Dictionary of Irish Architects 1720 - 1940

Architect and civil engineer, of Belfast. Robert Calwell, son of Robert and Jane Calwell, of Annadale, Belfast, was born in Belfast in 1854 and educated at the Royal Academical Institution, and Queen's University, Belfast. He graduated BE from the Queen's University of Ireland in 1874 and continued his studies in Paris. He worked for a time with JOHN C. BOWER JOHN C. BOWER , after Bower had become Treasury Inspector for the Board of Works in Dublin. He established himself in practice as a civil engineer in Belfast in about 1883. He was civil engineer to the Belfast Central Railway before its purchase by the Great Northern Railway in 1885, adviser to the Belfast Street Tramways Co. in connection with the purchase of the company by Belfast Corporation in 1905, and consultant to Belfast Water Commissioners. He often acted as an expert witness in arbitration cases. He was chairman of the board of architects appointed in connection with the Municipal Housing Enterprise. According to his own account of his career in Belfast and the Province of Ulster, he acted as Belfast City Surveyor during the long illness of JOSIAH CORBETT BRETLAND  JOSIAH CORBETT BRETLAND in 1902-3; however, JAMES MUNCE JAMES MUNCE , who was assistant city surveyor at the time, also claimed to have performed this function. Relations between Calwell and Munce may have been strained; in 1912 Calwell brought an action for slander against Munce. Munce's apology appeared in the Belfast Newsletter on 23 January 1912 and was reprinted in the Irish Builder on 3 February.(1)

Calwell died suddenly at the beginning of 1927, leaving a widow, Jane Forbes Calwell, whom he had married, according to the 1911 census, circa 1901.   The couple had no children.  Calwell's outside interests included Conservative politics - he was honorary secretary of the Belfast Conservative Association for twenty years - and the breeding of pedigree Galloway cattle. His recreations were shooting and fishing.   He was a subscriber to George Lister Sutcliffe,ed., The Principles and Practice of Modern House-Construction (London, 1898).(2)

ICEI: elected member, 2 March 1904.(3)
RSUA: elected member, 29 October 1915;(4) council member, 1918,1927.(5)

Address: Work: 21 Arthur Street, Belfast, <=1898(6)-1903; 16 Donegall Sq, Belfast, <=1906 until death.(7)
Home: Carninard, Annadale, Belfast, 1909.

See WORKS.



References

All information in this entry not otherwise accounted for is ICEI membership applications, III, 206, from the biography of Calwell in R.M. Young, Belfast and the Province of Ulster in the 20th Century (1909), 595, which is illustrated with a portrait photograph, and from the obituary in IB 69, 5 Feb 1927, 92.

(1) IB 54, 3 Feb 1912, 86.
(2) MS list of subscribers from Belfast and other towns in the northern counties (photocopy in IAA, Acc. 2009/066).
(3) TICEI 31 (1905), ?.
(4) Building News 109, 10 Nov 1915, 545.
(5) Building News 114, 12 Jun 1918, 430; Architect & Building News 117, 7 Jan 1927, 32.
(6) See note 2, above.
(7) IB 54, 3 Feb 1912, 86; TICEI membership lists.


20 work entries listed in chronological order for CALWELL, ROBERT INKERMAN


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Building: CO. ANTRIM, BELFAST, BOTANIC AVENUE, ULSTER CONVENTION BUILDING
Date: 1892
Nature: Temporary structure to seat 20,000 on ground to rere of General Assembly's College.
Refs: IB 34, 15 May 1892, 117;  Irish Times, 16 May 1892;  R.M. Young, Belfast and the Province of Ulster in the 20th Century (1909), 597

Building: CO. ANTRIM, BELFAST, ?, ART & INDUSTRIAL EXHIBITION BUILDING
Date: 1895
Nature: -
Refs: R.M. Young, Belfast and the Province of Ulster in the 20th Century (1909), 597

Building: CO. ANTRIM, BELFAST, STEWART ST & STANFIELD STREET, CATTLE MARKET
Date: 1897
Nature: Builder: McLoughlin & Harvey
Refs: B 72, 17 Apr 1897, 363

Building: CO. ANTRIM, BELFAST, QUEEN STREET, NO. 036 (JOHN DICKINSON & CO.)
Date: 1899
Nature: Red brick warehouse.
Refs: PRONI, W.H. Stephens & Sons papers, D1898/1/31; IB 41, 1 Oct 1899, 140; 42, 15 Jan 1900, 246; Marcus Patton, Central Belfast: an historical Gazetteer (UAHS, 1993), 196(illus.), 273

Building: CO. ANTRIM, BELFAST, CHURCH ROAD (NEWTOWNBREDA), CHURCH (CI, KNOCKBREDA PARISH)
Date: 1910
Nature: Vestry
Refs: Paul Larmour, Belfast: an illustrated architectural guide (1987), 105

Building: CO. ANTRIM, BELFAST, WOODSTOCK ROAD, UNIONIST HALL
Date: 1913
Nature: Opened by Sir Edward Carson in May 1913
Refs: Building News 104, 23 May 1913, 733

Building: CO. ANTRIM, BELFAST, BOTANIC AVENUE, UVF HOSPITAL
Date: 1915
Nature: Addition
Refs: IB 57, 3 Jul,9 Oct 1915, 306,445

Building: CO. ANTRIM, BELFAST, STRANDTOWN, CRAIGAVON
Date: 1917
Nature: Conversion for shell-shocked soldiers
Refs: IB 59, 4 Aug 1917, 396

Building: CO. ANTRIM, BELFAST, WARING STREET, SOLDIERS' & SAILORS' SERVICE CLUB
Date: 1917
Nature: -
Refs: IB 59, 17 Mar 1917, 135

Building: CO. ANTRIM, BELFAST, CLIFTONVILLE ROAD, NO. 026-30 (HOME FOR THE BLIND)
Date: 1923
Nature: Public hall and additions
Refs: IB 65, 8 Sep 1923, 692

Building: CO. ANTRIM, BELFAST, DIVIS STREET, STORE
Date: 1923
Nature: For Mssrs Wordie & Co.
Refs: IB 65, 15 Dec 1923, 972

Building: CO. ANTRIM, BELFAST, ?, HOUSING
Date: 1923
Nature: On 5 sites, for Belfast Corporation
Refs: IB 65, 10 Feb 1923, 102

Building: CO. ANTRIM, BELFAST, NORTH THOMAS STREET, SHOP & CLUB ROOM
Date: 1923
Nature: For Ulster Labour Unionist Assn.
Refs: IB 65, 21 Apr 1923, 298

Building: CO. ANTRIM, BELFAST, YORK STREET, SHOP & CLUB ROOM
Date: 1923
Nature: For Ulster Labour Unionist Assn.
Refs: IB 65, 21 Apr 1923, 298

Building: CO. ANTRIM, BELFAST, CHARLOTTE STREET, WORKSHOP & STORES
Date: 1923-4
Nature: For William Coates & Sons
Refs: IB 65, 14 Jul 1923, 544; 66, 12 Jan 1924, 25

Building: CO. ANTRIM, BELFAST, ORMEAU ROAD, ORANGE HALL
Date: 1924
Nature: Alterations & additions
Refs: IB 66, 28 Jun 1924, 577

Building: CO. ANTRIM, BELFAST, DUNRAVEN AVENUE, HOUSES
Date: 1925
Nature: -
Refs: IB 67, 11 Jul,31 Oct 1925, 570,893

Building: CO. ANTRIM, BELFAST, GLENGALL STREET, ULSTER UNIONIST HEADQUARTERS
Date: 1926
Nature: Conversion of existing premises into Ulster Unionist headquarters, opened 29 Nov 1926.
Refs: IB 68, 17 Apr,7 Aug,11 Dec 1926, 310,619,921

Building: CO. ANTRIM, BELFAST, HENRY STREET, GARAGE AND WORKSHOP
Date: 1926
Nature: For Mssr. White, Tomkins & Courage. Plans approved by City Surveyor.
Refs: IB 68, 7 Aug 1926, 619

Building: CO. ANTRIM, BELFAST, SANDOWN ROAD, HOUSE
Date: 1926
Nature: New villa, for W.J. McCracken. Plans approved by City Surveyor.
Refs: IB 68, 17 Apr 1926, 310