Dictionary of Irish Architects 1720 - 1940

County surveyor for Cos. Clare and Offaly. John Hill was born on 18 December 1812 in Co. Meath. He was apprenticed to the engineer WILLIAM ARMSTRONG  WILLIAM ARMSTRONG of Dublin before joining the staff of Sir JOHN MACNEILL JOHN MACNEILL , under whom he was employed on railway surveys before spending a year as resident engineer of the Dundalk Western Railway. He set up in practice on his own in about 1838, sometimes working in partnership with JAMES THOMSON [2]  JAMES THOMSON [2] of Glasgow, which provided him with opportunities for gaining engineering experience in Scotland on such things as surveying, drainage, building and road making.

In 1842 Hill passed the examination for county surveyors and the following year was appointed superintendent of roads and bridges under the Commissioners of Public Works in Ireland. During the next two years he constructed nearly three hundred miles of roads in Cos. Clare, Galway and Limerick. In 1845 he was appointed county surveyor for Co. Clare, based in Ennis, remaining for ten years. From 1848 or earlier until 1851 he was also city surveyor for Limerick.(1) In 1855 he was transferred to Co. Offaly, based in Tullamore. During his twelve years in Co. Offaly, his salary was raised by £100 per annum.(2) In 1867 he was appointed county surveyor of Co. Clare for a second time. In the autumn of 1891 his health began to fail after his return from a strenuous tour of inspection of relief works in the north-west of Ireland. He resigned early in 1893(3) and died at his home in Ennis on 24 January 1894; his widow, Maria, died on 6 June 1896 and was buried with him in Drumcliffe Cemetery, Ennis.(4) He was succeeded in the surveyorship by PETER DOBBIN.  PETER DOBBIN.

Hill was involved in various railway projects(5) during his years in Co. Clare and Co. Offaly. He was consulting engineer to the Limerick & Ennis railway in 1859 and 1860, engineer to the Midland Counties & Shannon Junction railway from 1864 until 1871 and to the Ennis & West Clare railway in 1874 and 1875. He was also chairman of the Ennis Town Commission and vice-chairman of Clare Castle Harbour Board. He was a high-ranking and enthusiastic Freemason.

ICEI: elected member, 1845;(6) council member, 1855-1863.(7)
Inst.CE: elected member, 24 May 1870.
RIA: elected member, 11 Feb 1867.(8)
RSAI: elected member, 1 September 1858, having been proposed by W. Burgess;(9) elected fellow, 1871;(10) elected local secretary for Co. Clare, 1 Oct 1884.(11)



All information in this entry not otherwise accounted for is from the obituary of Hill in Min.Proc.Inst.CE 116 (1893-94), 361-2.

(1) Jones transcripts from Thom's directories.
(2) DB cutting in Jones file, reference not given.
(3) Clare Journal, 24 Feb 1893 (B.O'D.).
(4) Inscription on tombstone in Drumcliffe cemetery (B.O'D.).
(5) Information from Jones transcripts from Thom's directories; John Hill may be the 'Mr Hill, CE' who was engaged in surveying the proposed Clara & Portumna Railway in 1860, see DB 2, 1 Nov 1860, 363.
(6) List of members of ICEI in IB 12, 1 Aug 1870, 197.
(7) Jones transcripts from Thom's Directories.
(8) Jones, source not given.
(9) JRSAI 5 (1858-1859), 149.
(10) JRSAI 19 (1889), list of members.
(11) JRSAI 16 (1883-84), 441.

3 work entries listed in chronological order for HILL, JOHN [2]

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Date: 1864
Nature: For Commissioners of Public Works. Design modified by S.U. Roberts.
Refs: Min.Proc.Inst.CE 59 (1879-80), 265-8

Date: 1866
Nature: Drainage works on Ballymacashel River, for Commissioners of Public Works. Contractor: Brennan & Costello.
Refs: DB 8, 1 Aug,15 Sep 1866, ?;229; Min.Proc.Inst.CE 59 (1879-80), 268-73(illus.)

Date: 1875
Nature: To carry main road from Ennistymon over River Aille.
Refs: R.C. Cox & M.H. Gould, Civil Engineering Heritage: Ireland (1998), 250(illus.)

Author Title Date Details
Hill, John 'On the maintenance of macadamised roads' 1854 TICEI 4 (1849-54), Pt. 1, 12-23. (Paper read to ICEI, 9 Apr 1850.)
Hill, John 'Account of two Drainages in Ireland' 1880 Min.Proc.Inst.CE 59 (1879-80), 265.