Dictionary of Irish Architects 1720 - 1940

Architect, of Dublin. John Francis Shortall was born in Dublin in 1889 and was educated at St Mary's College, Rathmines. He became an apprentice in the building firm of his brother, Sir Patrick Shortall, in York Street and then went first to England to work on the Ordnance Survey and then to West Africa as a surveyor of roads in the Public Works Department. In 1914 he joined the Royal Engineers and served in Salonika and West Africa. From 1918 until 1920 he was on the engineering staff of the Royal Air Force in the Middle East. His years abroad permanently damaged his health.

Shortall returned to Dublin in 1920 when he won first place in the competitive examination for the post of assistant architect in the Office of Works. He was promoted to the rank of architect in 1935. He died suddenly on 23 April 1946, leaving a widow, son and daughter. His obituarist in the RIAI Year Book, MARTIN JOSEPH BURKE  MARTIN JOSEPH BURKE recalled him as a man of 'exceptionally pronounced individuality'; although he was reserved in manner, intolerant of humbug, and a stern disciplinarian, 'his more intimate friends knew that he frequently suffered much from a malady resulting from his service abroad and understood the extent to which his outlook on life was affected at such times. To such friends and when in better health his kindness of heart and sense of humour, his fund of anecdote and gifts as a raconteur, made him a good companion, and by all such he was held in high esteem.'

RIAI: elected member, 10 December 1937, having been proposed by HARRY ALLBERRY  HARRY ALLBERRY and seconded by GEORGE PATRICK SHERIDAN  GEORGE PATRICK SHERIDAN and Martin Joseph Burke.(1)
RIBA: elected associate, 6 December 1937.(2)
Surveyors' Association: professional associate, 1913; fellow.

Address: Home: 3 Eaton Place, Monkstown, 1937.


All information in this entry not otherwise accounted for is from the obituary of Shortall by M[artin] J[oseph] B[urke] in RIAI Year Book (1946), 38-39, and from Jones's transcript from RIAI minutes concerning Shortall's election to RIAI, 1937.

(1) JRIAI (1939), 13.
(2) RIBAJ (1937-38), 206.