Selected: OWEN, JACOB


Born: 1778
Died: 1870


Engineer and architect to the Board of Public Works, 1832-1856. Jacob Owen, son of Jacob Owen and his wife Margaret, née Ellis, was born in Llanfihangel, Montgomeryshire, North Wales on 28 July 1778 and went to school in Monmouth before becoming a pupil of the English canal engineer William Underhill. He then appears to have gone to London. In 1805 he joined the Royal Engineers Department of the Ordnance and was promoted to the position of full clerk of works in 1806. For most of his career with the Board of Ordnance - from at least 1812 - he was based in Portsmouth, where he also ran a private practice with his son THOMAS ELLIS OWEN THOMAS ELLIS OWEN . In his latter years at Portsmouth, he served under Col. JOHN FOX BURGOYNE JOHN FOX BURGOYNE , who became chairman of the newly reconstituted Board of Public Works in Ireland in 1831. On Burgoyne's recommendation, he was appointed architect and engineer to the Board on 23 May 1832. For the first fourteen years, he was allowed by the terms of his appointment to accept private commissions as well, but in August 1846 this arrangement was terminated; instead his salary was increased by 25 per cent to £1,000. The change was the result of greatly increased pressure on the Board's architectural staff, which also led to the employment of outside architects for some major building projects.(1)

Owen retired on full pay in May 1856(2) to be succeeded by his son JAMES HIGGINS OWEN JAMES HIGGINS OWEN . In a statement to the Treasury, supporting the award of an appropriate pension,(3) John Radcliff, vice-chairman of the Board, wrote of the Commissioners' 'entire satisfaction' with the way in which Owen had performed his duties, 'working at all hours early & late with a good will'. Radcliff pointed out how Owen's 'perfect knowledge of the details of his business' had enabled him 'to secure the performance of good work at a moderate cost to the Public' and how, even when outside architects were employed on the colleges and lunatic asylums, he had 'been of great value in assisting to controul & check the expenditure of these Buildings'.

After his retirement Owen continued to busy himself in the affairs of the RIAI, which he had joined at its inception in 1839. In 1864 he founded the Irish Civil Service Building Society with James Higgins Owen. He left Ireland in 1867 to settle in Southsea, Hampshire, a resort which had been largely developed by Thomas Ellis Owen. He died of cancer of the liver at Toll End, Tipton, Staffordshire, the home of his daughter Mary Anne and her husband, Dr Thomas Underhill, on 29 October 1870. He was buried in the family vault at Mount Jerome cemetery. The RIAI recorded his passing at its meeting of 24 November 1870, noting that he had 'brought a practical and vigorous intellect to bear upon the amazing professional events of the earlier half of this century; and in his public career in ths country commanded respect by his administrative ability and unbending honesty of character.'(4)

Owen married twice. By his first wife, Mary (1781-1858), daughter of Thomas Underhill, whom he married in 1798, he had seventeen children, thirteen of whom lived to adulthood: of these WILLIAM HENSHAW OWEN WILLIAM HENSHAW OWEN , HENRY OWEN  HENRY OWEN and JAMES HIGGINS OWEN JAMES HIGGINS OWEN , his successor at the Board, all worked in Ireland, while his fourth daughter, Elizabeth Helen, married CHARLES LANYON CHARLES LANYON . His second wife was Elizabeth Donnet Fry (c.1792-1870), widow of Captain John Fry, who predeceased him by five months.

Owen's pupils and assistants included WILLIAM CARROLL[2] WILLIAM CARROLL[2] , Charles Lanyon, THOMAS TURNER THOMAS TURNER , and RICHARD WILLIAMSON.& RICHARD WILLIAMSON.& nbsp; The many successes of his pupils in the County Surveyorship examinations, for which he was one of the three examiners, attracted some adverse criticism.(5)

ICEI:(6) council member, 1845,1847-1850; 1852-1854; 1857; vice-president, 1842-44,1846,1859,1861
RIAI:(7) founder member, 1839; vice-president, 1849-1866; resigned 26 November 1866.(8)
RIA: elected member, 1838.(9)
Royal Zoological Society of Ireland:(10) council member, <=1842->=1857; vice-president, 1858-59.
Geological Society of Dublin:(11) council member, 1844-1846.

Addresses:(12) Home: 12 Cumberland Street North, <=1835->=1837; 2 (later renumbered as 54) Mountjoy Square West, <=1839(13)->=1863.

See WORKS and BIBLIOGRAPHY. BIBLIOGRAPHY.

References
All information in this entry not otherwise accounted for is from F. O'Dwyer, 'The architecture of the Board of Public Works 1831-1923', Public Works: the architecture of the Office of Public Works 1831-1987 (AAI, 1987), 11-20, and O'Dwyer's more extensive account in 'Building empires: architecture, politics and the Board of Works 1760-1860', Irish Architectural and Decorative Studies 5 (2002), 147-1164. O'Dwyer has written the entry on Owen for the Oxford DNB, which supersedes that in DNB. The entry on Owen in APSD was written by James Higgins Owen. A portrait of Owen is in the RIAI (repr. in O'Dwyer, op. cit., above (2002), 147).

(1) 16th Report of the Board of Works Ireland (1848), 14,17.
(2) B 14, 28 Jun 1856, 360.
(3) Photocopy of document, dated 1 May 1856, in Jones file.
(4) RIAI general meeting minutes, 24 Nov 1870; IB 12 1 Dec 1870, 285.
(5) NA/SPO CSORP 1837/1087 ?and 1838/1265 (IAA, Edward McParland files, Acc. 2008/44).
(6) Jones transcripts from TICEI lists of officers and Thom's directories.
(7) Jones transcripts from Thom's directories.
(8) RIAI special council meeting minutes, 26 Nov 1866, 212.
(9) See note 7, above.
(10) See note 7, above.
(11) See note 7, above.
(12) Letter dated 19 Feb 1839, to John B. Keane, in RIAI archive.
(13) From Wilson's, Pettigrew & Oulton's & Thom's directories unless otherwise stated.

33 work entries listed in chronological order for OWEN, JACOB


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Building: CO. CARLOW, CARLOW, COUNTY COURT HOUSE
Date: 1828-34
Nature: JO suggests alts to W.V. Morrison's plan.
Refs: First Report…Public Works, Ireland (1833), 8; NA/PRO Board of Works minutes, 30 Jun 1832 (IAA, Edward McParland files, Acc.2008/44)

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, INNS QUAY, FOUR COURTS
Date: 1832
Nature: Proposed Nisi Prius Court and solicitors' chambers. Scheme rejected. See also Frederick Darley.
Refs: NA/PRO, Board of Works Minutes, 2 Nov 1832 (IAA, Edward McParland files, Acc.2008/44); Frederick O'Dwyer, 'The architecture of the Board of Public Works 1831-1923', Public Works: the architecture of the Office of Public Works 1831-1987 (AAI, 1987), 12

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, CASTLE STREET, DUBLIN CASTLE
Date: 1833-34
Nature: Castellated stable and coach house.
Refs: F. O'Dwyer, 'Building empires: architecture, politics and the Board of Works 1760-1860', Irish Architectural and Decorative Studies 5 (2002), 150,151(illus.);  Christine Casey, The Buildings of Ireland: Dublin (2005), 360.

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, MARLBOROUGH STREET, TYRONE HOUSE, CENTRAL MODEL SCHOOLS
Date: 1834-42
Nature: Adaptation of Tyrone House and design of adjacent training college and model schools. For Board of National Education. (but see also Frederick Darley[2]).
Refs: F. O'Dwyer, 'Building empires: architecture, politics and the Board of Works 1760-1860', Irish Architectural and Decorative Studies 5 (2002), 157,Pl.44; Christine Casey, The Buildings of Ireland: Dublin (2005), 154-6.

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, INNS QUAY, FOUR COURTS
Date: 1835-39
Nature: Benchers' and Solicitors' building. Cost defrayed by Benchers of King's Inns. Designed 1835; started 1837. Walls built to height of principal floor, Mar 1838. Roofed and 'in active progress of completion', Mar 1839.
Refs: Drawings in PRO, OPW records, old ref. B.7.3; 6th Annual Report from the Board of Public Works in Ireland (1838), 11; 7th Annual Report (1839), 3; Frederick O'Dwyer, 'The architecture of the Board of Public Works 1831-1923', Public Works: the architecture of the Office of Public Works 1831-1987 (AAI, 1987), 12; F. O'Dwyer, 'Building empires: architecture, politics and the Board of Works 1760-1860', Irish Architectural and Decorative Studies 5 (2002), 154,Pl.35

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, INNS QUAY, FOUR COURTS
Date: 1835-39
Nature: New block on N side containing Rolls Court, Nisi Prius Court, and Law Library. Contractor: Henry, Mullins & McMahon.
Refs: Drawings in NA, OPW records (longitudinal section through library, dated 1 Oct 1835, repr. Rena Lohan, Guide to the Archives of the Office of Public Works (1994), 184, Pl. X.); engraved copies of drawings (elevations, plans & section through library) in 4th Report of the Board of Public Works, Ireland (1836), Plates 2-4; see also Conor Griffin, 'Post Gandon at the Four Courts' in The Four Courts: 200 Years (1996), 235-239; F. O'Dwyer, 'Building empires: architecture, politics and the Board of Works 1760-1860', Irish Architectural and Decorative Studies 5 (2002), 154,Pl.36;  Christine Casey, The Buildings of Ireland: Dublin (2005), 97-8.

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, CASTLE STREET, DUBLIN CASTLE
Date: 1837
Nature: Cavalry Guard House (1837) and riding school.(Demolished in 1960s)
Refs: F. O'Dwyer, 'Building empires: architecture, politics and the Board of Works 1760-1860', Irish Architectural and Decorative Studies 5 (2002), 152

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, CASTLE STREET, DUBLIN CASTLE
Date: 1837-38
Nature: Modernization of old Treasury building, including double-return granite stair..
Refs: Frederick O'Dwyer, 'The architecture of the Board of Public Works 1831-1923', Public Works: the architecture of the Office of Public Works 1831-1987 (AAI, 1987), 12; Christine Casey, The Buildings of Ireland: Dublin (2005), 358.

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, CASTLE STREET, DUBLIN CASTLE
Date: 1838
Nature: Constabulary barracks.(Extension of Thomas Eyre's house of 1756.)
Refs: F. O'Dwyer, 'Building empires: architecture, politics and the Board of Works 1760-1860', Irish Architectural and Decorative Studies 5 (2002), 151(illus.),152

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, INNS QUAY, FOUR COURTS
Date: 1838-39
Nature: Bankruptcy Court adjoining Solicitors' Building (?also by JO). Foundations 'being proceeded with', Mar 1838; roofed aand 'in active progress of completion', Mar 1839.
Refs: 6th Annual Report from the Board of Public Works in Ireland (1838), 11; 7th Annual Report (1839), 3; Frederick O'Dwyer, 'The architecture of the Board of Public Works 1831-1923', Public Works: the architecture of the Office of Public Works 1831-1987 (AAI, 1987), 12

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, CASTLE STREET, DUBLIN CASTLE
Date: 1838-49
Nature: Remodelling of state apartments, including stair halland drawing room, new doors to St Patrick's Hall and galleries to vestibules of same.
Refs: J. Owen, 'An account of the mode adopted for raising the roof of the Presence Chamber, Dublin Castle', TICEI 3 (1848-49), 32-34; F. O'Dwyer, 'Building empires: architecture, politics and the Board of Works 1760-1860', Irish Architectural and Decorative Studies 5 (2002), 152;  Christine Casey, The Buildings of Ireland: Dublin (2005), 353,355,357..

Building: CO. SLIGO, SLIGO, RIVERSIDE, COUNTY GAOL
Date: 1839
Nature: Alts.
Refs: Co. Sligo Grand Jury presentments, Summer Assizes, 1839 (IAA, Edward McParland files, Acc.2008/44)

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DALKEY, CHURCH OF ST PATRICK (CI)
Date: 1839-43
Nature: JO wins competition for new church. Gothic. Land leased from Corporation for Preserving and Improving the Port of Dublin, 6 Nov 1840. Opened for worship 5 Mar 1843. Consecrated 20 Aug 1868.
Refs: B.H. Blacker, Sketches of Irish Churches (), ?; F. O'Dwyer, 'Building empires: architecture, politics and the Board of Works 1760-1860', Irish Architectural and Decorative Studies 5 (2002), 161,Pl.47; Clergy of Dublin & Glenadalough (Ulster Historical Foundation, 2001), 89-90.

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, CASTLE STREET, DUBLIN CASTLE
Date: 1840-41
Nature: Extension of Chief Secretary's Office.
Refs: F. O'Dwyer, 'Building empires: architecture, politics and the Board of Works 1760-1860', Irish Architectural and Decorative Studies 5 (2002), 152

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, PHOENIX PARK, POLICE DEPOT
Date: 1840-43
Nature: New. Designed 1840 and executed 184/-1843. Contractor: Charles Carolin.
Refs: DB 3, 15 Sep 1861, 637; B 19, 30 Nov 1861, 823; F. O'Dwyer, 'Building empires: architecture, politics and the Board of Works 1760-1860', Irish Architectural and Decorative Studies 5 (2002), 152;  Christine Casey, The Buildings of Ireland: Dublin (2005), 300.

Building: CO. TIPPERARY, ROSCREA, COURT HOUSE
Date: 1840a
Nature: Paid 1840.
Refs: Parliamentary Papers Vol. 38 (1842) (IAA, Edward McParland files, Acc.2008/44)

Building: CO. DONEGAL, BUNCRANA, COURT HOUSE
Date: 1840ca
Nature: New court house (or enlargement and remodelling of one built ten years earlier) with round-headed windows and Greek revival doorcase. Perhaps by JO, who uses exactly the same doorcase on Galway Custom House. Loan of £950 from Board of Works, 1842.
Refs: Grand Jury Presentments, 1839, 1840; 2 unsigned, undated sheets of working details in NA, OPW drawings collection (old ref. B.7.4); 10th Annual Report of Commissioners of Public Works (Ireland) (1842), 22; C.E.B. Brett, Court Houses and Market Houses of the Province of Ulster (UAHS, 1973), 58; Alistair Rowan, The Buildings of Ireland: North West Ulster (1979), 155

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, TALBOT STREET, NO. 009 (FEMALE TRAINING SCHOOL)
Date: 1842
Nature: Italianate, 7-bay, 3-storey building.
Refs: Civil Engineer and Architect's Journal & (13 Jan 1844), 18(illus.); Frederick O'Dwyer, 'The architecture of the Board of Public Works 1831-1923', Public Works: the architecture of the Office of Public Works 1831-1987 (AAI, 1987), 12(illus.);  Christine Casey, The Buildings of Ireland: Dublin (2005), 155.

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, PHOENIX PARK, VICE-REGAL LODGE (LATER ÁRAS AN UACHTARÁIN)
Date: 1842ca-1854
Nature: Additions: coach houses (c.1842); enlargement of Woodgate's east wing (designed 1843, executed 1849); west wing (1854).
Refs: F. O'Dwyer, 'Building empires: architecture, politics and the Board of Works 1760-1860', Irish Architectural and Decorative Studies 5 (2002), 152, Pls. 33,34;  Christine Casey, The Buildings of Ireland: Dublin (2005), 294-5.

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, PHOENIX PARK, CHIEF SECRETARY'S LODGE
Date: 1845ca
Nature: Remodelling of house. Triple-arched gateway. (House remodelled again, 1986.)
Refs: Drawing(s) for proposed alts. to garden front including porte cochère and upper storeys of bow windows in NA, OPW records, old ref. G.3.4; F. O'Dwyer, 'Building empires: architecture, politics and the Board of Works 1760-1860', Irish Architectural and Decorative Studies 5 (2002), 152;  Christine Casey, The Buildings of Ireland: Dublin (2005), 296-7.

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, PHOENIX PARK, UNDER-SECRETARY'S LODGE
Date: 1845ca
Nature: Rebuilding.
Refs: F. O'Dwyer, 'Building empires: architecture, politics and the Board of Works 1760-1860', Irish Architectural and Decorative Studies 5 (2002), 152

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUNDRUM, DUNDRUM ROAD, CRIMINAL LUNATIC ASYLUM
Date: 1847-1851
Nature: With F.V. Clarendon. To accommodate 120 patients.
Refs: Drawings in NA, OPW5HC/4/779; 16th Annual Report of Commissioners of Public Works (Ireland) (1848), 15,17 (elevation & plans at end of report);  Civil Engineer and Architect's Journal 14, 15 Feb 1851, 133 (with elevation and ground plan).

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, COWLEY PLACE, MOUNTJOY PRISON
Date: 1847-49
Nature: New convict depot on N Circular Rd. General plans prepared in London by Lt. Col. Joshua Jebb, surveyor general of prisons. Expected to be completed by beginning of 1850. Contractor: Williams?  Ironwork by Irish Engineering Co., Seville Place.
Refs: 16th Report of Board of Works, Ireland (1848), 15,17;  Christine Casey, The Buildings of Ireland: Dublin (2005), 280.

Building: CO. GALWAY, GALWAY, CUSTOM HOUSE
Date: 1847;1848
Nature: Alts., including alts. to wine store, new tobacco store, proposed primitive Greek pedimented doorway from Flood St to warehouse.
Refs: Signed drawings, 12 Oct 1847 and 10 Jun 1848, in NA, OPW records, old refs. B.10.2 and B.12.2

Building: CO. LOUTH, DROGHEDA (NEAR), COASTGUARD STATION
Date: 1848
Nature: Modification(?) of existing terrace of cottages.
Refs: Signed drawing, dated 15 Jul 1848, in NA, OPW5HC/4/535

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, HENRIETTA STREET, KING'S INNS
Date: 1849
Nature: Extension of registry of deeds, (?and subsequent balancing extension on N.)   According to Casey, JO added S wing in 1849.
Refs: Drawings dated 3 Oct 1849 in NA, OPW records, old refs. B.7.11, B.8.3; APSD, O, 54;  Frederick O'Dwyer, 'The architecture of the Board of Public Works 1831-1923', Public Works: the architecture of the Office of Public Works 1831-1987 (AAI, 1987), 12;  Christine Casey, The Buildings of Ireland: Dublin (2005), 159.

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, PHOENIX PARK, ROYAL HIBERNIAN MILITARY SCHOOL
Date: 1850
Nature: Catholic chapel; 'small and well-made Gothic Revival hall and chancel with projecting NE vestry, NW sacristy and S porch' (Casey).
Refs: Christine Casey, The Buildings of Ireland: Dublin (2005), 303.

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, GRANGEGORMAN, RICHMOND LUNATIC ASYLUM
Date: 1851
Nature: New asylum in connection with present one; tenders invited.
Refs: B 9, 19 Apr 1851, 254;  for entire complex see Christine Casey, The Buildings of Ireland: Dublin (2005), 256-60.

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, PHOENIX PARK, ROYAL HIBERNIAN MILITARY SCHOOL
Date: 1851
Nature: Addition of school room on central axis.
Refs: Drawings in NA, OPW records, F.12.1-F.12.4

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, PHOENIX PARK, UNDER-SECRETARY'S LODGE
Date: 1854
Nature: New vineries and back buildings.
Refs: Obair 17 (Jun 2007), 31

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, PARNELL STREET, ROTUNDA HOSPITAL
Date: 1863
Nature: Alterations to and renovations of chapel. JO furnished plans 'gratuitously'.  Work carried out by Bennett, caninet maker & upholsterer, Henry Street. Chapel reopened 29 Nov 1863.
Refs: Irish Times, 27 Nov,1 Dec 1863.

Building: CO. ANTRIM, BELFAST, BRIDGE OVER RIVER LAGAN
Date: ?
Nature: New bridge, designed by 'J.Owen'.
Refs: Drawing(s) signed 'J. Owen' in NA, OPW Engineering & Architectural Drawings - Roads and Bridges collection, OPW5HC/6/0078

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, PHOENIX PARK, ISLANDBRIDGE GATE LODGE
Date: ?
Nature: '...rebuilt in a Tudor cottage orné style...most likely by Jacob Owen' (Casey)..
Refs: Christine Casey, The Buildings of Ireland: Dublin (2005), 309-10.

Author Title Date Details
Owen, Jacob 'An economical method of forming arches in existing walls' 1844 TICEI 1 (1844-45), 66.
Owen, Jacob 'Results of experiments on retaining walls' 1845 TICEI 1 (1844-45), 138.
Owen, Jacob 'An account of the mode adopted for raising the roof of the Presence Chamber, Dublin Castle' 1848 TICEI 3 (1848-49), 32-34.