MCELWEE, WILLIAM 
- Born: 1842 Died: 1913
Architect, of Derry and Coleraine, Co. Derry. William McElwee, a son of ALEXANDER MCELWEE , was born 20 May 1842, Bishop Street, Derry. He was educated at McQuilken's Classical Academy on the Mall Wall, Derry, where he was said to have been a brilliant student. He may then have entered his father's business but by 1868, according to The Derry Almanac for that year, he had set up his own practice as an architect and builder at Clarendon Street, Derry. The Derry Almanac for 1885 shows him in partnership with JAMES CROOM for that year only. He was declared bankrupt on 19 February 1879.(1)
William McElwee married Emma Cole, who was five years his senior, on 24 January 1867 at the Presbyterian Church in Great James's Street, Derry. From about 1895 onwards he had a permanent relationship with Sarah Violet Doyle, who, although never married to him, bore him six children and was known as Mrs McElwee. In his will of 22 December 1905 he left her all his property. It was apparently under her influence that towards the end of his life that he converted to Roman Catholicism, having been born a Protestant. In the 1911 census, which was taken while he was living as a boarder in a public house in Derry, his religious affiliation is described as 'Irish Church'. He died of heart failure at home in Coleraine on 29 November 1912 and was buried in Coleraine Cemetery. His will was proved on 10 February 1913.
RIAI: elected member, 28 Nov 1878, having been proposed by GEORGE CARLISLE HENDERSON , seconded by ALBERT EDWARD MURRAY and JAMES HIGGINS OWEN ;(2) no longer on list of members after 1901.
GLFI: senior warden of Lodge 640 (Derry), 1873; past master of same in 1876.(3)
Addresses: Work:(4) Clarendon Street, 1868-1871; Sackville Street, 1871; Foyle Street, 1873; Castle Street, 1875-1881; 6 Castle Street, 1878;(5) Strand, 1882; Castle Street, 1883; 6 Castle Street, 1887-1888; Strand Road, 1888-89; 57 Strand, 1890-1891; Commercial Buildings, Foyle Street, 1891-1901; 36 William Street, 1902;(6) 58 William Street, 1905.(7)
Home: Peacock Cottage, Spittal Hill, Coleraine, 1905-1907; 27 Waterloo Street, Derry, 1911; 4 Woodbine Terrace, Coleraine, 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, and from the 1911 census of Ireland, http://www.census.nationalarchives.ie/ (last visited Oct 2009). James McElwee also supplied a digital image of William McElwee in middle age (Acc.2015/5; hard copy in IAA, Jones file Mc61).
(1) Irish Times, 26 Feb,19 Mar 1879.
(2) RIAI council meeting minutes, 13 Nov 1878, 214, ?and general meeting minutes, 28 Nov 1878.
(3) GLFI archives.
(4) From The Derry Almanac and RIAI lists of members unless otherwise stated.
(5) See note 1, above.
(6) IB 43, 31 Jul 1902, 1346.
(7) Address given in his will of December 1905.
16 work entries listed in chronological order for MCELWEE, WILLIAM 
|Building:||CO. DERRY, DERRY, CARLISLE STREET, CITY PORTRAIT ROOMS|
|Nature:||Premises for Hugh Kerr, photographer, recently erected. Contractor: Rober Maxwell, Derry. Polychrome brick with Dungiven sandstone dressings. Ironwork: George Smith & Co, Sun Foundry, Glasgow.|
|Refs:||IB 13, 15 Sep 1871, 238,239(illus.)|
|Building:||CO. DONEGAL, CARRIGANS (NEAR), WHITE HOUSE|
|Nature:||New residence for Wm. J. Hanna, late of Philadelphia just erected. Stone from estate for walling, finished in Portland cement and roughcast. Builder: Alex McElwee, Derry.|
|Refs:||IB 18, 1 Jan 1876, 9(illus.)|
|Building:||CO. DONEGAL, BURNFOOT (NEAR), GLEBE HOUSE|
|Nature:||Has been built for incumbent of parishes of Burt and Inch.Contractor: Alex McElwee, Derry. Total cost about £940. Grant by Board of Public Works under Glebe Loans.|
|Refs:||IB 17, 1 Oct 1875, 270,273(illus.)|
|Building:||CO. DONEGAL, CARNDONAGH, CHURCH OF THE SACRED HEART (RC)|
|Nature:||New tower has been built for church erected in 1826. Builder: Colhoun. 'It is hoped that other works contemplated by the architect's design may be commenced as soon as funds are provided'.|
|Refs:||IB 17, 1 Nov 1875, 307|
|Building:||CO. DERRY, DERRY, MAGAZINE STREET UPPER, 1ST PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH|
|Nature:||Memorial to late pastor, Rev. William McClure, in vestibule. Various marbles, including Sicilian and Belgian. Executed by Robert Kell, sculptor, Derry.|
|Refs:||IB 17, 1 Jul 1875, 176; B 33, 26 Jun 1875, 579|
|Building:||CO. ANTRIM, RANDALSTOWN, VICARAGE (DRUMMAUL HOUSE)|
|Nature:||Now being erected on elevated site overlooking Randalstown. Belfast red brick blue and white brick bands and Cookstown sandstone dressings. Builder: H. McManus & Son, Randalstown. Estimated cost less than £1,400.|
|Refs:||IB 17, 1 Jun 1875, 148(illus.); W.D. Girvan, R. Oram, A. Rowan, Historic Buildings…in Antrim & Ballymena (UAHS, 1969), 23 (no. 5)|
|Building:||CO. DONEGAL, ARDARA, PARSONAGE|
|Nature:||New rectory on site granted by Mr Murray Stewart erected. mainly through exertions of Arthur Brooks, Whitehouse, Killybegs. Rubble masonry with cement details and freestone sills.|
IB 17, 1 Oct 1875, 270,272(illus.); Irish Ecclesiastical Gazette 19, no. 213, 1 Jan 1877, 16.
|Building:||CO. TYRONE, BROUGHDERG, CHURCH (RC)|
|Nature:||Being built in mountain district of parish of Lower Badoney. Nave 65 x 25 ft; chancel 23 x 12 ft.|
|Refs:||IB 18, 15 Jul 1876, 207,211(illus.)|
|Building:||CO. TYRONE, DUNNAMANAGH, PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH|
|Nature:||New church at present erecting. To seat 650. To cost £1,850. Local limestone, dressed with freestone. W porch. Builder: Robert Colhoun, Derry..|
|Refs:||IB 18, 15 Jul 1876, 211(illus.)|
|Building:||CO. DONEGAL, MALIN, CHURCH (CI, CLONCHA PARISH)|
|Nature:||Interior restored at cost of £160. New seats, creation of 'quasi chancel' by raising floor at E end and tiling it. New prayer desk and pulpit. New lectern, presented by architect. Flat ceiling remains in place.
|Refs:||Irish Ecclesiastical Gazette 18, no. 209, 23 Sep 1876, 286; J.B. Leslie, Derry Clegy and Parishes (1937), 154-5.|
|Building:||CO. DONEGAL, NAIRN (ARDARA), EDEN|
|Nature:||New house for Capt. George H. Johnston. Initial contractor: Samuel Knox, but work taken off his hands before completion. Subject of unsuccessful lawsuit, Knox v. Johnston, Jul 1880.
Irish Times, 3 Jul 1880, 3; 22 Feb 1881, 3.
|Building:||CO. DONEGAL, GLASSMULLAN (CARRIGANS), HOUSES (004)|
|Nature:||Designs 4 labourers' cottages for for William J. Hanna Esq., Whitehouse, Carrigans.
Specification of works required to be done in erecting and completing same, Jun 1887, in PRONI, D743/3 (see PRONI e-catalogue).
|Building:||CO. DONEGAL, LETTERKENNY, DISTRICT LUNATIC ASYLUM|
|Nature:||Adds. & alts. Tenders invited.|
|Refs:||IB 35, 15 Jul 1893, 168|
|Building:||CO. DONEGAL, RATHMULLEN, HOUSES (002)|
|Nature:||To be built.|
|Refs:||IB 38, 15 Jun 1896, 133|
|Building:||CO. DERRY, DERRY, NORTHLAND ROAD, HOUSES (002)|
|Refs:||IB 43, 31 Jul 1902, 1346|
|Building:||CO. DERRY, DERRY, POLICE COURT|
|Nature:||IB states that 'Mr McElwee' had been appointed architect at inclusive fee of four per cent. (?Could also be R.H. McElwee) though P.H. Elliott had already been elected architect at public meeting of Corporation. Built to Elliott's designs.|
|Refs:||IB 50, 26 Dec 1908, 789|