Dictionary of Irish Architects 1720 - 1940

Builder, of Derry. Alexander McElwee was born in 1819, the elder son of ALEXANDER MCELWEE[1] ALEXANDER MCELWEE[1] , architect, of Derry, by his wife Nancy Shaw. By 1846 he and his younger brother WILLIAM MCELWEE[1]  WILLIAM MCELWEE[1] were in partnership as builders, with premises in Bishop Street 'and four doors from the bridge, Foyle st'.(1) He had two wives: the first was Anne Colhoun, whom he married on 8 November 1841 and by whom he was the father of WILLIAM MCELWEE[2] WILLIAM MCELWEE[2] ; the second was Elizabeth Ann Russell. He was an active member of Derry Corporation and held the position of Superintendent of Markets for many years. He was in poor health for some time before his death, which took place on 11 April 1897 at his house in Sydney Terrace, Great James Street, Derry. He was buried in the cemetery at Derry three days later. A long obituary in The Londonderry Sentinel of 13 April 1897, recalled his building activities in the city: 'To anyone looking backward and summing up the ecclesiastic, commercial, and social increase of the town during the last fifty years, it becomes almost marvellous to find how, with building after building, and in street after street, the name of Alexander McElwee finds some connection…In fact, it would, we believe, be difficult, nay, almost impossible to find a single street in Derry of any standing, age, or importance with which at some time or other Mr McElwee was not associated.'

Addresses: Work: Strand Road, Derry, <=1868->=1872.(2)
Home: 2 Sydney Terrace, Great James Street, Derry, at time of death.


All information in this entry not otherwise accounted for was supplied by James McElwee, 29 Tenbury Road, Kings Heath, Birmingham, B14 6AD, great-grandson of Alexander McElwee[2].

(1) Slater's National Commercial Directory (1846), 485 (information from James McElwee, as above).
(2) From The Derry Almanac.

2 work entries listed in chronological order for MCELWEE, ALEXANDER [2]*

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Date: 1862-63
Nature: Shirtmaking factory, said to have been designed as well as built by AMcE. Cost: £10,000. Also workers' dwellings costing £2,000.
Refs: DB 5, 15 Nov 1862, W.S. Ferguson, A.J. Rowan, J.J. Tracey, Historic Buildings…in and near the City of Derry (UAHS, 1970), 46 (no. 120)

Date: 1878
Nature: New hall formally opened by Bishop of Raphoe, 26 Aug 1878, Contractor: Wallace Bros.
Refs: Irish Ecclesiastical Gazette 20, no. 235, 1 Oct 1878, 285.