Robert Hammond, a British engineer, joined the engineering firm Ullathorne and Co. of Lincoln's Inn Fields in 1866 and in 1872 moved to a firm of iron merchants in Newcastle upon Tyne. A few years later he established his first engineering company, but it soon failed. In 1878 he began electrical engineering and was responsible for dozens of public lighting installations. He became a member of the British Association for the Advancement of Science in 1881. Three years later he published one of the first popular handbooks on electric light, The electric light in our homes (London, 1884). He was elected a member of the Institute of Electrical Engineers in 1893 and at that time gave up contracting engineering to concentrate on consulting and expert witness work. In 1899 he published a comprehensive analysis of "The cost of generation and distribution of electrical energy", which appeared in the Journal of the Institute of Electrical Engineers (1899, Vol. 27, pp. 246-394, 396-437). He went in partnership with his son, Robert Whitehead Hammond, in 1903. At that time he was a leading consulting engineer in London and a member also of the Institution of Civil Engineers.
In 1905 Hammond came to South Africa to attend the joint meeting of the British and South African Associations for the Advancement of Science. On 30 August he addressed members in Johannesburg on "Electric power distribution for the Rand". From a detailed analysis of the costs involved he showed that the working of the gold mines could be made more profitable by the greatly extended application of electric power. He also concluded that the required electricity could be more economically generated centrally, near Johannesburg or at Vereeniging, than either at the Victoria Falls, or by each mine or group of mines separately. His paper was published in the Addresses and papers... (Vol. 2, pp. 166-181) published after the meeting. In the printed paper he mentions having visited Johannesburg again early in 1906.