Dictionary of Irish Architects 1720 - 1940

Chief engineer to the Great Northern Railway (Ireland). George Bruce Howden was born on 14 May 1890 and educated privately in Naples from the age of about six. He then attended the Royal Technical College, Glasgow, and between 1906 and 1909 also served his engineering pupilage with James Bell and Charles J. Brown. He remained with Brown as an assistant engineer until 1911. During the next eighteen years, with the exception of a brief period in 1917-1918, when he was engaged under James Bell in calculating the strength of the floor of the central spans of the Forth Railway Bridge with a view to its renewal, he worked under William A. Fraser of Edinburgh chiefly on railway construction for the North British Railway and later for the Scottish area of the London & North Eastern Railway.

Howden came to live in Dublin in 1929 on being appointed chief engineer of the Great Northern Railway of Ireland on 1 July of that year, following the retirement of FREDERICK ARTHUR CAMPION FREDERICK ARTHUR CAMPION . As such he designed and carried out the reconstruction of the Boyne Viaduct, near Drogheda, in 1930-1932. In 1939 he was promoted to general manager.(1) In about 1953 he became chairman of the Ulster Transport Authority;  he appears to have moved to Northern Ireland in about 1957.

ICEI: elected member, 1933; reads paper on reconstruction of Boyne Viaduct, 4 December 1933,(2) and awarded Mullins Gold Medal for same.(3)
Inst.CE: transferred from class of associate member to that of member, 1930.

Addresses: Work: Amiens Street Station, 1929->=1952.
Home: Proby Lodge, Killiney Road, Dalkey, <=1930->=1954.



All information about Howden's career until 1929 is from his candidate's circular for transfer from asociate member to member of Inst.CE, dated 30 Jul 1929, in Inst.CE archives (courtesy of Susannah Roberts). Information about his career post 1929, unless otherwise accounted for, is extrapolated from ICEI lists of members and Thom's directories.

Information from Michael Rutherford, 'A brief survey of the Irish 4-4-0: Part 3' in Backtrack 20 (no. 9, Oct 2006), 552-63, see http://www.steamindex.com/backtrak/bt20.htm (2008).
TICEI 60 (1933-34), 71-92.
TICEI 61 (1934-35), 72.

1 work entries listed in chronological order for HOWDEN, GEORGE BRUCE

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Date: 1931-32
Nature: Reconstruction, for Great Northern Railway (Ireland). Principal contractor: Motherwell Bridge & Engineering Co. Ltd. Cost: £37,000. Resident engineer: John McGregor. Assistant resident engineer: T.A. Carson.
Refs: IB 73, 29 Aug 1931, 750; G.B. Howden, 'Reconstruction of the Boyne Viaduct, Drogheda', TICEI 60 (1933-34), 71-111(illus.)