Principal surveyor of buildings with the Board of Public Works, Ireland, 1909-1923. Andrew Robinson was born on 17 February 1858, the youngest son of George Robinson of Ballytweedy, Muckamore, Co. Antrim. He went to school locally and in Belfast. Although he originally intended to train as a lawyer or doctor, instead he became a pupil - and subsequently the principal assistant - of LUKE LIVINGSTON MACASSEY , engineer to the Belfast City and District Water Commissioners. He entered the architectural department of the Board of Public Works as an assistant surveyor on 30 April 1884 and was given responsibility for the north city and county of Dublin and the Phoenix Park. He rose through the grades, until, on 1 October 1909, following the retirement of ROBERT COCHRANE , he joined JOHN HOWARD PENTLAND and SAMUEL KERR KIRKER as one of the three principal surveyors. Included in his duties were the arrangements for several royal visits; the last was that of King George V in 1911, when a new wing was added to the Vice-Regal Lodge and a supper room to the Castle. At the end of the visit the King conferred upon him the honour of membership of the Royal Victorian Order. When Kirker died in 1913 and Pentland retired in 1918, neither man was replaced. Robinson, who was created a Companion of the British Empire in 1918, was left in sole charge of the department, his designation being changed to that of principal architect in 1920. Following Cochrane's death in 1916, he was also appointed Inspector of Ancient and National Monuments. In 1921 he was appointed a Commissioner, the first official of the department to have been promoted to this position. His last seven years with the Board coincided with a period of turbulence and change: he found himself responsible not only for dealing with the widespread damage and destruction of public buildings in 1916, 1921 and 1922 but also, in the early months of 1922, for implementing the transfer of the Board's functions to the new governments of the Free State and Northern Ireland.
Robinson retired on his sixty-fifth birthday, 17 February 1923, to be succeeded by THOMAS JOSEPH BYRNE . After his retirement he returned to the Northern Ireland, where he divided his time between Belfast and Ballytweedy. He died in Belfast on 22 October 1929. His wife Robina, daughter of James Salmond of Perth, Scotland, whom he had married in 1885, died about two years before him. He had three sons. His diaries for the years 1882 to 1928 are in PRONI, D2031/1.
RSAI: elected member and fellow, 1894.
Addresses: Home: 3 St Patrick's Terrace, St Laurence Road, Clontarf (renumbered by 1900 as 116 St Laurence Road), <=1890-1923; Cooleen, Donegall Park, Belfast, and Ballytweedy, Muckamore, Co. Antrim, at time of death.
All information in this entry not otherwise accounted for is from Who was Who, 1929-1940, 1156, from the biography by 'Oculus' in IB 65, 30 Jun 1923, 493-4, and from the obituary in IB 71, 7 Dec 1929, 1084. Another obituary (not seen) in JRSAI 60 (1930), 101. There are photographs of Robinson in IB 53, 22 Jul 1911, 478, and IB 65, 30 Jun 1923, 493, and in the Irish Times, 5 Apr 1921.. See also Frederick O'Dwyer, 'The architecture of the Board of Public Works 1831-1923', in Public Works: the architecture of the Office of Public Works 1831-1987 (AAI, 1987), 29-30, and Rena Lohan, Guide to the Archives of the Office of Public Works (OPW, 1994), 40,87.
Jones's transcript from Board of Works records.
See note 1, above.
IB 65, 21 Apr 1923, 274.
IB 53, 22 Jul 1911, 478.
IB 58, 13 May 1916, 215.
Irish Times, 28 Sep 1921,5 Apr 1923; IB 63, 8 Oct 1921, 650.
JRSAI 24 (1894) , list of members.
From Thom's directories and Jones's transcripts from same.