Dictionary of Irish Architects 1720 - 1940

Engineer, of Galway, active from the 1860s to the 1900s. Edward Townsend was born circa 1831, the fourth son of the Rev. Thomas Townsend, vicar of Mayo, Co. Mayo, and his wife Caroline, daughter of Sir Edward Jeynes, alderman of Gloucester.(1) He was admitted to Trinity College, Dublin, on 5 June 1848, at the age of seventeen, graduating BA in 1853 and MA in 1856(2) and is presumably the person of the same name who was awarded the Diploma in Civil Engineering in 1858.(3) He was appointed Professor of Civil Engineering at Queen's College, Galway, in succession to William Bindon Blood, circa 1860 and held the position for about fifty years. He was succeeded by FRANK SHARMAN RISHWORTH  FRANK SHARMAN RISHWORTH in 1910. For the Board of Works he prepared designs for labourers' cottages in Cos. Galway and Mayo, which were reproduced in the Irish Builder in September 1875.(4) During the 1890s he was joint engineer with JOHN HENRY RYAN  JOHN HENRY RYAN of the Galway to Clifden Railway.(5)

Townsend probably died when he ceased to be Professor of Civil Engineering at Galway, circa 1909.  He does not appear in the 1911 census of Ireland. He had married twice; by his second wife, Judith, daughter of John Sealy Townsend, he was the father of five children, among whom was the distinguished physicist Sir John Sealy Edward Townsend (1868-1957).(6) His pupils and assistants included THOMAS ANDREW HALL  THOMAS ANDREW HALL and WILLIAM JOHN FENNELL WILLIAM JOHN FENNELL , who drew up the plan and perspective view of his design for the Royal Marine Hotel, Salthill, which was published in the Irish Builder in October 1876.(7)

ICEI:(8) elected member, 1866; ceased membership in early 1890s.



(1) Burke's Irish Family Records(1976), 1122-3.
(2) Alumni Dublinenses (1935), supplement, 118.
(3) R.C. Cox, compiler, Trinity College School of Engineering: 'Graduates' in Engineering 1843-1992 (1993), unpaginated.
(4) IB 17, 15 Sep 1875, 253,357(illus.).
(5) R.C. Cox & M.H. Gould, Civil Engineering Heritage: Ireland (1998), 220.
(6) Burke's Irish Family Records, loc. cit., above; Who Was Who 1951-1960, 1095.
(7) IB 76, 15 Oct 1876, 301.
(8) From lists of members in TICEI.

6 work entries listed in chronological order for TOWNSEND, EDWARD

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Building: CO. GALWAY, ?, HOUSES
Date: 1875
Nature: DT designs labourers' cottages for Cos. Galway and Mayo. Three bedrooks 'which prevents the evil of the different sexes sleeping in one room'.
Refs: IB 17, 15 Sep 1875, 253

Building: CO. MAYO, ?, HOUSES
Date: 1875
Nature: DT designs labourers' cottages for Cos. Galway and Mayo. Three bedrooks 'which prevents the evil of the different sexes sleeping in one room'.
Refs: IB 17, 15 Sep 1875, 253

Date: 1876ca
Nature: 2-storey (with basement and gabled attic dormers) 5-bay hotel with 2-storey canted bay window at each end.
Refs: IB 18, 15 Oct 1876, 301(illus., drawn by W.J. Fennell))

Date: 1878
Nature: 'Mr Townsend' (perhaps Edward Townsend) wins competition for designing scheme of artisans' houses for Midland Great Western Railway Co.
Refs: IB 20, 15 Mar 1878, 95

Date: 1880ca
Nature: ET designs 'ornamental tomb' for Col. Thomas Seymour in demesne.  Contractor: Patrick Cody. (Burke's  LGI (1904) says that Thomas Seymour died 20 Jan 1881 though cited as defendant in Cody v. Seymour,  Jul 1881.)
Refs: Irish Times, 30 Jul 1881, 3.

Date: 1886a
Nature: New(?) town hall with tower (or addition to existing town hall?) for Tuam Town Commissioners. 'Mr Townsend, CE' requests immediate payment of commission of £93.14s. 'for commission due to him on the erection of the town hall'. Town hall stated to be leaking. Contractor: Thomas Egan, Tuam.
Refs: Tuam Herald, 8 May,30 Oct 1886.

Author Title Date Details
Townsend, Edward 'A new method of finding the angles between the face points and coursing spirals on the soffit of a skew arch' 1866? TICEI 8 (1862-66), 116
Townsend, Edward 'An easy proof of the prismodal formula with an accurate method of taking out the quantities of earth, and of setting out the half-breadth in a cutting with a steep gradient' 1868 TICEI 9 (1866-70), 28-31