Dictionary of Irish Architects 1720 - 1940

Engineer, of Dublin. Pierce Purcell, the only son of Thomas P. Purcell, chief of the Dublin Fire Brigade, was born in Kilkenny on 6 October 1881. After attending Castleknock College he entered the School of Engineering of Trinity College, Dublin, in 1899, gaining first place with honours and the BAI degree in 1902, the Senior Moderatorship and Gold Medal in experimental physics and chemistry in 1903, and the degrees of MA and MAI in 1908. From 1904 until 1910 he was an assistant engineer with London County Council; during this period he was engaged in the construction of Kingsway and Aldwych and in drainage schemes in south London. In October 1909 he was appointed professor of Civil Engineering at University College, Dublin,(1) and returned to Ireland take up his new post in 1910.

Purcell held the UCD professorship for forty-one years. He became a member of the College's Governing Body and of the Senate of the National University. In addition to his university commitments, he ran a private engineering consultancy from his house and was involved in the construction of bridges, waterworks and drainage schemes. He was secretary to the Irish Peat Enquiry Board in 1917-18 and Peat Investigation Officer to the Fuel Research Board from 1919-1931. He was also chairman of the Alliance and Dublin Consumers' Gas Company. Golf and swimming were his principal recreations.

Purcell retired from UCD in 1951.(2) He died at Jervis Street Hospital, Dublin, on 17 January 1968 and was buried in Deansgrange cemetery.(3) He had married Amy Austral (d. 1940), daughter of G.H. Oatway of Highgate, London, and Dunedin, New Zealand, in 1910 and had four sons, one of whom, Pierce Michael Oatway Purcell (d.1959 or 1960),(4) was also an engineer. A long-time resident of Killiney, he was a member - and for some time chairman - of Killiney Urban District Council.

ICEI:(5) elected member, 1911; hon. secretary, 1912-1915; council member, 1915-1920, 1924-1961; reads paper, 'Compression Tests on tubular struts', 5 March 1917,(6) vice-president, 1921-1922; president, 1922-24; hon, treasurer, 1926-1928; reads paper, 'Mechanical filtration plant at Carlow waterworks', 4 March 1929.(7)
Inst.CE: elected associate member, 5 December 1905; transferred to member, 27 April 1920.(8)

Addresses:(9) Home: Gayfield, Killiney, <=1912- 1916; Ashton, Killiney, 1917 until death.

See WORKS and BIBLIOGRAPHY. BIBLIOGRAPHY.



References

All information in this entry not otherwise accounted for is from the entry on Purcell in Who was Who, 1961-1970, 921, and from the interview with him in IB 65, 10 Feb 1923, 81-82, which is illustrated with a portrait photograph.

(1) IB 51, 30 Oct 1909, 678; Building News 97, 29 Oct 1909, 662.
(2) Information from Thom's directories.
(3) Death notice in Irish Independent, 18 Jan 1968.
(4) TICEI 86 (1959-1960), 190.
(5) Jones transcripts from TICEI, lists of officers, unless otherwise stated.
(6) TICEI 42 (1915-16), 168-187.
(7) TICEI 55 (1928-29), 123-133.
(8) Information from Mrs Carol Morgan, archivist, Institution of Civil Engineers, London.
(9) From Thom's directories and ICEI lists of members.


24 work entries listed in chronological order for PURCELL, PIERCE FRANCIS


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Building: CO. KILKENNY, KILKENNY, WATER SUPPLY
Date: 1925
Nature: PFP appointed engineer for new waterworks scheme, for Kilkenny Corporation.
Refs: IB 67, 5 Sep 1925, 741

Building: CO. LIMERICK, LIMERICK, WATER SUPPLY
Date: 1930
Nature: Mechanical filtration plant and waterworks extension. For Limerick Corporation.
Refs: IB 72, 6 Dec 1930, 1106I

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, BUTT BRIDGE (NEW)
Date: 1932
Nature: Designed by PFP with Joseph Mallagh. Believed to be earliest recorded use of cantilevered construction in reinforced concrete. Constructed by Gray's Ferro-Concrete (Ireland Ltd.) for Dublin Port & Docks Board.
Refs: Bill of quantities and scedule of prices in IAA, Acc.2008/47;  R.C. Cox & M.H. Gould, Civil Engineering Heritage: Ireland (1998), 39;  Christine Casey, The Buildings of Ireland: Dublin (2005), 693.

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, BUTT BRIDGE (NEW)
Date: 1932
Nature: Designed by PFP with Joseph Mallagh. Believed to be earliest recorded use of cantilevered construction in reinforced concrete. Constructed by Gray's Ferro-Concrete (Ireland Ltd.) for Dublin Port & Docks Board.
Refs: Bill of quantities and scedule of prices in IAA, Acc.2008/47;  R.C. Cox & M.H. Gould, Civil Engineering Heritage: Ireland (1998), 39;  Christine Casey, The Buildings of Ireland: Dublin (2005), 693.

Building: CO. KERRY, KENMARE, BRIDGE (NEW)
Date: 1932ca
Nature: New two-span bridge. PFP consulting engineer with L.G. Mouchel & Co., London, represented by their district engineer, R.N. Eaton.. Contractor: A.E. Farr, London. Cost: £10,000. For Kerry County Council.
Refs: IB 75, 20 May 1933, 405-6(illus.); R.C. Cox & M.H. Gould, Civil Engineering Heritage: Ireland (1998), 269-70 (illus.)

Building: CO. MAYO, CASTLEBAR, WATER SUPPLY
Date: 1933
Nature: New waterworks system.
Refs: IB 75, 29 Jul 1933, 632

Building: CO. CARLOW, BORRIS, WATER SUPPLY
Date: 1934
Nature: -
Refs: IB 76, 1 Dec 1934, 1050

Building: CO. CARLOW, TULLOW, DRAINAGE SCHEME
Date: 1937
Nature: -
Refs: IB 79, 6 Feb 1937, 130

Building: CO. TIPPERARY, ROSCREA, WATER SUPPLY
Date: 1939
Nature: Extension.
Refs: IB 81, 11 Nov 1939, 936

Building: CO. CARLOW, HACKETSTOWN, SEWERAGE
Date: 1945
Nature: Sewerage scheme.
Refs: IB 87, 22 Sep 1945, 492

Building: CO. CARLOW, BORRIS, SEWERAGE
Date: 1945
Nature: Sewerage scheme.
Refs: IB 87, 22 Sep 1945, 492

Building: CO. KERRY, BALLYBUNION, WATER SUPPLY
Date: 1948
Nature: -
Refs: IB 90, 2,16 Oct,27 Nov 1948, 818,854,976

Building: CO. CARLOW, RATHVILLY, WATER SUPPLY
Date: 1949
Nature: Pump & mechanical filters.
Refs: IB 91, 17 Seo 1949, 874

Building: CO. LIMERICK, CASTLECONNELL, WATER SUPPLY
Date: 1949
Nature: Works at waterworks.
Refs: IB 91, 22 Jan 1949, 82

Building: CO. WICKLOW, GLENEALY, WATER SUPPLY
Date: 1953
Nature: -
Refs: IB 95, 9 May 1953, 482

Building: CO. KILKENNY, PAULSTOWN, WATER SUPPLY
Date: 1955
Nature: Water supply scheme for Gowran, Goresbridge & Paulstown.
Refs: IB 97, 12 Mar 1955, 269

Building: CO. KILKENNY, GORESBRIDGE, WATER SUPPLY
Date: 1955
Nature: Water supply scheme for Gowran, Goresbridge & Paulstown.
Refs: IB 97, 12 Mar 1955, 269

Building: CO. KILKENNY, GOWRAN, WATER SUPPLY
Date: 1955
Nature: Water supply scheme for Gowran, Goresbridge & Paulstown.
Refs: IB 97, 12 Mar 1955, 269

Building: CO. WICKLOW, WICKLOW, WATER SUPPLY
Date: 1955-57
Nature: Regional water supply.
Refs: IB 97, 27 Aug 1955, 898; 99, 15,29 Jun 1957, 477,516

Building: CO. CARLOW, BAGENALSTOWN, WATER SUPPLY
Date: 1963
Nature: Extension.
Refs: IB 80, 20 Aug 1938, 710

Building: CO. CARLOW, BAGENALSTOWN, SEWERAGE
Date: 1963
Nature: -
Refs: IB 80, 20 Aug 1938, 710

Building: CO. CARLOW, TULLOW, WATER SUPPLY
Date: 1963
Nature: Extension.
Refs: IB 105, 22 Jun 1963, 495

Building: CO. CARLOW, TULLOW, SEWERAGE
Date: 1963
Nature: Extension.
Refs: IB 105, 22 Jun 1963, 495

Building: CO. CARLOW, HACKETSTOWN, WATER SUPPLY
Date: 1964
Nature: Improvement scheme.
Refs: IB 106, 19 Dec 1964, 975

Author Title Date Details
Purcell, Pierce Francis 'Compression tests on tubular struts' 1917 TICEI 43 (1916-1917), 168-187.
Purcell, Pierce Francis [Presidential address to ICEI] 1923 Address delivered 6 Nov 1922, published in TICEI 49 (1922-23), 1-42, and IB 64, 16 Dec 1922, 849
Purcell, Pierce Francis 'Mechanical filtration plant at Carlow Waterworks' 1929 TICEI 55 (19280-29), 123-133
Purcell, Pierce Francis 'Construction of plantt for the purifcation by mechanical filtration of domestic water supplies' 1940 IB 82, 17 Aug 1940, 521.