Sue Young Histories

Arthur Thomas Cotton 1803 – 1899

July 09, 2010

General Sir Arthur Thomas Cotton 1803 – 1899 was a British general and irrigation engineer. An evangelist, he was the father of Elizabeth Hope.

Arthur Cotton was on the Management Committee of the Tunbridge Wells and West Kent public Homeopathic Dispensary,

Arthur Cotton was born on 15 May 1803 as tenth son to Mr. and Mrs. Henry Calvely Cotton. He was one of eleven brothers, who lived honorable lives through all the vicissitudes of their different careers.

At the age of 15 in 1818, Cotton joined as a cadet for Military at Addiscombe where cadets for Artillery and Engineering Service of East India Company received training. He was appointed to the Royal Engineers as Second Lieutenant in the year 1819.

Lieutenant Cotton started his career with Ordnance Survey in Wales in January 1820 where he received a high praises for his admirable reports. When he was 18 in1821, he was appointed for service in India and attached to the Chief Engineer to Madras initially and later appointed as an Assistant Engineer to Superintending Engineer of Tank Department, Southern Division from 1822 to 1824.

Cotton spent partly in the Irrigation Tank Department and partly in Military duties in Burma.

After return from Burma, Cotton has conducted marine survey of Pamban passage between India and Ceylon. Cotton was promoted to the rank of Captain in the year 1828 and was in charge of Investigation for Cauveri Scheme. The Cauveri Anicut (dam) was successful and paved the way for great projects on Godavari and Krishna Rivers.

In the year 1844 Cotton recommended the construction of Anicut (dam) with Channels, Embankments, and roads of Godavari Delta, prepared plans for Visakhapatnam port.

In the Year 1847 the work on Godavari Anicut was started.

In the Year 1848 he proceeded to Australia due to ill health and handed over the charge to Captain Orr.

In the year 1850 returned to India and promoted as Colonel. Cotton made best use of local materials, that he had in the shape of Hydraulic lime, good stone, and excellent teak available in the neighborhood. He succeeded in completing the magnificent project on Godavari river at Dowleswaram in the year 1852. In the same year work on Gannavaram Aqueduct was also commenced.

After completing the Godavari Anicut Cotton shifted his attention to the construction of Aqueduct on Krishna River. The project was sanctioned in the year 1851 and completed by 1855. After completing the Krishna and Godavari Anicuts, Cotton envisaged of storages of Krishna and Godavari rivers

In the year 1858 Cotton came up with still more ambitious proposals connecting almost all major rivers of India and suggested drought relief measures in Orissa and interlinking of canals and rivers.

Arthur Cotton was retired from the service in the year 1860 and was knighted in the year 1861 and left India. In the year 1862 and 1863 visited India and offered advice on some river valley projects.

His work in India was so much appreciated and honored with K.C.S.I (Knight Commander of Supreme India) in the year 1877. The Spiritual solace strengthened and comforted him until the very end of his earthly mission on 24th of July 1899 at the age of 96 years.

He is a much revered figure in the state of Andhra Pradesh for his contribution in irrigating the area of land also known as Konaseema.

In India due to his contributions the new barrage constructed across River Godavari Upstream side of the Anicut was also named after him and dedicated to the Nation by the Hon’ble Prime Minister of India in the year 1982.

Of interest:

W Cotton was the Treasurer of the Exeter Homeopathic Dispensary,