Dictionary of Irish Architects 1720 - 1940

Civil engineer, of Dublin. Dillon, a son of Charles Dillon (d. 1843), solicitor, of Upper Buckingham Street, Dublin, and a younger brother of the landscape painter William Dillon, ARHA,(1) was born in 1833 or 1838,(2) educated privately and served a five-year pupilage. He started his engineering career as assistant engineer on various railway works and is possibly the James C. Dillon who in 1856 exhibited a design for a railway terminus at the Royal Hibernian Academy.(3) According to his obituary in Minutes of the Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers he engaged in consulting practice in 1859. In 1861 he is named as engineer-in-chief to the proposed Dundalk and Carrickmacross Junction Railway(4) and in 1862, with GEORGE WILLOUGHBY HEMANS GEORGE WILLOUGHBY HEMANS , to the proposed Dublin and Baltinglass Junction Railway.(5) In 1866 he succeeded Sir JOHN BENJAMIN MACNEILL  JOHN BENJAMIN MACNEILL as engineer to the Dublin & Meath Railway,(6) and later he was also involved in the construction of the Mitchelstown & Fermoy line.(7) During the 1870s he seems to have been primarily occupied with river and drainage work, including the Upper Inny, Stoneyford, Garristown and Baltracey River drainages, and the Kildare and Rathangan sub-divisions of the Barrow River drainage; in 1877 the Irish Builder noted that 'Mr Dillon…has designed, and is now carrying out, some of the largest river works in Ireland'.(8) During the 1880s Dillon was asked by the Government to report on several proposals for light railways in Ireland and was also appointed Government arbitrator in the matter of the compulsory purchase of land for railway and other large engineering works. He lectured in Britain, Canada and the United States, and in 1885 was awarded the Gold Medal at the London International Inventions Exhibition for his patent hydrographic surveying and sounding apparatus. In 1905 he sat on the Irish Arterial Drainage Commission. He died at his home in Glenageary on 12 May 1916 and was buried at Deansgrange cemetery.(9)

AAI: attends inaugural meeting, 3 October 1872.(10)
Inst.CE: elected member, 6 April 1880.(11)
ICEI: elected member, 1863; council member,1867-8,1885-8,1889-91,1898-1916; vice-president 1894-96; president, 1896-1898.(12)

Addresses:(13) Work: 13 Ormond Quay Lower, 1868-69; 17 Kildare Street, 1874-1883; 36 Dawson Street 1883-1913.
Home: 28 Buckingham Street Upper 1862-65; 81 Waterloo Road, 1874-75; Stratford House, Glenageary, 1883 until death.



All information in this entry not otherwise accounted for is from the obituary of Dillon in TICEI 42 (1916), 202-3. A shorter obituary is in Min Proc ICE 202 (1915-16), Pt. 2, 439, according to which Dillon was born in 1833; various errors of transcription of place names in this obituary suggest that the ICEI date may be more reliable.

(1) Strickland I, 279.
(2) See note above.
(3) No. 380; a James Dillon was admitted to the Royal Dublin Society's School of Architectural Drawing on 4 Nov 1847.
(4) DB 3, 1 Nov 1861, 676.
(5) DB 4, 1 Oct 1862, 254; 5, 15 Aug,1 Nov 1863, 140,189.
(6) Thom's Directory 1866,1867.
(7) Min Proc ICE 202 (1915-16), Pt. 2, 439.
(8) IB 19, 15 Jul 1877, 212.
(9) Information from O'Donoghue.
(10) IB 14, 15 Oct 1872, 280.
(11) See note 6, above.
(12) Thom's Directory and TICEI lists of officers.
(13) Thom's and Post Office Directories, TICEI membership lists.

2 work entries listed in chronological order for DILLON, JAMES C.

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Date: 1883-84
Nature: Proposed new farmhouse.
Refs: Signed, dated plans & specifications in collection of Lord Rathdonnell, Lisnavagh, Co. Carlow.

Date: 1887
Nature: New wing &c. For Thomas Tighe Macredy. Estimated cost £766.
Refs: IAA, PKS 0660, B13/36, A07 (Jul 1887, 308)

Author Title Date Details
Dillon, James 'On the defects of the Irish railway system' 1871 IB 13, 15 Apr 1871, 95-7. (Paper read to Royal Dublin Society, 3 Apr 1871.)
Dillon, James 'On a patent hydrographic surveying and sounding apparatus' 1885 TICEI 16 (1884-5), 71-88.
Dillon, James 'On Dillon's automatic sluices and weirs for the regulation of inland waters' 1888 TICEI 19 (1887-8), 109-121.
Dillon, James 'On some of the most modern methods of dealing with the sewage of cities and towns' 1894 TICEI 23 (1893-4), 28-64.
Dillon, James [President's address to ICEI.] 1897 TICEI 26 (1896-7), 40-79. (Delivered 2 Dec 1896.)
Dillon, James 'Some of the modern forms of sounding machines used by engineers, hydrographers and mariners' 1898 TICEI 27 (1897-8), 1-19.
Dillon, James 'On the use of photography for recording continuous soundings' 1905 TICEI 32 (1904-5), 132-150.