BELL, JAMES 
- Born: 1829 Died: 1883
Architect and civil engineer. James Bell, the eldest son of JAMES BELL  , was born at Newtownforbes, Co. Longford in 1829. After holding an appointment as assistant engineer on the Co. Longford famine relief works of 1847-8, he was articled to CHARLES LANYON . According to his obituarist in the Minutes and Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers he showed early talent: 'At that early period of life he displayed unusual ability, especially as a draughtsman, in advance of the recognized standard of thirty years ago, and an original and somewhat daring genius for architectural design, which, if pursued and chastened by more experience, might have resulted in conspicuous success in the sister profession.' From 1850-1854 he was resident engineer and clerk of works under Lanyon at the Belfast Lunatic Asylum and from 1856 to 1857 worked with Lanyon on plans for the National Gallery of Ireland. He was chief draughtsman in the Board of Works circa 1858-59(1) and then worked as an assistant to his father, the county surveyor for Co. Longford. In 1862 he competed successfully for the county surveyorship of the the northern district of Co. Dublin, left vacant after the transfer of ALEXANDER TATE to Co. Antrim. At around this time he became joint architect with JAMES FARRELL for the lunatic asylum at Enniscorthy, Co. Wexford, which was built between 1863 and 1866.
Bell continued as county surveyor for the northern district of Co. Dublin from May 1883 until a few months before his death, which took place on 24 October 1883 at his home, 3 Windsor Terrace, Malahide.(2) He was buried in Mount Jerome cemetery(3) with two of his children who had died in infancy. According to his obituarist he had a 'taking appearance and genial manner' and 'a character singularly affectionate and humorous.' He was succeeded in the county surveyorship by THOMAS TURNER.
AAI: present at inaugural meeting, 13 October 1872.(4)
RIAI: elected fellow, 21 May 1863;(5) auditor 1868-9;(6) resigned membership in February 1870 but consented to withdraw his resignation the following month;(7) nominated member of Council 1877.(8)
ICEI: elected member, 1864;(9) council member, 1867;(10) no longer listed as member, 1870.(11)
Inst.CE: elected member, 4 February 1879.
RSAI: proposed by THOMAS DREW and elected member 15 April 1868;(12) shows drawings, plans and photographs of the ruins at Monasterboice at meeting of the society at Kilkenny on 5 April 1871;(13) drawings and plans of the round tower and crosses at published in journal, 1871.(14)
Addresses: Balbriggan, and, from 1868, Malahide;(15) 3 Windsor Terrace, Malahide at time of death.
All information in this entry not otherwise accounted for are from the obituary of Bell in Min.Proc.Inst.CE 79 (1884-5) Pt. 1, 361-2, and from Brendan O'Donoghue, The Irish County Surveyors 1834-1944 (Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2007), 96-97, which gives the fullest account of Bell's career.
(1) Jones transcripts of Board of Works staff from Thom's directories.
(2) Irish Times, 25 Oct 1883; Obituary in IB 25, 1 Nov 1883, 345.
(3) See note 2, above. A photograph of his grave is in O'Donoghue, op. cit., pl. 61.
(4) IB 14, 15 Oct 1872, 280.
(5) RIAI Council Minutes 8,21 May 1863, 5,127.
(6) Jones transcripts (?from Thom's Directories) of lists of RIAI officers.
(7) RIAI council meeting minutes 7 Feb, 14 Mar 1870, 139,?.
(8) RIAI council meeting minutes, 3 Dec 1877, 210.
(9) ICEI admissions applications, I, 72.
(10) Jones transcripts of ICEI officers from Thom's directories.
(11) IB 12, 15 Aug 1870, 197.
(12) JRSAI 10 (1868-1869), 47,195.
(13) IB 13, 15 Apr 1871, 98.
(14) JRSAI 11 (1870-1871), 451.
(15) From Thom's directories.
15 work entries listed in chronological order for BELL, JAMES 
|Building:||CO. ANTRIM, BELFAST, FALLS ROAD, DISTRICT LUNATIC ASYLUM|
|Nature:||Resident engineer & clerk of works to Charles Lanyon|
|Refs:||Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers, Vol 79 (1884-5), Pt. 1, 361|
|Building:||CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, MERRION SQUARE, NATIONAL GALLERY OF IRELAND|
|Nature:||Worked with Lanyon on designs for same.|
|Refs:||Catherine de Courcy, The Foundation of the National Gallery of Ireland (1985), 38; Brendan O'Donoghue, The Irish County Surveyors 1834-1944 (Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2007), 96|
|Building:||CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, ST ANDREW'S STREET, ST ANDREW'S CHURCH (CI, 3RD)|
|Refs:||DB 2, 1 Jun 1860, 267|
|Building:||CO. LONGFORD, LISBRACK HOUSE (NEWTOWNFORBES)|
|Nature:||Alts. & adds. for Mr John Crawford. Contr: John Mullins (£350).|
|Refs:||DB 3, 15 Jan 1861, 409-410|
|Building:||CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, ST STEPHEN'S GREEN, NO. 112 (UNITARIAN CHURCH)|
|Nature:||Unselected competition design.|
|Refs:||DB 3, 1 Mar,1 Sep 1861, 448,610(illus.)|
|Building:||CO. LONGFORD, LONGFORD, CHURCH STREET, PROTESTANT HALL|
|Nature:||New Italianate hall to accommodate 500 or 600 persons. Contr: John Mullins. Estimated cost: £1,500. Woodwork by Swinburn, Bush Lane, London.|
DB 3, 1 Oct 1861, 651; DB 5, 1 Feb 1863, 20; B 20, 5 Jul 1862, 474; Irish Times, 4,6 Aug 1862.
|Building:||CO. LONGFORD, LONGFORD, MAIN STREET, ULSTER BANK|
|Nature:||New branch bank with Italianate limestone façade. 3-storey with single storey curtain walls on either side. Rusticated ground floor with pseudo arcade. Bold modillioned capping cornice sustaining cantilever roof. Contr: Walter Doolin.|
|Refs:||B 20, 2 Aug 1862, 559; DB 5, 1,15 Feb 1863, 20,30(illus.); Christine Casey & Alistair Rowan, The Buildings of Ireland: North Leinster (1993), 381|
|Building:||CO. LEITRIM, FENAGH, CHURCH OF ST CATHERINE (CI)|
|Nature:||Proposed addition of chancel and porch for Rev. George Beresford.
|Refs:||Signed designs, dated 27 Jun 1863 and 1 Jun 1864, in Representative Church Body Library, see RCB Library - Architectural Drawings, https://archdrawing.ireland.anglican.org/items/show/37-38 (last visited, Mar 2017); exterior of church illus. in Clergy of Kilmore, Elphin and Ardagh (Ulster Historical Foundation, 2008), 265.|
|Building:||CO. WEXFORD, ENNISCORTHY, DISTRICT LUNATIC ASYLUM|
|Nature:||Joint architect with James Farrell. Contractor: Patrick Kerr. Clerk of Works: Bergin. Cost: £40,000.|
|Refs:||IAA, PKS L1 (p.407 &c.); DB 5, 15 Jul 1863, 122; 8, 15 Jan 1866, 20; B 24, 6 Jan 1866, 6; obituary of Bell in Min.Proc.Inst.CE 79 (1884-5), 361|
|Building:||CO. DUBLIN, SKERRIES, CHURCH (CI, HOLMPATRICK PARISH)|
|Refs:||Signed and dated drawings in NLI, A.D. 2462-2463|
|Building:||CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, MOLESWORTH STREET, NO. 017-18 (FREEMASONS' HALL)|
|Nature:||Competition entrant. (Motto: 'GML' in circle.)|
|Refs:||3 elevations in Grand Lodge of Freemasons, Dublin, Masonic Hall with building committee minutes (information from Marion Gaule), see also Tony Browne, 'A Building Study (2008) of the Freemason's Hall', 25, http://irishmasonicjewels.ie/Freemason's%20Hall,%20Dublin.pdf (last visited Feb 2010).|
|Building:||CO. DUBLIN, SWORDS, CHURCH OF ST COLUMBA (CI)|
|Nature:||Alts. & imps. Also single-storey Church Lodge with v-shaped porch and pointed windows (Builder: William Connolly)|
|Refs:||IB 12, 1 Jun 1870, 132-3; Union of Swords vestry records (1803-1870), 471 (B.O'D.)|
|Building:||CO. DUBLIN, BALROTHERY, UNION CLERK'S RESIDENCE|
|Refs:||IB 15, 1 Mar 1873, advt. for tenders|
|Building:||CO. DUBLIN, MALAHIDE, SCHOOLS|
|Nature:||Contr: Nicholas Brady, Dublin|
|Refs:||B 37, 25 Oct 1879, 1182; IB 21, 15 Oct 1879, 323|
|Building:||CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, CABRA, NORTH DUBLIN UNION CHILDREN'S HOME|
|Refs:||IB 23, 15 Mar,1 May 1881, 109,?|