Dictionary of Irish Architects 1720 - 1940

Architect, builder and developer, of Dublin. John Butler's origins have not been traced.  (In a solitary instance in 1847(1) he is named as John De Courcy Butler, but the De Courcy could have been assumed by him as an expression of his increased status.) He may be the person of the same name who was admitted a freeman of Dublin as a member of the Bricklayers' Guild by virtue of service at Michaelmas 1822.(2) He is described as an architect and builder of Paradise Row (alias Wellington Street) in a lease of 1830, which makes it likely that he was the same John Butler who exhibited two designs for a church at the RHA in 1826, from an address at 34 Paradise Row.(1) According to the directories he was living or working at various addresses in the Paradise Row/Mountjoy Street area between 1830 and 1844.

In 1830 Butler and his neighbour ARTHUR WILLIAMSON  ARTHUR WILLIAMSON turned their attention to the development potential of the Rathmines area and leased adjoining pieces of land near the south corner of Rathmines Road and the future Leinster Road. Between 1830 and 1837 Butler and Williamson built six houses each on their plots to form Leinster Terrace. Meanwhile in 1835 they had leased two further plots abutting the eastern boundaries of their existing holdings, on which Butler built Ormond Villa (later Ulster Lodge) and the Williamson Berlin Cottage. Then, in 1838, Butler leased the two adjoining plots to the east of Ormond Villa and Berlin Cottage, on which he built Ulster Terrace and Connaught Terrace. Eventually these developments were renamed Leinster Square and and renumbered consecutively. In 1841 Butler also leased Rookville, a large property adjoining the south side of the future Leinster Square. He lived in the house while he developed the eastern portion of its grounds fronting Rathmines Road as Ormond Terrace circa 1847. Finally, in about 1851, he demolished Rookville and built Prince Arthur Terrace on the western portion of its grounds, laying out a garden between it and Ormond Terrace. In 1847, at about the same time that he was building Ormond Terrace, he became a founder Commissioner of Rathmines Township, serving in this capacity for twenty-eight years. While he was actively engaged in the Rathmines development, he is also said to have been the contractor for Queen's College, Cork, built for the Board of Public Works between 1846 and 1849.

Butler was the defendant in the much-publicized case of Kempston v. Butler, in which he was sued by John Kempston, builder, after No. 82 Grafton St, rebuilt by Kempston in 1856 to designs by WILLIAM CALDBECK WILLIAM CALDBECK , collapsed in January 1859 when the adjoining house, No. 83, was taken down for rebuilding under Butler's direction as builder and/or architect. After three trials, the case was eventually bought before the full Court of Common Pleas, where the verdict was given that builders engaged in taking down houses for re-erection in the City of Dublin were not liable for the support of adjoining premises. On 15 April 1862 at a ceremony in his house in Leinster Square, Butler was presented by members of the Builders' Association and others with a service of plate for his 'independent and manly defence' of his case.(3)

Butler appears to have retired from business in 1871, when his Wellington Place premises were sold and their contents auctioned.(4)   He died on 11 February 1880. He was survived by his wife, Susannah Grace, whom Lavin tentatively identifies as the Susannah Armstrong who married a John Butler in 1831 (a marriage witnessed by Arthur Williamson), and four sons: William Henry, a lawyer, who born circa 1831(5) and was appointed deputy recorder of Liverpool in 1891,(6) FREDERICK AUGUSTUS BUTLER FREDERICK AUGUSTUS BUTLER , Robert Henry, a house agent, and Edward Jones.  Another son, Arthur, was baptised in St Peter's Church of Ireland church, Dublin, on 16 May 1847 and a daughter, Emily Frances, in Rathmines church on 20 December 1853.(7)

Addresses:(8) Work: 34 Paradise Row, 1826; Mountjoy Street, 1830-1831; 8 Paradise Row 1832; 3 Wellington Place, Mountjoy Street, 1833-1837; 25 Upper Dominick Street, 1838-1839; 60 Upper Dominick Street, 1843; Wellington Place, Mountjoy Street, 1845-1871.
Home: 8 Leinster Terrace, Rathmines, 1834; 10 Leinster Terrace, 1835; Ormond Villa (Ulster Lodge), Rathmines, 1840-1843; Rookville, Rathmines, 1843-1847; Rathmines Road, 1848-1850; 1 Prince Arthur Terrace, 1852; Ulster Lodge, 20 Leinster Square, Rathmines, 1853 until death.

See WORKS.



References

All information in this entry not otherwise accounted for is from Anne Lavin's extensively researched study, 'Leinster Square (with Prince Arthur Terrace) Rathmines: an early suburban speculative terraced housing development 1830-1852', MUBC thesis, University College, Dublin, 1995, 33-67.

(1) In an account of the laying of the foundation stone of the church of St Nicholas, Cork, in Cork Constitution, 13 Nov 1847 (information from Roger Herlihy, Cork, May 2011).
(2) 'An alphabetical list of the Freemen of the City of Dublin, 1774-1824', The Irish Ancestor XV (1983), Nos. 1 & 2, 27.
(3) DB 2, 1 Mar,1 Apr 1860, 210-11, 231-2; 4, 15 Feb,15 Apr 1862, 46,102-3.
(4) Freeman's Journal, 19 Apr 1871.
(5) Alumni Dublinenses, Supplement, 18.
(6) Irish Times, 16 Mar 1891.
(7) Irish Genealogy, churchrecords.irishgenealogy.ie (last visited May, 2011).
(8) From Wilson's, Pettigrew & Oulton's, Post Office and Thom's directories.


4 work entries listed in chronological order for BUTLER, JOHN


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Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, LEINSTER SQUARE (RATHMINES)
Date: 1830-1843;1852ca;1877ca
Nature: John Butler developer of same. Leinster Tce. built in collaboration with A.Williamson, who also built Berlin Cottage, c.1837, when JB built Ormond Villa. Ulster Tce & Connaught Pl. built 1842-43.. No 7 added c.1852. No. 1 added c.1877.
Refs: Anne Lavin, 'Leinster Square (with Prince Arthur Terrace) Rathmines: an early suburban speculative terraced housing development 1830-1852', MUBC thesis, University College, Dublin, 1995, 33-67

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, RATHMINES ROAD LOWER, ORMOND TERRACE
Date: 1847
Nature: Developed and presumably designed by JB. (On W side of Rathmines Road Lower between Leinster Road and Swanville Place)
Refs: Anne Lavin, 'Leinster Square (with Prince Arthur Terrace) Rathmines: an early suburban speculative terraced housing development 1830-1852', MUBC thesis, University College, Dublin, 1995, 33-67.

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, PRINCE ARTHUR TERRACE (RATHMINES)
Date: 1851-53;1856-59
Nature: Developed and presumably designed by JB. No. 7 added, 1856-59
Refs: Anne Lavin, 'Leinster Square (with Prince Arthur Terrace) Rathmines: an early suburban speculative terraced housing development 1830-1852', MUBC thesis, University College, Dublin, 1995, 33-67.

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUNDRUM, CHRIST CHURCH (CI, TANEY PARISH)
Date: 1861-64
Nature: Enlargement consisting of provision of 300 extra sittings 'under the supervision of Mr Butler, architect'.  Contractor for extra works, 1864: J. Butler & Son, Dublin.  Enlargement described as the addition of a large and commodious aisle opening into wall opposite pulpit in Irish Ecclesisastical Gazette, 1880.
Refs: Drawing(s) in RCB Library, portfolio 15; IAA, PKS B02/37, A03 (Feb 1864, p.60v); DB 3, 15 Mar 1861, 460; Irish Times, 14 Jan 1862;  Irish Ecclesiastical Gazette 22.no. 25. 19 Jun 1880, 476.