DICKINSON, JAMES AUSTEN
- Born: 1826 Died: 1911
County surveyor for Cos. Westmeath, 1861-1869, and Tyrone (Southern Division), 1870-1895 . James Dickinson, a son of Charles Dickinson (1792-1842), chaplain of the Female Orphan House, Dublin, and later Bishop of Meath, by his wife Elizabeth, daughter of Abraham Russell of Limerick,(1) was born in 1826(2) and admitted to Trinity College, Dublin, on 1 July 1844, when he was eighteen. He was awarded the Diploma in Civil Engineering in 1848(3), a BA in 1849 and became an MA in 1872.(4) He was a pupil of GEORGE WILLOUGHBY HEMANS and 'had charge of extensive works' under Hemans and Sir JOHN MACNEILL. (5)
Dickinson, who passed the couunty surveyorship qualifying examination in December 1851, was appointed to the Westmeath surveyorship in January 1861(6) and remained in this position until the end of 1869, when he resigned, on account of threats to his safety.(7) In January 1870 he was appointed surveyor of the southern division of Co. Tyrone. He held this position until July 1895;(8) he had been suffering from poor health for some months, and a deputy had been carrying out his duties. On his resignation he was presented with a 'massive silver inkstand', a purse of sovereigns and an address, which extolled his performance as a public official and his good works, which included the encouragement of temperance among the young.(9)
Dickinson died at the age of eighty-five on 19 July 1911 at Belgrave Square North, Monkstown, Co. Dublin, and was buried at Mount Jerome Cemetery with his wife Letitia (d. 1909), daughter of the Rev. William Lodge of Killybegs, whom he had married on 31 May 1860.(10) He had no children but was the uncle of PAGE LAWRENCE DICKINSON.
ICEI:(11) elected associate, 1855; elected member, 1856.
RSAI: member, 10 January 1893.(12)
Addresses: Ballybay, Co. Monaghan, 1855;(13) College View, Dungannon, 1893;(14) 5 Belgrave Square North, Monkstown, at time of death.
All information in this entry not otherwise referenced is from Brendan O'Donoghue, The Irish County Surveyors 1834-1944 (Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2007), 148-9, which gives the fullest account of Dickinson's career.
(1) Biography of Charles Dickinson in Oxford DNB.
(2) Dickinson had a twin brother, John Abraham Dickinson, who was born on 29 June 1826, entered holy orders, died on 22 March 1907 and was buried in the family grave at Mount Jerome Cemetery.
(3) R.C. Cox, compiler, Trinity College School of Engineering: 'Graduates' in Engineering 1843-1992 (1993), unpaginated.
(4) Alumni Dublinenses.
(5) ICEI admissions applications, I, 11.
(6) DB 3, 1 Feb 1861, 418.
(7) IB 11, 1 Dec 1869, 281.
(8) Tyrone Constitution, 31 May, 8 Jul 1895 (B.O'D.).
(9) Tyrone Constitution, 29 Nov 1895 (B.O'D.).
(11) See note 5, above.
(12) JRSAI 23 (1893), 116.
(13) See note 5, above.
(14) See note 7, above.