Dictionary of Irish Architects 1720 - 1940

Engineer, of Dublin. Charles Cotton was born in Dublin on 19 January 1832, the son of Henry Cotton, Archdeacon of Cashel, and Mary, younger daughter of Richard Laurence, Archbishop of Cashel. He was among the earliest pupils of St Columba's College, which was then situated at Stackallen, Co. Meath.(1) In 1848 he entered Trinity College, Dublin, where he was awarded a BA in 1853 and a diploma in civil engineering the following year. In 1855 he became a pupil of WILLIAM RICHARD LE FANU WILLIAM RICHARD LE FANU , and later his senior assistant. During his years with Le Fanu he acted as resident engineer during the construction of the Bagnalstown & Wexford Railway, the Mallow & Fermoy Railway, and the Roscrea & Nenagh Railway. From 1863, when Le Fanu was appointed a Commissioner of Public Works, Cotton carried on the practice in partnership with BENJAMIN FERGUSON FLEMYNG BENJAMIN FERGUSON FLEMYNG , acting as engineer-in-chief on the Wicklow to Wexford line, the Roscrea & Nenagh line and the Shillelagh branch line.(2) From 1863 to 1867 he was also consulting engineer to the Port of Dublin Corporation.(3) He was appointed county surveyor for Co. Kildare on 19 August 1865 but resigned on 3 October, to be succeeded by THOMAS BRAZILL. THOMAS BRAZILL. (4) In 1878 he was appointed one of three members of a the Municipal Boundaries Commission, chaired by W.A. Exham, which reported in 1881, and in 1879 he became chief engineering inspector of the Local Government Board. He held this post until his retirement in 1899, having been retained for two years after reaching the statutory retiring age of sixty-five. In 1898 he was appointed a member of the Royal Commission on Sewage Disposal and in 1900 chairman of the vice-regal commission to enquire into the health of the city of Dublin.

Cotton died at home at Ryecroft, Bray, Co. Wicklow, on 10 March 1904. He had married to Marion Louisa, eldest daughter of Sir Maltby Crofton, of Longford House, Co. Sligo, in 1878 but had no children. His pupils and assistants included ROBERT DENNY. ROBERT DENNY.

ICEI:(5) elected member, 1861; council member, 1864-1869,1876,1885-1903; hon. secretary, 1867-1872; hon. treasurer, 1865-1873, 1875; vice-president, 1872; president, 1873.
InstCE: elected associate member, 7 May 1861; transferred to class of member, 1864.
Royal Geological Society of Ireland: council member, 1869.(6)
Inst.CE: elected member, 22 March 1864.

Addresses:(7) 8 Pembroke Street Lower, 1861;(8) 11 Pembroke Street Lower, 1865->=1877; 5 Westminster Chambers, London SW, 1877.
Home: Ryecroft, Bray, 1883-1900.



All information in this entry not otherwise accounted for is from the obituaries in TICEI 31 (1905), 289-90, and TICEI 32 (1904-5), 26-28. Another obituary is in Min.Proc.Inst.CE 157 (1903-4, Pt. III), 373.  See also the entry by Stefanie P. Jones in DIB.

(1) IB 1 Aug 1879, 239. St Columba's moved to Rathfarnham in 1849.
(2) According to Jones's notes from Thom's Directories, Cotton & Flemyng were engineers to the Dublin, Wicklow & Wexford Railway, 1864-1875, and to the Cork and Bandon Railway, 1864-1871.
(3) This body became the Commissioners of Irish Lights; according to Thom's Directories Cotton remained consulting engineer to the commissioners in 1868 and 1869.
(4) Leinster Express, 2 Sep, 21 Oct 1865. The circumstances of this appointment are set out by O'Donoghue, loc. cit., above.
(5) Jones transcripts from TICEI lists of officers and members and/or Thom's directories.
(6) Jones transcripts from Thom's directories.
(7) From Thom's & Post Office Directories and TICEI membership lists unless otherwise stated.
(8) ICEI admissions applications, I, 45.

2 work entries listed in chronological order for COTTON, CHARLES PHILIP

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Date: 1865-69
Nature: New cast iron casing for lighthouse. Cast iron by Edmundson, Dublin.
Refs: John S. Sloane, 'A History of the lighthouses of Ireland…VI', IB 22, 15 Oct 1880, 290

Date: 1866
Nature: Designs additional dwelling.
Refs: Tenders invited in General Advertiser, 3 Feb 1866; John S. Sloane, 'A History of the lighthouses of Ireland…I, IB 22, 15 Mar 1880, 86

Author Title Date Details
Cotton, Charles Philip Manual of railway engineering in Ireland 1861;1874 Dublin: E. Ponsonby. 1861. 2nd edition 1874.
Cotton, Charles Philip 'On the reconstruction of Innoshannon Bridge, Cork & Bandon Railway' 1863 TICEI 8 (1863), 1-11.
Cotton, Charles Philip 'Means of transit for minerals' 1870 TICEI 10 (1875), 1-5.
Cotton, Charles Philip 'Discharge of tidal sluices' 1873 TICEI 10 (1875), 88-94.
Cotton, Charles Philip 'Failure of Beacon on Alderman Rocks in Crookhaven Bay' 1874 TICEI 10 (1875), 95-100.
Cotton, Charles Philip 'On the Castle Island & Gortalee Railway' 1875 TICEI 11 (1875), 40-54; IB 17, 15 Nov 1875.
Cotton, Charles Philip [President's address to ICEI] 1875 TICEI 10 (1875), 101-123. (Address delivered 11 Feb 1874.)
Cotton, Charles Philip 'Notes on concrete, and some experiments with concrete arches' 1876 TICEI 11 (1876), 96; Architect 15, 15 Mar 1876, 203 IB 18, 15 Mar 1876, 81-82. (Paper read at ICEI, 8 Mar 1876)
Cotton, Charles Philip 'On a modification of the prismoidal formula' 1877 TICEI 12 (1877), 26-28.
Cotton, Charles Philip Address by Chas. P. Cotton, President Section II, Engineering and Architecture 1884 London, 1884.
Cotton, Charles Philip 'Loans for sanitary purposes' 1885 TICEI 16 (1885), 236-245. (Published as single work, Dublin, 1886)
Cotton, Charles Philip A Manual of procedure by provisional order under or relating to the Public Health (Ireland) Act 1887 Dublin: William McGee. 1887.
Cotton, Charles Philip Loans manual for the use of local authorities 1890 1890.
Cotton, Charles Philip The Housing of the Working Class Act - 1890…adapted for application to Ireland 1890 Dublin: William McGee, 1890.
Cotton, Charles Philip The Irish Public Health Acts, 1878-1890) 1891 Dublin: William McGee & London: Simpkin, Marshall, Hamilton, Kent, & Co., 1891.
Cotton, Charles Philip 'The Tansa Waterworks, Bombay' 1892 TICEI 22 (1892), 67.