Dictionary of Irish Architects 1720 - 1940

County surveyor for Co. Donegal, 1834-1847. John Steedman (Steadman or Stedman), a Scotsman, started his career as an architect and contractor in Edinburgh. He was trained as a surveyor by ROBERT STEVENSON [2] ROBERT STEVENSON [2] , who employed him in this capacity and also as contractor for the Hutcheson Bridge in Glasgow. His career in Scotland is outlined in Sarah Bendall, ed., Dictionary of Land Surveyors and Local Map-Makers of Great Britain and Ireland 1530-1850 (2nd edition, 1997), II, 484, and further described in A.W. Skempton et al., A Biographical Dictionary of Civil Engineers in Great Britain and Ireland I (2002), 650.

Steedman's Scottish career came to an end in May 1834 when he was appointed the first county surveyor for Co. Donegal and removed to Letterkenny. He held the post until 1847, when he was dismissed on the grounds that his age had rendered him unfit to continue. As there were no pension provisions for county surveyors at that time and as he apparently was without means of his own, he appears to have lived on the charity of his former colleagues and some of the local gentry who set up a fund which provided £3 per month from September 1847 to May 1860 and £2 a month thereafter. During the 1860s he petitioned the House of Commons for compensation and sent various memorials and petitions to the authorities in Co. Donegal seeking financial support, all without success He was still living in 1868.

ICEI:  founder member, 1835.(1)


All information in this entry not otherwise attributed is from Brendan O'Donoghue, The Irish County Surveyors 1834-1944 (Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2007), 303-4, which gives the fullest account of Steedman's years in Ireland.

(1) Photocopy of transcript of minutes of first meeting of Engineers' Society of Ireland, 6 Aug 1835, in IAA, Jones File F73.