Dictionary of Irish Architects 1720 - 1940

Architect, active in Co. Derry and Belfast from the 1770s onwards. David McBlain, a son of JAMES MCBLAIN JAMES MCBLAIN , who was born about 1755, helped his father with the erection of the spire at Hillsborough Church, Co. Down, in the early 1770s. Like his father he later worked for Frederick Hervey, Bishop of Derry: at Downhill from circa 1778, and at Ballyscullion during the late 1780s. In the latter connection he was described in the Belfast News Letter for 14-18 September 1787 as 'a young man who joining spirit, assiduity and talents to activity gives promise of out-stripping the foremost architects in this Kingdom'.(1) He is probably the Mr Blain who designed the General Hospital in Frederick Street, Belfast in 1815. In the 1830s he contributed information on the parish of Dunboe to the compilers of the Ordnance Survey Field Memoir for Co. Derry. He died at Articlave, aged ninety-two, on 3 October 1847(2) and was buried in the family tomb in Dunboe old churchyard beneath an obelisk of his own design.(3)

See WORKS.



References

All information in this entry not otherwise accounted for is from Peter Rankin, Irish Building Ventures of the Earl Bishop of Derry (UAHS, 1972), 15,22,23,28,33,40,50,53.

(1) Quoted by T.G.F. Paterson, 'The Edifying Bishop', BIGS 9 (Jul-Dec 1966), 77; David McBlain had advertised for stonecutters at Downhill and Ballyscullion in the Belfast News Letter for 17-20 Apr 1787, p.3 (Belfast News Letter Index, www.ucs.louisiana.edu).
(2) Information from inscription on tomb (text courtesy of Peter Rankin).
(3) J.S. Curl, The Londonderry Plantation 1609-1914 (1986), 240.


21 work entries listed in chronological order for MCBLAIN, DAVID


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Building: CO. DOWN, HILLSBOROUGH, CHURCH OF ST MALACHI (CI)
Date: 1775a
Nature: Spire designed and built by DB with James McBlain.
Refs: P. Rankin, Irish Building Ventures of the Earl Bishop of Derry (UAHS, 1972), 10;  C.E.B. Brett, Buildings of North County Down (UAHS, 2002), 39(illus.),40.

Building: CO. DERRY, DOWNHILL
Date: 1786;1788
Nature: Dovecote with ice-house under it on one side of walled garden; OS memoirs say he cased house in freestone after 1787, built Mussenden temple from cornice upwards, 1788, and erected monument (mausoleum) with M. Shanahan, but all these refs probably to James McBlain.
Refs: A. Day, P. McWilliams & L. English, eds., Ordnance Survey Memoirs of Ireland Vol. 11, 60,61; P. Rankin, Irish Building Ventures of the Earl Bishop of Derry (UAHS, 1972), 33

Building: CO. DERRY, BALLYSCULLION HOUSE
Date: 1787-88
Nature: Oversees work at same (also carries out cut stone work?)
Refs: Belfast News Letter, 14-18 Sep 1787 (ref. from C.E.B. Brett); P. Rankin, Irish Building Ventures of the Earl Bishop of Derry (UAHS, 1972), 50,53

Building: CO. DERRY, BALLYKELLY, CHURCH OF ST FINDLUGANUS (CI, TAMLAGHT FINLAGAN PARISH)
Date: 1790
Nature: DM possibly involved in design.
Refs: P. Rankin, Irish Building Ventures of the Earl Bishop of Derry (UAHS, 1972), 39-40; James Stevens Curl, The Londonderry Plantation, 1609-1914 (1986), 239-240,Pls.154,159

Building: CO. DERRY, ROE PARK
Date: 1795ca;1801
Nature: Matthew Ferguson builds bridge across R. Roe, assisted by D McB, 1795; both me rebuild bridge 1801 after it was washed away in a flood. Wooden structure with 70ft single span.(Collapsed 12 Jul 1830 under weight of a procession of Orangemen.)
Refs: A. Day, P. McWilliams & N. Dobson, eds., Ordnance Survey Memoirs of Ireland Vol. 25, 81,108 (RIA, Ordnance Survey Memoir, Box 47)

Building: CO. DERRY, DRUMCOVIT
Date: 1796
Nature: New front, of which Curl thinks it 'highly likely' that DM was the architect. For Nathaniel Hunter.
Refs: James Stevens Curl, The Londonderry Plantation, 1609-1914 (1986), 242,Pl.157

Building: CO. DERRY, ROE PARK
Date: 1801
Nature: Assists Matthew Ferguson in building bridge across River Roe twice in same year.
Refs: OS Memoirs 25 (Parishes of Londonderry - VII), 80

Building: CO. ANTRIM, LISBURN, CHRIST CHURCH CATHEDRAL (CI, BLARIS & LISNAGARVEY PARISHES)
Date: 1804-1807
Nature: Designed tall octagonal spire with James McBlain. Marquess of Hertford contributed towards cost of building same..
Refs: J. Hall, Tour through Ireland (1813), ?; A Tour in Ireland in 1813 & 1814. By an Englishman {John Gough?] (1817), ?; C.E.B. Brett, D. Dunleath, Lisburn (UAHS, 1969), 4(illus.),6; C.E.B. Brett, Buildings of County Antrim (UAHS, 1996), 32(illus.)

Building: CO. ANTRIM, LISBURN, MARKET HOUSE
Date: 1808
Nature: Designed cupola 'with his son James'.
Refs: C.E.B. Brett, Court Houses and Market Houses of the Province of Ulster (UAHS, 1973), 33

Building: CO. DOWN, BANBRIDGE, DOWNSHIRE ARMS HOTEL
Date: 1810
Nature: Proposed new inn?
Refs: PRONI D671/P1/5 (IAA, Edward McParland files, Acc.2008/44)

Building: CO. DOWN, BANBRIDGE, INN
Date: 1810
Nature: Proposed new inn.
Refs: Plan, inscr. 'McBlain's plan for New Inn,', 20 oct 1810, in Downshire MSS, PRONI D671/P1/1-8

Building: CO. DOWN, DUNDRUM, STORES
Date: 1813
Nature: 'Mr McBlain' to prepare plan for same, for Arthur, 3rd Marquess of Downshire.
Refs: PRONI D671/A5/8

Building: CO. ANTRIM, BELFAST, FREDERICK STREET, GENERAL HOSPITAL
Date: 1815
Nature: 3-storey brick building with Venetian window above pedimented porch. Designed by 'Mr Blain'.
Refs: C.E.B. Brett, Buildings of Belfast (2nd ed., 1985), 15

Building: CO. DOWN, HILLSBOROUGH, MARKET HOUSE
Date: 1819
Nature: Unexecuted proposal, for Arthur, 3rd Marquess of Downshire.
Refs: Drawings? in PRONI D671/P6/7,8,9; reference to contract to carry out same in PRONI D671/A5/10(IAA, Edward McParland files, Acc.2008/44); C.E.B. Brett, Court Houses and Market Houses of the Province of Ulster (UAHS, 1973), 70

Building: CO. DOWN, HILLSBOROUGH, COURT HOUSE
Date: 1819
Nature: Unexecuted proposal, for Arthur, 3rd Marquess of Downshire.
Refs: Drawings, and reference to contract to build same in PRONI D671/P8/10,10A, &c.(IAA, Edward McParland files, Acc.2008/44)

Building: CO. DERRY, BALLYKELLY, COTTAGES
Date: 1821
Nature: Unexecuted proposal for two blocks of four tradesmen's cottages to be constructed on Main Street, for Fishmongers' Company.
Refs: Designs for various buildings in Ballykelly, 1820, in the Fishmongers' Company MSS, Guildhall Library, London, see James Stevens Curl, The Londonderry Plantation, 1609-1914 (1986), 250,257, Pl. 168

Building: CO. DERRY, BALLYKELLY, SCHOOL
Date: 1821
Nature: Unexecuted design for Lancasterian School House, for Fishmongers' Company.
Refs: Designs for various buildings in Ballykelly, 1820, in the Fishmongers' Company MSS, Guildhall Library, London; Hugh Dixon, Ulster Architecture 1800-1900 (UAHS, 1973), 22(no.99, illus.) James Stevens Curl, The Londonderry Plantation, 1609-1914 (1986), 250,257, Pl. 167

Building: CO. DERRY, BALLYKELLY, AGENT'S HOUSE
Date: 1821
Nature: Two different proposals for Fishmongers' Company (neither executed).
Refs: Designs for various buildings in Ballykelly, 1820, in the Fishmongers' Company MSS, Guildhall Library, London; W.D. Girvan, Historic Buildings in North Derry (UAHS, 1975), 28(illus.),29(illus.); Hugh Dixon, Ulster Architecture 1800-1900 (UAHS, 1973), 10(no.11, illus.); James Stevens Curl, The Londonderry Plantation, 1609-1914 (1986), 250,257, Pls. 164,165,166

Building: CO. DERRY, BALLYKELLY, INN
Date: 1821
Nature: Unexecuted design for Fishmongers' Company (similar to inn at Banbridge, designed by DM)
Refs: Designs for various buildings in Ballykelly, 1820, in the Fishmongers' Company MSS, Guildhall Library, London; Hugh Dixon, Ulster Architecture 1800-1900 (UAHS, 1973), 23(no.110); James Stevens Curl, The Londonderry Plantation, 1609-1914 (1986), 250,257, Pl. 163

Building: CO. DERRY, BALLYKELLY, MARKET HOUSE
Date: 1821
Nature: Unexecuted design for Fishmongers' Company.
Refs: Designs for various buildings in Ballykelly, 1820, in the Fishmongers' Company MSS, Guildhall Library, London; Hugh Dixon, Ulster Architecture 1800-1900 (UAHS, 1973), 23(no.111); James Stevens Curl, The Londonderry Plantation, 1609-1914 (1986), 250, Pl. 162

Building: CO. DERRY, DUNBOE, CHURCH (OLD)
Date: ?
Nature: Designed McBlain monument in churchyard.
Refs: J.S. Curl, The Londonderry Plantation 1609-1914 (1986), 240