Dictionary of Irish Architects 1720 - 1940

Architect, of Dublin and Ballarat, Australia. Charles Davenport Cuthbert, son of William Hamilton Cuthbert, MD, of 9 George's Place, Dublin, and his wife, Mary (née Magennis), was born in Dublin on 10 January 1825 and christened in St George's church on 25 January.(1) He  is said to have worked for the Ballast Office(2) but seems to have devoted much of his energy to preparing designs for architectural competitions. He was practising as an architect in Dublin from at least 1846. At the Royal Hibernian Academy in that year he exhibited a competition design for a hospital at Birkenhead,(3) in 1848 a model of another competition design for a mechanics' institution at Dalston, Middlesex,(4) and in 1849 another architectural model.(5) In 1847 he was an entrant in the London Army and Navy Club competition,(6) and he is probably the 'D. Cuthbert' who exhibited a design for proposed improvements to Carlisle Bridge at the Royal Dublin Society's Exhibition of Manufactures in 1850.(7)

In 1857 Cuthbert emigrated with his wife and three children to Australia, where he was employed by the Government on the works at the gaol in Ballarat, Victoria.(8) In 1860 his plans and model for the cemetery at Ballarat, submitted in competition under the motto 'Spes', were awarded second prize by the cemetery trustees,(9) and later in the same year he was declared the winner of the competition for designing the town hall and police court.(10) The police court (1861-2) was the only part of his scheme to be executed; after it had been decided that the completion of the town hall portion would prove too costly, a second competition for the town hall was held in 1868 and won by another local architect, G.B. Caselli.(11) Other buildings designed by Cuthbert in Ballarat include Dunn's Warehouse (1861), Craig's Royal Hotel (1862), the Ballarat Hospital (1862 and new wing, 1866), the nave of St Andrew's Presbyterian Church (1862) and St Peter's Church of England (1864).(12)    In 1866 he was appointed to the committee in charge of Ballarat's contribution to the Melbourne Intercolonial Exhibition of 1867, which consisted of a display of photographs of the development of towns in Victoria.(13) He was a councillor of Ballarat East and West between 1866 and 1870.(14)   

In 1871 he moved to Suva, Fiji, where he was to undertake an 'arduous enterprise'.(15)   He remained in Suva until his death on 4 April 1890 and is buried there.  He was married twice: first in 1852 to Mary Morgan (née Jones) who died in 1859; second in 1866 to Sarah (née Cunningham).  He had a son of the same name, born in 1867, who was also an architect.(16)

RIAI: proposed as member, 22 Jan 1853; elected 26 Feb 1863.(17)

Addresses:(18) 9 George's Place, 1847; 9 George's Place North. and 43 Upper Gloucester Street, 1853; also 5 North Frederick Street, 1853;(19) 9 George's Place North, and 3 Normanton Terrace, Sandymount, 1857.


All information not otherwise accounted for is from the researches of Di Campbell, published in www.genforu,.genealogy.com  (last visited Mar 2011).

(1) www.irishgenealogy.ie (last visited Mar 2011).
(2) DB 2, 1 May 1860, 260.
(3) No. 457.
(4) No. 324; this may be the same as the 'Model of a design for a Mechanics' Institute, which he exhibited at the Dublin Industrial Exhibition of 1853 (no. 547).
(5) No. 414.
(6) R.H. Harper, Victorian Architectural Competitions (1983), 87.
(7) B 8, 17 Aug 1850, 392.
(8) Mary Sandow, The Town Hall, Ballarat: 100 Years (1970),12.
(9) DB 2, 1 Jan 1860, 174.
(10) DB 2, 1 May,1 Nov 1860, 260,359.
(11) Sandow, op. cit., 13-18.
(12) Ballarat: a guide to buildings and areas 1851-1940, 102; see also Paul Fox. 'A colonial city of ideas', Victorian Historical Journal 58, Nos. 3 & 4, Sep/Dec 1987, 14-31. (13 ) Fox, op. cit., 19-20.
(14) Information from Katrine A. Kelly, Central Library, Ballarat, in letter of 21 Oct 1994.
(15) Letter from the mayor of Ballarat to C.D. Cuthbert, 16 Jan 1871, quoted by Di Campbell, as above.
(16) Information from David Deasey, Mar 2011.
(17) According to Jones's transcripts from RIAI general meeting minutes 18 Dec 1852, 109, council meeting minutes 3 Jan 1853, 109, general meeting minutes 22 Jan 1853, 113, and special general meeting minutes 26 Feb 1853, 114, Cuthbert's name appears variously as C.D. Cuthbert, C.E. Cuthbert, Charles Cuthbert, W.G. Cuthbert and simply Mr Cuthbert; these references are possibly to more than one person.
(18) From Thom's Directory for 1847, and Post Office Dublin Directory for 1853 and 1857, unless otherwise stated.
(19) Official Catalogue of the Great Industrial Exhibition 1853, 58.