31.3.1840 Keyford/UK - 19.5.1907 Pangbourne/UK
Had Benjamin Baker only been connected in a high capacity to the Forth Bridge in England and the Aswan Dam in Egypt would have been exceptional distinction, but his features in engineering were many more. The Forth Bridge was the first of its kind using the cantilever idea for a structure so long. It had at the time the longest span with twice more than 500 m. The bridge was completed within seven years and taken into service in 1890.
The other great engineering feature of Baker was the Aswan Dam, Egypt a completely different piece of work than the bridge. The dam was by far more important because Egypt benefited considerably from an improved river regulation and the irrigation scheme. The dam was taken into consideration in 1889 by the Egyptian government with William Willcocks (1852-1932) acting as the director of reservoirs from 1892. It was generally accepted that the reservoir must be in the trough of the Nile. The latter has a gentle slope and carries a considerable amount of sediment during floods. It was therefore decided that a straight-crested dam should be so built that the entire flood could be passed by using sluice gates. The best location for the dam was selected at the head of the Aswan cataract. Works started in 1898 and were completed in 1902, with Baker as the consulting engineer and John Aird (1833-1911) as the contractor. The final reservoir extended to 200 km upstream and had an enormous storage capacity. For his services in connection with the Aswan Dam, Baker was made a KCB and was invested with the Order of the Medjidie First Class from Egypt. He was a Fellow of the Royal Society and presided over the Institution of Civil Engineers in 1895; he was decorated with the Honorary Doctorates of Edinburgh and Cambridge Universities, while he was an Honorary Master of Engineering of Dublin University. He was also awarded the Poncelet Prize from Académie des Sciences, Paris.
Anonymous (1904). Sir Benjamin Baker KCB, KCMG. Minutes Institution of Civil Engineers 158: Frontispiece. P
Anonymous (1907). Sir Benjamin Baker. The Engineer 103: 524-525; 103: 638. P Anonymous (2004). Baker, Sir Benjamin. Oxford Dictionary of National biography 3: 360-362. Baker, B., Deacon, G.F. (1897). Water supply of London. Stanford: London.
Baker, B. (1905). Presidential address. Minutes Proc. Institution of Civil Engineers 123(1): 1-38. Norrie, C.M. (1956). Sir Benjamin Baker. Bridging the years: 68-70. Arnold: London. P
Pike, W.T., ed. (1908). Sir Benjamin Baker. British engineers and allied professions in the 20th century: 422. Pike: Brighton. P

Hydraulicians in Europe 1800-2000 . 2013.

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