Chief Engineer to the Dublin Port and Docks Board, 1852-1898. Bindon Blood Stoney, second son of George Stoney, of Oakley Park, Co. Offaly, by his wife Anne, daughter of Bindon Blood ('The Vampire'!), of Cranagher, Co. Clare, was born at Oakley Park on 13 June 1828. His father died while he was still a boy, and his widowed mother, having sold the family property, moved with her four children to Dublin. Stoney entered Trinity College, Dublin, on 1 July 1845. After the obligatory year in Arts, he entered the School of Engineering, obtaining the Diploma in Civil Engineering in 1850. As his financial circumstances ruled out an engineering apprenticeship, he spent the next two years as assistant astronomer to William Parsons, third Earl of Rosse, who had built a seventy-two-inch reflecting telescope in the grounds of Birr Castle, Co. Offaly. This was followed by a brief spell of surveying work for the Aranjuez to Almansa railway in Spain. In 1854 he was appointed resident engineer on the Boyne Viaduct under JAMES BARTON JAMES BARTON and was involved in the design of the innovative system of lattice beams which was used for the superstructure. The bridge was opened in April 1855.
In January 1856 the Dublin Ballast Board, which was responsible for both the port of Dublin and for all the lighthouses around the Irish coast, advertised for an assistant for its engineer and inspector of works, GEORGE HALPIN  GEORGE HALPIN  . Halpin was in poor health, and the new post was intended to relieve him of some of his increasing responsibilities at the port of Dublin. Stoney, one of seventy-three applicants for the post, was eventually selected after the Board's first choice, JOHN RAMSAY JOHN RAMSAY , had withdrawn. His first task was as resident engineer for the completion of the new graving dock. In 1859 he was promoted to executive engineer and given the authority to sign accounts. Halpin seems to have found it difficult to delegate all responsibility for the port to Stoney, and in 1861-62 a difference of opinion arose between the two men over Stoney's proposals for the future development of the docks and his proposed new method of constructing deep-water quays. Halpin retired in 1862, and Stoney was then appointed the Board's chief engineer.
Stoney remained in the post of chief engineer to the Ballast Board (reconstituted in 1869 as the Dublin Port and Docks Board) for just over thirty-six years. In December 1898 he sought permission to retire and was succeeded by his assistant, JOHN PURSER GRIFFITH JOHN PURSER GRIFFITH , the following year. During his tenure of the post, half the quays along the Liffey were converted into deep-water quays, using the novel method of underwater construction which he had first advocated in 1861. Massive concrete blocks, 350 tons in weight, were made on a block wharf and then moved to their destination by means of specially designed floating shears. They were lowered into position on the river bed, which had been previously levelled by workmen using a special diving bell which Stoney devised for this purpose. Stoney described his method in a paper, 'On the construction of harbour and marine works with artificial blocks of large size', delivered to the Institution of Civil Engineers in London in 1874, which gained him the Institution's Telford Medal and Premium for that year. The method was used for the extension of the North Quay and the construction of the Alexandra Basin and for the foundations of the North Bull lighthouse. Stoney also introduced a more efficient system for dredging the shipping channel within the harbour, designing hopper barges of unprecedented capacity to carry the dredgings out to sea. Other works which he designed included the rebuilding of Essex and Carlisle Bridges and the construction of the Beresford (or Butt) Swing Bridge. He also was reponsible for introducing a graduated pensions scheme for his workers.
Although his contract with the Board stipulated that he should work full-time in the Board's service, Stoney nevertheless acted as a consultant for works at many Irish harbours, and also gave evidence to a number of Parliamentary committees. His pupils and assistants included John Purser Griffith, Isaac John Mann. GEORGE GERALD STONEY GEORGE GERALD STONEY and JOSEPH HENRY MOORE JOSEPH HENRY MOORE .
Stoney died at home in Dublin on 5 May 1909 and was buried in Mount Jerome cemetery on 10 May. He had married Susannah Frances, daughter of John Francis Walker, QC, of Grangemore, Co. Dublin, in 1879 and had a son, George Bindon Stoney, who predeceased him by some four months, and three daughters. He received the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws from Trinity College, Dublin, in 1881 and was a Fellow of the Royal Society.
Inst.CE: elected associate, 12 January 1858; transferred to class of member, 17 November 1863; awarded Telford Medal and Premium, 1874, for his paper, 'On the construction of harbour and marine works with artificial blocks of large size'; council member for several years.
ICEI: elected member, 1857; council member, 1860-1861,1876,1885-1887,1889-1891,1894-1908; hon. secretary, 1862-1870; president, 1871-1873.
Geological Society of Dublin (later Royal Geological Society of Ireland): council member, 1863-1868.(5.)
Addresses: 89 Waterloo Road, Dublin, 1856; 63 Wellington Road, 1864-1866; 42 Wellington Road, 1866; 14 Elgin Road, 1881.
See WORKS and BIBLIOGRAPHY. BIBLIOGRAPHY.
All information in this entry not otherwise accounted for is from R.C. Cox, Bindon Blood Stoney: Biography of a Port Engineer (Dublin, Institution of Engineers of Ireland, 1990), which see for a more detailed account of Stoney's lifeand career. Obituaries of Stoney appear in IB 51, 15 May 1909, 298, Min.Proc.Inst.CE 177 (1908-9, Pt. III), 287-290 and TICEI 35 (1908-1909), 177-181. A photograph and biography of Stoney is in E. Macdowel Cosgrave, ed., Dublin and County Dublin in the Twentieth Century (1908), 261
There is a discrepancy - perhaps due to a misprint - between Cox's dates for these events and those given by H.A. Gilligan, A History of the Port of Dublin (1988), 128.
The diving bell is still (2003) on the site of the docks.
From obituary in Min.Proc.Inst.CE 177.
ICEI lists of members and office bearers and Jones's transcripts from Thom's directories.
Jones's transcripts from Thom's directories.