Dictionary of Irish Architects 1720 - 1940

Architect, of Belfast. Florence Hobson, a Quaker, is believed to have been the first professional woman architect in Ireland. She was born on 11 February 1881 at Monasterevin, Co. Kildare, to Benjamin Hobson, grocer, and his wife, Mary Anne (née Bulmer). Her younger brother Bulmer Hobson was a well-known nationalist. By the time of his birth her father had moved to Belfast - he is described in the 1911 census as 'Commecial Agent' -  where Florence attended the School of Art and was a pupil of JAMES JOHN PHILLIPS  JAMES JOHN PHILLIPS and his son JAMES ST JOHN PHILLIPS  JAMES ST JOHN PHILLIPS from 1899 until 1903. She next went to London where, she worked briefly in the office of EDWARD GUY DAWBER  EDWARD GUY DAWBER and, from 1903-4, with James Glen Sivewright Gibson. She then returned to Ireland, where she joined the architectural staff of Belfast Corporation in 1905. As an assistant to the Royal Commission on Health and Housing, she visited Germany and Switzerland to study housing problems and initiatives in those countries. She published various newspaper articles, including two in The Queen and in 1913 gave a lecture on town planning to the Belfast Naturalists' Field Club, of which she was a member. She was still in Northern Ireland in 1926 but may later have worked in England.

Florence Hobson retired in 1937.   Eleven years later, in March 1948, she married William Forbes Patterson, a divorced author some twelve years her junior.  The couple lived for a time in Crawfordsburn, Co. Down, but she is recorded as living in London by 1957 until at least 1965.(1)   She had returned to Crawfordsburn by the time of her death on 1 November 1978, her husband having predeceased her.

RIBA: passed preliminary examination, June 1899;(2) elected licentiate, 20 March 1911,(3) having been proposed by J.G.S. Gibson, E.G. Dawber and ROBERT MAGILL YOUNG. ROBERT MAGILL YOUNG.

Addresses: 6 Hopefield Avenue, Belfast, 1899(4)-1911;(4) Ballycultra, Holywood, Co. Down, 1911;  Marino, Co. Down, 1911-1914; Aiteanuach, Crawfordsburn, Co. Down, 1923-1926; 11 Lawrence Road, Bow, London, E.3, 1957;(5) 14 Powis Court, Powis Square, London W.11, 1964-1965.(6)



All information in this entry not otherwise accounted for is from Directory of British Architects 1834-1914 (RIBA, 2001), I, 925, F. Chatterton, ed., Who's Who in Architecture (1923), 126-7, K. Newman, Dictionary of Ulster Biography (Institute of Irish Studies, 1993), ?, and the entry by Cathy Hayes in Dictionary of Irish Biography (Royal Irish Academy, 2009).

(1) RIBA Kalendar 1957-1958, 613; RIBA Kalendar 1964-65, 300; RIBA Kalendar 1965-66, 298.
(2) RIBAJ 6 (1898-99), 519.
(3) RIBAJ 18 (1910-11), 436.
(4) See note 2, above.
(6) See note 1, above.
(7) See note 1, above.

2 work entries listed in chronological order for HOBSON, FLORENCE FULTON

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Building: CO. DOWN, CARNALEA, HOUSES (003)
Date: 1914;1921
Nature: Three new houses.
Refs: F. Chatterton, ed., Who's Who in Architecture (1923), 127

Date: 1927a
Nature: Bungalow for H.Chenevix in Killiney. (Probably Tigin, where, according to Thom's Directory, Helen Chenevix was living in 1928.)
Refs: Information from Tanja Poppelreuter, Ulster University, Belfast, Sep 2016.