Dictionary of Irish Architects 1720 - 1940

Engineer. Vernon Dunbavin Harty was born on 17 August 1905 and educated at Cork Grammar School, the Manor School, Fermoy and Cranleigh School, Surrey. He entered Trinity College, Dublin in 1924, graduating BA and BAI in 1927. He then spent a short time in the engineer's office of the London North Eastern railway at York before working on the Shannon power scheme from 1928 to 1930. From 1930 to 1931 he was employed by Sir Robert McAlpine in factory construction and from 1931 until 1932 by Sir Cyril Kirkpatrick & Partners on the power house of the Ford Motors Company at Dagenham, Essex. Returning to Ireland, he entered the Civil Works Department of the Electricity Supply Board as a member of the hydrometric survey team on 30 March 1932. He remained in the Board's employment - apart from a short break during the Second World War - for the rest of his career, working at Ardnacrusha on the Shannon and the Pigeon House Power Station, Dublin, before becoming resident engineer at the Poulaphuca hydro-electric works, where he remained from 1938 until 1941. From 1941 to 1943, in response to to the fuel supply crisis, he was temporarily seconded to the Department of Industry and Commerce to work for the Slieve Ardagh Coalfield Company.

In 1946 Harty began a long association with the Erne Hydro-Electric Development Scheme, which lasted until its completion in 1956, and he was resident engineer for the construction of the hydro-electric power stations at Cathaleen's Falls and Cliff from April 1946 until September 1950, when he returned to Dublin. Between 1950 and 1959 he was also engaged in the construction of power stations at Marina in Cork and Ringsend, Dublin, and in the hydro-electric development of the Rivers Lee and Clady. In December 1960 he succeeded Joseph MacDonald as the ESB's Chief Engineer of Civil Works, and as such was responsible for the new steam power stations at Great Island, Tarbert and Poolbeg.

Harty retired in 1970. After his retirement he acted as a consultant to the Central Bank for many years and was appointed arbitrator in many engineering contract disputes. He also served on the Board of the Adelaide Hospital and was active in the Friends of St Patrick's Cathedral. He died in 1994, survived by his wife, Violet (née Kennelly), a son and a daughter. His obituarist in the Engineers' Journal describes him as a man who was 'unfailingly even-tempered with a ready sense of humour and gentle wit' and a 'very shrewd observer of people and their problems' who led by example rather than by the exercise of authority.

ICEI: elected associate member, 1934; raised to member, 1948. Inst.CE: elected associate member, 1 Dec 1936.

Addresses: Work: Ford Power House, Dagenham, Essex, 1932; Staff Quarters, Poulaphuca, Ballymore Eustace, Co. Kildare, 1938-1940; 81 Merrion Square, Dublin, 1942.
Home: 50 Wellesley Road, Ilford, Essex, 1932; Mweenish, Churchtown, Dundrum, Co. Dublin, 1936-37; 141 Fortfield Road, Terenure, Dublin, 1941; Sheil Lodge, Rossknowlagh, Co. Donegal, 1946; Derrybeg, Ballyshannon, Co. Donegal, 1946-49; 71 South Hill, Milltown Rd, Dartry, Dublin, 1950; 7 Sherborne, 96-97 Rathgar Road, Dublin, 1986.



All information in this entry is from the archives of the Institution of Civil Engineers, London, kindly transmitted by Mrs Carol Morgan, from the obituary of Harty in Engineers' Journal 47, Jun 1994, 35, and from ICEI membership lists.

Author Title Date Details
Harty, Vernon Dunbavin 'The new Cooling Water System at Pigeon House Power Station, Dublin' 1937 TICEI 63 (1936-37), 19-42. (Paper read 2 Nov 1936.)
Harty, Vernon Dunbavin 'Liffey Power Development. I - Concreting methods' 1941 TICEI 67 (1940-41), 23-43. (Paper read 4 Nov 1940.)
Harty, Vernon Dunbavin 'Site investigations for reservoirs and dames'' 1946 TICEI 72 (1945-46), 161-183.