S2A3 Biographical Database of Southern African Science




Goffe, Mr Edward (mechanical engineering)

Born: August 1866, London, England.
Died: 27 July 1953, Pretoria, South Africa.

Edward Goffe, son of Edward Goffe and his wife Elizabeth, came to South Africa in 1892. During the siege of Kimberley from November 1899 to February 1900, early in the Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902), he and George F. Labram* constructed a cannon (designed by Labram) in the workshops of the De Beers Consolidated Mines, under Boer fire. Goffe wrote up the work as "Notes on the construction of 'Long Cecil', a 4.1 inch rifled breechloading gun, in Kimberley, during the siege, 1899-1900". The paper was published in the Minutes of Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (London), for June 1900 (pp. 357-374). Goffe was an associate member of the institution.

During the siege of Kimberley he wrote a number of letters to his fiance, Agnes Brodie, in London. These letters, which were all delivered to her in a single bunch afterwards, were later donated to the Kimberley Public Library. Goffe married Agnes Brodie, and after her death in 1905 married Marjory B. Brodie, perhaps Agnes's sister.

By 1902 Goffe held the position of Chief Draughtsman at De Beers Consolidated Mines, Kimberley. In that year he was an examiner in engineering for mining students, for the University of the Cape of Good Hope. In 1903 he examined for the university in mechanical engineering, and in 1905 in mechanical and electrical engineering. Meanwhile he had moved to Johannesburg in 1902 to take up a position as assistant mechanical engineer with H. Eckstein & Co. In September that year he became a member of the Mechanical Engineers' Association of the Witwatersrand. A paper by him on "Causes of explosions in air compressors" was published in the association's Journal for 1903-1904 (Vol. 2, pp. 186-190). In 1905 the association changed its name to the Transvaal Institute of Mechanical Engineers. Goffe served as honorary treasurer from 1905 to 1908, as joint vice-president for 1908/9, and as president for 1909/10, and contributed a paper on "A new winding drum at the Robinson Deep, Ltd" to the institute's Journal (1907/8, Vol. 6). In 1910 the institute amalgamated with the South African Association of Engineers to form the South African Institution of Engineers, of which he was elected an honorary life member. By 1906 he was also a member of the South African Association for the Advancement of Science. Goffe became a South African citizen and was survived by two children.


List of sources:
Draper, J.R. The engineer's contribution: A history of the South African Institution of Mechanical Engineers, 1892-1967(p. 245). Johannesburg: South African Institution of Mechanical Engineers, 1967.

Journal of the Mechanical Engineers' Association of the Witwatersrand, 1903-1904, Vol. 2, paper by Goffe.

Journal of the Transvaal Institute of Mechanical Engineers, 1905-1910, Vol. 4-8.

Malherbe, D.F. du T. Family register of the South African nation. Stellenbosch: Tegniek, 1966.

Mendelssohn, S. South African bibliography. London, 1910.

National Archives Repository (TAB), Source MHG, Vol. 0, Ref. 4762/53: death notice, Edward Goffe.

National Automated Archival Information Retrieval System (NAAIRS). http://www.national.archives.gov.za/naairs.htm Documents relating to Goffe, Edward.

Obituary. Journal of the South African Institution of Mechanical Engineers, September 1953, Vol. 2(3), first page.

South African Association for the Advancement of Science. Report, 1905/6, 1910, 1918: Lists of members.

University of the Cape of Good Hope. Calendar, 1902/3, 1903/4, 1905/6.


Compiled by: C. Plug


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