Savannah Johnson Speak died at his home on Hadley Common on December 29th 1929 at the age of 61.

Shortly before Christmas he had gone to Spain on professional business, and while there contracted pneumonia, to which he succumbed a week after it return. In 1883 he entered on a three years’ course in chemistry and physics at the Yorkshire College, Leeds, followed by a three years’ course at the Royal School of Mines, London, whence graduated with the A.R.S.M. in 1889.

On completion of his course, he was for upwards of two years engaged as mining engineer and assayer for the South African Finance and Prospecting Syndicate in the Transvaal and Orange Free State, and for the Damaraland Exploration Co. in German South West Africa. In 1892 he went to Australia, where for about three years he was lecturer on metallurgy at the University of Sydney, N.S.W., in addition to doing private consulting work. Returning to South Africa in 1895, he was respectively chief chemist and metallurgical engineer for the Rand Mines, Ltd., and cyanide manager of the Geldenhuis Deep.

In 1897 he was appointed superintendent of the Kolchis Co., Dutch East Indies, and in 1899 returned to German South West Africa as mining engineer to the Otavi Minen und Eisenbahnen Gesellschaft. In 1901, he went to Korea as superintendent of the Oriental Consolidated Mining Co., and three years later was in British Columbia as manager of the Ymir gold mines. In 1905, he became a member of the firm of Hooper, Speak and Feilding in partnership with Mr. Edward Hooper and Mr. Rowland C. Feilding, afterwards Hooper, Speak and Co.

Mr. Speak took a lively interest in the work of the Institution, having a seat on the Council from 1909 until the date of his death. He held the position of Vice-President from 1918 to 1921, and occupied the Presidential Chair in the Session 1922-23. During his occupation of the Presidency, a combined Dinner of the Institution and The Institution of Mining Engineers was held in the Guildhall, London, on November 16th, 1922, which H.R.H. the Prince of Wales honoured by his presence.

Mr. Speak was a regular attendant at the General Meetings of the Institution whenever he was in London, and contributed several papers to the Transactions, in addition to his Presidential Address. He was elected an Associate of the Institution in 1892, and was transferred to Membership in 1903.

Vol. 40, Trans I.M.M., 1930-31, pp.454-5

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