County surveyor for Cos. Limerick (Western Division), Kildare and Antrim. John Henry Brett, a son of HENRY BRETT and brother of HENRY CHARLES BRETT , was born about 1835 at Tobercurry, Co. Sligo, and educated at Waterford Academy and privately. He was first employed on railway work under WILLIAM DARGAN . In 1863 he was appointed county surveyor for the western division of Co. Limerick, based in Rathkeale, and in 1869 county surveyor for Kildare; he applied successfully for an increase in salary in 1871 and again, this time unsuccessfully, in 1876. By this time he was also working privately in Dublin in partnership with his father; a little later, they were joined by his brother Henry Charles. The two brothers continued in private practice after their father's death as John H. & H.C. Brett.
In 1885 Brett was appointed county surveyor for Co. Antrim in place of ALEXANDER TATE . He was succeeded by his assistant county surveyor DAVID MEGAW in February 1914. On his retirement he was made a JP for Co. Antrim.
Brett married Mary Josephine, daughter of James Brady, MD, of Dublin, in about 1876 and had a daughter and five sons. His pupils and assistants included ALEXANDER MITCHELL BURDEN and CHARLES BOOTH JONES.
AAI: elected member, November 1872.
ICEI: elected member, 11 February 1874.
Association of Municipal and County Engineers: elected member, 1 August 1891.
Address: Home: 3 Alexandra Gardens, Fortwilliam Park, Belfast, <=1909->=1911.
See WORKS and BIBLIOGRAPHY . See also HENRY BRETT & amp; SON(S).
The fullest account of Brett's life and particularly of his career as a county surveyor is in Brendan O'Donoghue, The Irish County Surveyors 1834-1944 (Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2007), 115-117. All information and quotations not otherwise accounted for come from the biography of Brett in R.M. Young, Belfast and the Province of Ulster in the 20th Century (1909), 594, which is illustrated with a portrait photograph, and from the brief obituary in IB 62, 3 Jan 1920, 15, with additional data extracted by Jones from Thom's directories.
County surveyors made themselves unpopular by refusing to issue false certificates to road contractors for work not properly executed (The Times, 3 Nov 1869; reference from Brendan O'Donoghue).
IB 18, 1 Aug 1876, 229.
IB 56, 28 Feb 1914, 127.
1911 census, http://www.census.nationalarchives.ie/reels/nai001414300/ (last visited Mar 2009).
IB 14, 15 Oct,15 Nov 1872, 281,313.
TICEI 10 (1875), 101.
Transactions of the Incorporated Association of Municipal and County Engineers 35 (1908-9), list of members, x.