Engineer-in-chief of the Midland Great Western Railway, 1881-1918. William Purcell O'Neill was born in Dublin on 10 October 1857. After attending the Royal College of Science in Dublin, he was articled for three years to the English railway engineer, Edward Wilson in June 1875. He continued to work in England on a variety of railway projects until, in March 1881, he was appointed Assistant Engineer to the Midland Great Western Railway of Ireland. In December 1882 he was promoted to the position of District Engineer at Longford, in March 1892 to that of Chief Engineer of the western division, and finally, in September 1894 to that of Chief Engineer of the entire system. After his retirement in 1918, O'Connor lived for many years in England, returning at the end of his life to live in Tullamore, Co. Offaly, where he died on 22 November 1950 at the age of ninety-three. According to the census of 1911, he had married his English-born wife, Mary Agnes, circa 1887 and had three daughters and a son.
Inst.CE: elected associate member, 15 February 1884; transferred to member, 30 January 1900.
ICEI: elected member 5 February 1896; council member, 1898-99,1903,1907-8; vice-president, 1900; no longer a member by 1926.
Addresses: Home: Edenvale, Conyngham Rd, Islandbridge, 1895-1902; Highfield, North Circular Road, Dublin, 1906-1913; The Esplanade, Bray, Co. Wicklow, 1920-1922; Heatherside, Belmont, Surrey, 1924; The Constitutional Club, Northumberland Avenue, London, 1925; Linden Lodge, Hunningham, near Leamington Spa, 1933; Highfields, Wellington, Shropshire, 1935; Frogmore, Upper Magna, Shropshire, 1940; 2 Woodfield Road, Shrewsbury, 1944; Ross House, Tullamore, Co. Offaly, 1949.
All information in this entry not otherwise accounted for is from the records of the Insitution of Civil Engineers, London, kindly supplied by Mrs Carol Morgan, archivist, ICEI membership applications, III, 49, Thom's directories and ICEI lists of officers and members.
TICEI 25 (1895-96), 27.