Dictionary of Irish Architects 1720 - 1940

English-born lighthouse engineer.  William Douglass, younger son of Nicholas Douglass, later superintendent engineer to the Corporation of Trinity House, was born in Bow, Middlesex, on 10 January 1831.  Like his elder brother Sir JAMES NICHOLAS DOUGLASS JAMES NICHOLAS DOUGLASS , he spent his career in the lighthouse service.  In 1878 he was appointed engineer to the Irish Lights Commissioners.  During his tenure of the post, he was responsible for the construction of new lighthouses at St John's Point, Fanad Point, Mew Island, Tory Island and Bull Rock as well as introducing improvements to many existing lighthouses.  The major achievement of his career was the design and initial construction of the new Fastnet lighthouse which absorbed most of his energies from 1896 until 1898 when his health collapsed, leading to his retirement at the end of 1900.  The completion of the Fastnet lighthouse became the responsibility of CHARLES WILLIAM SCOTT CHARLES WILLIAM SCOTT , his successor as engineer to the Irish Lights Commissioners.

Following his retirement, Douglass moved with his wife, Jane (née Hodge), to a house built by his father at Madron, near Penzance in Cornwall.   He died at Madron on 14 March 1923 and was buried in the cemetery at Penzance.

William Douglass is not to be confused with his nephew William Tregarthan Douglass who was also a well-known lighthouse engineer.

Addresses:(1) Mount Usher, Monkstown Ave, 1883; Knapton Road, Dun Laoghaire, <=1887->=1901;  Stella, Madron, Penzance, Cornwall, 1901 until death.

See WORKS, for Irish works only.



References

All information in this entry not otherwise attributed is taken from the much fuller account in Life of William Douglass, M.Inst.C.E. formerly engineer-in-chief to the Commissioners of Irish Lights by the author of the 'Life of Sir James Nicholas Douglass [Thomas Williams]' (Privately published, 1923) which can be read on-line at http://pharology.eu/resources/Douglass.pdf (information from Tim Douglass, great-grandson of Sir James Douglass, Oakville, Toronto, Canada, Feb 2013).  A portrait photograph of Douglass forms the frontispiece of the book.


(1) From Thom's and Post Office Dublin directories.


15 work entries listed in chronological order for DOUGLASS, WILLIAM


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Building: CO. MAYO, EAGLE ISLAND, LIGHTHOUSES
Date: 1835a
Nature: 2 lighthouses, costing £36,222.8s. Lights first exhibited 29 Sep 1835. (Lower lighthouse dismantled after being wrecked in storm in winter of 1894.)
Refs: John S. Sloane, 'A history of the lighthouses of Ireland…VII', IB 22, 15 Nov 1880, ?; Bill Long, Bright Light, White Water (1993), 158-9;  Life of William Douglass, M.Inst.C.E. formerly engineer-in-chief to the Commissioners of Irish Lights by the author of the 'Life of Sir James Nicholas Douglass [Thomas Williams]' (Privately published, 1923), on-line version at http://pharology.eu/resources/Douglass.pdf

Building: CO. ANTRIM, MEW ISLAND, LIGHTHOUSE
Date: 1882-84
Nature: Designed by WD. Resident engineer F.R. Foot. Also shore dwellings at Donaghadee.
Refs: IB 22, 1 Nov 1880, 310; 23, ? ? 1881, 68; Bill Long, Bright Light, White Water (1993), 186; Marcus Patton, Bangor: an historical gazetteer (UAHS, 1999), 58;  Life of William Douglass, M.Inst.C.E. formerly engineer-in-chief to the Commissioners of Irish Lights by the author of the 'Life of Sir James Nicholas Douglass [Thomas Williams]' (Privately published, 1923), on-line version at http://pharology.eu/resources/Douglass.pdf

Building: CO. WEXFORD, BALLYGEARY (ROSSLARE), LIGHTHOUSE KEEPERS' HOUSES
Date: 1883-1889
Nature: Shore dwellings for Tuskar lighthouse keepers (also improvements to Tusker lighthouse itself).
Refs: Life of William Douglass, M.Inst.C.E. formerly engineer-in-chief to the Commissioners of Irish Lights by the author of the 'Life of Sir James Nicholas Douglass [Thomas Williams]' (Privately published, 1923) on-line version at http://pharology.eu/resources/Douglass.pdf

Building: CO. DONEGAL, TORY ISLAND, LIGHTHOUSE
Date: 1885-1888
Nature: New lighthouse tower, fog siren, gas works and 2 new dwellings.
Refs: Life of William Douglass, M.Inst.C.E. formerly engineer-in-chief to the Commissioners of Irish Lights by the author of the 'Life of Sir James Nicholas Douglass [Thomas Williams]' (Privately published, 1923), on-line version at http://pharology.eu/resources/Douglass.pdf

Building: CO. DONEGAL, FANAD HEAD, LIGHTHOUSE
Date: 1886-87
Nature: New tower and apparatus.
Refs: Life of William Douglass, M.Inst.C.E. formerly engineer-in-chief to the Commissioners of Irish Lights by the author of the 'Life of Sir James Nicholas Douglass [Thomas Williams]' (Privately published, 1923), on-line version at http://pharology.eu/resources/Douglass.pdf

Building: CO. ANTRIM, GREENCASTLE, LIGHTHOUSE KEEPERS' HOUSES
Date: 1887
Nature: Shore dwellings for keepsers of Carlingford leading lights.
Refs: Life of William Douglass, M.Inst.C.E. formerly engineer-in-chief to the Commissioners of Irish Lights by the author of the 'Life of Sir James Nicholas Douglass [Thomas Williams]' (Privately published, 1923), on-line version at http://pharology.eu/resources/Douglass.pdf

Building: CO. MAYO, BLACKSOD POINT, LIGHTHOUSE KEEPERS' HOUSES
Date: 1890
Nature: Shore dwellings for lighthouse keepers. (Are these the 4 houses listed in advertisements for contracts in Architect 41, 19 Apr 1889, , suppl.?)
Refs: Life of William Douglass, M.Inst.C.E. formerly engineer-in-chief to the Commissioners of Irish Lights by the author of the 'Life of Sir James Nicholas Douglass [Thomas Williams]' (Privately published, 1923), on-line version at http://pharology.eu/resources/Douglass.pdf

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, BAILY (HOWTH), LIGHTHOUSE KEEPERS' HOUSES
Date: 1890
Nature: 2 dwellings for baaily lighthouse keepers.
Refs: Life of William Douglass, M.Inst.C.E. formerly engineer-in-chief to the Commissioners of Irish Lights by the author of the 'Life of Sir James Nicholas Douglass [Thomas Williams]' (Privately published, 1923), on-line version at http://pharology.eu/resources/Douglass.pdf

Building: CO. DOWN, ST JOHN'S POINT (KILLOUGH), LIGHTHOUSE
Date: 1891-93
Nature: New high lighthouse tower, replacing old low tower, 2 new dwellings, new fog-signal house, enlargement of gas plant.
Refs: Architect 44, 26 Dec 1890, suppl. p.4;  Life of William Douglass, M.Inst.C.E. formerly engineer-in-chief to the Commissioners of Irish Lights by the author of the 'Life of Sir James Nicholas Douglass [Thomas Williams]' (Privately published, 1923), on-line version at http://pharology.eu/resources/Douglass.pdf

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUN LAOGHAIRE, EAST PIER, LIGHTHOUSE
Date: 1895
Nature: Raising of height of tower and improvements to light.
Refs: Life of William Douglass, M.Inst.C.E. formerly engineer-in-chief to the Commissioners of Irish Lights by the author of the 'Life of Sir James Nicholas Douglass [Thomas Williams]' (Privately published, 1923), on-line version at http://pharology.eu/resources/Douglass.pdf

Building: CO. CORK, FASTNET LIGHTHOUSE
Date: 1896-1904
Nature: New tower on lower site designed by WD. Granite supplied by John Freeman & Sons, Penrhyn, Cornwall.  After retirement of WD in 1900 work conducted by Charles William Scott. Stonemason and foreman:James Kavanagh.
Refs: Charles William Scott, History of the Fastnet Rock Lighthouses. Illustrated with thirty-five reproductions of photographs, to which are appended thirty-four plates of reduced copies of working drawings. Drawn up by desire of the Commissioners of Irish Lights (London & Aylesbury, 1906);  James Morrissey, A History of the Fastnet Lighthouse (Dublin, 2005);  Life of William Douglass, M.Inst.C.E. formerly engineer-in-chief to the Commissioners of Irish Lights by the author of the 'Life of Sir James Nicholas Douglass [Thomas Williams]' (Privately published, 1923), on-line version at http://pharology.eu/resources/Douglass.pdf

Building: CO. ANTRIM, BLACKHEAD (CARRICKFERGUS), LIGHTHOUSE
Date: 1899
Nature: New lighthouse station
Refs: Life of William Douglass, M.Inst.C.E. formerly engineer-in-chief to the Commissioners of Irish Lights by the author of the 'Life of Sir James Nicholas Douglass [Thomas Williams]' (Privately published, 1923), on-line version at http://pharology.eu/resources/Douglass.pdf

Building: CO. ANTRIM, PORTRUSH, RNLI BOATHOUSE
Date: 1900
Nature: Designs same.
Refs: Plan and elevations (blueprint), 1900, in PRONI, D2977/37/1/2/16 (see PRONI e-catalogue).

Building: CO. MAYO, TERMONGARRAGH, LIGHTHOUSEMEN'S HOUSES
Date: ?
Nature: New shore dwellings for Eagle Island lighthousemen.
Refs: Life of William Douglass, M.Inst.C.E. formerly engineer-in-chief to the Commissioners of Irish Lights by the author of the 'Life of Sir James Nicholas Douglass [Thomas Williams]' (Privately published, 1923), on-line version at http://pharology.eu/resources/Douglass.pdf

Building: CO. KERRY, VALENTIA ISLAND, LIGHTHOUSEMENS' SHORE HOUSES
Date: ?
Nature: New dwellings for Inishtearaght and Skelligs lighthousemen.
Refs: Life of William Douglass, M.Inst.C.E. formerly engineer-in-chief to the Commissioners of Irish Lights by the author of the 'Life of Sir James Nicholas Douglass [Thomas Williams]' (Privately published, 1923), on-line version at http://pharology.eu/resources/Douglass.pdf