Dictionary of Irish Architects 1720 - 1940

Engineer, contractor and architect, for whom see Howard Colvin, A Biographical dictionary of British architects 1600-1840 (4th edn., 2008), 623.  George Knowles, who was born in Yorkshire(1) in about 1776,(2) was working in Ireland during the first and second decades of the nineteenth century. He was connected both as a designer and contractor with the building of the Royal Canal.(3) Designs by him for Mullingar Harbour and for the Sheriff Street bridge over the Canal (1808) are in the collection of Thomas Pakenham, Tullynally, Co. Westmeath, and another anonymous design in the same collection for locks on the canal in Co. Westmeath mentions 'Contract by Mr Knowles' in its reference key. Knowles designed and built Lucan Bridge (1814)(4) and was the contractor for Richmond Bridge (1812-16) and Whitworth Bridge (1816-17).(5)

By about 1821 Knowles was living at at Lucan House, Sharow, Yorkshire. He designed and supervised the execution of St John's Church, Sharow (1825). In about 1836 he moved to Wood End, The Crescent, Scarborough, a new house which he may have built himself. During his years in Scarborough he was involved in the management and development of the spa and made plans for the Spa Gardens. He died in Scarborough on 23 June 1856 at the age of eighty and was buried at Sharow. A monument to him in the church shows a relief of a broken bridge below the inscription.(6) His much younger widow, Ann, who was born in York probably circa 1794, survived him and is recorded in the English census for 1861 as living on in Wood End with a housekeeper, two housemaids and a butler to attend to her.



References

Information about Knowles's later years in Yorkshire is from Dr & Mrs Paul Bayliss, 2 Cooks Gardens, Scalby, Scarborough, YO 13 0SU unless otherwise attributed.

(1) According to the English census of 1841 both he and his wife, Ann, were born in Yorkshire.
(2) He is said to have been 80 at the time of his death, though his age is given as only 60 in the English census of 1841.
(3) He is not mentioned, however, in V.T.H. & D.R. Delany, The Canals of the South of Ireland (1966), R. Delany, A Celebration of 250 Years of Ireland's Inland Waterways (1988) or Peter Clarke, The Royal Canal: the Complete Story (1992).
(4) M.B. Mullins, 'Address of M.B. Mullins, Esq. AM, President, being an historical sketch of engineering in Ireland', TICEI 6 (1859-61), 39; Peter O'Keefe & Tom Simington, Irish Stone Bridges (1991), 272,272(illus.); R.C. Cox & M.H. Gould, Civil Engineering Heritage: Ireland (1998), 40(illus.).
(5) J.W. De Courcy, The Liffey in Dublin (1996), 217-18.
(6) N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Yorkshire, the West Riding (revised edition, 1979), 445.


5 work entries listed in chronological order for KNOWLES, GEORGE #


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Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, SHERIFF STREET LOWER, BRIDGE OVER ROYAL CANAL
Date: 1808
Nature: Design by GK.
Refs: Elevation, signed by GK, and dated on verso 5 May 1808, formerly in Henry, Mullins & MacMahon collection, in collection of Thomas Pakenham, Tullynally.

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, RICHMOND BRIDGE
Date: 1813-1816
Nature: GK awarded contract in Oct 1812 and completed bridge in spring of 1816. Bridge designed by James Savage.
Refs: The Liffey Bridges from Islandbridge to Eastlink: a historical and technical report compiled by the Liffey Bridges Survey Team (1987), 68; J.W. De Courcy, The Liffey in Dublin (1996), 217;  Christine Casey, The Buildings of Ireland: Dublin (2005), 695-6.


Building: CO. DUBLIN, LUCAN, BRIDGE
Date: 1814
Nature: Designed and built by Knowles; 'assisted' by James Savage (Cox).
Refs: M.B. Mullins, 'Address of M.B. Mullins, Esq. AM, President, being an historical sketch of engineering in Ireland', TICEI 6 (1859-61), 39; Peter O'Keefe & Tom Simington, Irish Stone Bridges (1991), 272,272(illus.); R.C. Cox & M.H. Gould, Civil Engineering Heritage: Ireland (1998), 40(illus.).

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, WHITWORTH BRIDGE
Date: 1816-18
Nature: Adapted from James Savage's design for Richmond Bridge by GK, the contractor.
Refs: M. Craig, Dublin 1660-1860 (1952), 289; The Liffey Bridges from Islandbridge to Eastlink: a historical and technical report compiled by the Liffey Bridges Survey Team (1987), 78; J.W. De Courcy, The Liffey in Dublin (1996), 218;  Christine Casey, The Buildings of Ireland: Dublin (2005), 696.


Building: CO. WESTMEATH, MULLINGAR, HARBOUR
Date: ?
Nature: For Royal Canal Co.
Refs: Signed plan, elevation and secion of quay wall from office of Henry, Mullins & MacMahon, in collection of Thomas Pakenham, Tullynally.