Dictionary of Irish Architects 1720 - 1940

Railway engineer. Robert Crawford, third son of Samuel Crawford, of Ballyshannon, Co. Donegal, and his wife Margaret (née Duncan) was born in Ballyshannon on 2 June 1831 and educated at Foyle College, Derry, and Trinity College, Dublin, where he obtained the Diploma in CivIl Engineering in 1851 and the BA degree in 1852. Immediately after graduating he went abroad, and for the next thirty years or so worked on railway projects in Canada, England, Germany, the Middle East and South America. He recorded some of his experiences in three books: Across the Pampas and the Andes, Reminiscences of Foreign Travel and South Amercan Sketches. In 1882 he was appointed Professor of Civil Engineering at Trinity College, Dublin, a post which he resigned after five years owing to the failure of his voice. After another spell abroad, when he was engaged in the construction of a railway in Uruguay, he retired to Co. Donegal in 1892. He was High Sheriff of Co. Donegal in 1894, a Justice of the Peace and Deputy Lieutenant. In 1895 he took part in the Parliamentary surveys for the projected Donegal-Ballyshannon Railway.

Robert Crawford died in Ballyshannon on 31 May 1914. He was married twice: first, on 9 December 1856, to Emily Sarah (d. 1870), daughter of James Crawford, MD, of Montreal, by whom he had six sons and two daughters; second, on 1 June 1876, to Anna, daughter of Thomas Troubridge Stubbs, of Ballyshannon, by whom he had three sons.

ICEI: elected member, 1860; council member, 1886.(1)
Inst.CE: elected associate, 9 April 1861;(2) transferred to member, 11 November 1879.(3)
RIA: member.

Address: Stonewold, Ballyshannon, 1909.


All information in this entry not otherwise accounted for is from the biography of Crawford in R.M. Young, Belfast and the Province of Ulster in the 20th Century (1909), 59, which is illustrated with a portrait photograph, from Burke's Landed Gentry of Ireland(1904), 116, and from the obituary in TICEI 41 (1915), 213-5.

(1) Margaret Duncan was a first cousin of William Duncan, q.v. (information from Alfonso P. Duncan, Aug 2011).
(2) TICEI 16 (1886), list of officers.
(3) Min.Proc.Inst.CE 20 (1860-61), 375.
(4) Min.Proc.Inst.CE 59 (1879-80, Pt. I), 1.