Dictionary of Irish Architects 1720 - 1940

Professor of Civil and Mechanical Engineering at Trinity College, Dublin, from 1933 until 1957. John Purser, only son of Alfred F. Purser, a schools inspector, and his wife, Ellen, was born in Birr, Co. Offaly, in 1884. After attending the High School, Dublin, he entered Trinity College, Dublin, in 1902, graduating BAI in 1907. He then went to Birmingham University, where he took the MSc degree and taught for six years until his appointment as assistant professor of Civil Engineering at the City & Guilds Engineering College, London. He remained at the City & Guilds College until 1933, with a break of some four years during the First World War when he served in the Royal Navy. He also held a readership in Civil Engineering at London University.

Purser was appointed to the chair of Civil and Mechanical Engineering at Trinity in 1933 and remained in the post until 1957. During his tenure the number of students quadrupled and the course was extended from three to four years. As an engineer his chief interest was in hydraulics. He was one of the Commissioners of Irish Lights for many years and, in 1961 and 1962, their chairman.(1) He died in 1967.

ICEI:(2) elected member 7 Jan 1935;(3) presents paper, 'The deterioration of marine structures', for discussion on 3 February 1936;(4) hon. secretary, 1939-1944; vice-president, 1944-46; president, 1946-1947; council member, 1947-1961.



All information in this entry not otherwise accounted for is from Ronald Cox, Engineering at Trinity1993), 95-98. A portrait photograph forms the frontispiece of TICEI 73 (1946-47); this is reproduced in Cox, op. cit., 85.

(1) Bill Long, Bright Light, White Water(1993), 204; lighthouses formed the subject of his presidential address to ICEI in 1946.
(2) TICEI lists of officers.
(3) TICEI 61 (1934-35), 98.
(4) TICEI 62 (1935-36), 121-138

Author Title Date Details
Purser, John 'The deterioration of marine structures' 1936 TICEI 62 (1935-36), 121-138.
Purser, John Presidential address to ICEI (on subject of lighthouses) 1946 TICEI 73 (1946-47), 1-16.