an early proponent of standardization. His highly successful 4–2–2 Iron Duke of 1847 became the prototype of GWR express locomotives for the next forty-five years, until the railway's last broad-gauge sections were narrowed. Meanwhile Gooch had been largely responsible for establishing Swindon Works, opened in 1843. In 1862 he designed 2–4–0 condensing tank locomotives to work the first urban underground railway, the Metropolitan Railway in London. Gooch retired in 1864 but was then instrumental in arranging for Brunel's immense steamship Great Eastern to be used to lay the first transatlantic electric telegraph cable: he was on board when the cable was successfully laid in 1866. He had been elected Member of Parliament for Cricklade (which constituency included Swindon) in 1865, and the same year he had accepted an invitation to become Chairman of the Great Western Railway Company, which was in financial difficulties; he rescued it from near bankruptcy and remained Chairman until shortly before his death. The greatest engineering work undertaken during his chairmanship was the boring of the Severn Tunnel.
Principal Honours and Distinctions
Knighted 1866 (on completion of transatlantic telegraph).
1972, Sir Daniel Gooch, Memoirs and Diary, ed. R.B.Wilson, with introd. and notes, Newton Abbot: David \& Charles.
Further Reading
A.Platt, 1987, The Life and Times of Daniel Gooch, Gloucester: Alan Sutton (puts Gooch's career into context).
C.Hamilton Ellis, 1958, Twenty Locomotive Men, Ian Allan (contains a good short biography).
J.Kieve, 1973, The Electric Telegraph, Newton Abbot: David \& Charles, pp. 112–5.

Biographical history of technology. - Taylor & Francis e-Librar. . 2005.

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