Dictionary of Irish Architects 1720 - 1940

County surveyor for the south district of Co. Donegal, 1913-1934 and for the whole county, 1934-1938.  John Caffrey, a son of John Caffrey and Sarah McKee, was born in Belfast on 16 October 1873. He was a pupil at the Hardinge Street School, Belfast, from 1881 to 1888, and then entered the building trade before qualifying as a surveyor. He attended the Belfast Technical School, the Municipal Technical Institute, Dublin, and summer classes for teachers at the Royal College of Science in Dublin and London. From 1898 to 1903 he was an assistant to JAMES MUNCE JAMES MUNCE , the assistant city surveyor in Belfast. He also worked for HENRY ALBERT CUTLER HENRY ALBERT CUTLER , the city surveyor, in 1904 and as resident engineer for KAYE PARRY & KAYE PARRY & amp; ROSS of Dublin for the construction of inverted syphons on the Armagh-Keady railway in 1907. He became principal of Armagh Technical School in 1907, and the following year Armagh City Council appointed him architect for the new city hall.(1) The appointment was questioned by HENRY C. PARKINSON  HENRY C. PARKINSON on the grounds that Caffrey, who was already receiving a salary partially funded by the ratepayers, 'had not at any time been a practising architect'.(2) Caffrey was still principal of the technical school in 1911, when he acted as architect for the conversion of the market house into new premises for the school.(3) Between 1910 and 1913, by his own account, he designed and supervised the construction of a number of other buildings in Armagh. He was appointed county surveyor for the south district of Co. Donegal in March 1913 at a salary of £400 per annum; in October 1934 he became surveyor for the whole county at a salary of £1000 per annum and was given two assistants, one being his son JOHN J. CAFFREY JOHN J. CAFFREY . He held the post until March 1938 when he retired after a long illness.(4)

John Caffrey died in 1947. He had married his Swiss-born wife, Jeanne, in 1899, and at the time of the 1911 census had three daughters as well as his son, John.

ICEI: elected member, 3 January 1916; not listed as member by 1939.
Royal Sanitary Institute: member by 1908.(5)

Addresses: Corporation (townland) Armagh, 1911; Ardchicken, Donegal, 1915; Laputa, Ballyshannon, 1922-1923;(6) Red House, Castlefinn, <=1926->=1937.



All information in this entry not otherwise referenced is from ICEI membership applications, IV, 197, ICEI membership lists Thom's directories, an article by Caffrey's grandson in an unidentified IEI booklet, 6 (with a portrait of Caffrey on p.45), and Brendan O'Donoghue, The Irish County Surveyors 1834-1944 (Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2007), 123-4.

(1) IB 50, 21 Mar,30 May 1908, 181,338.
(2) IB 50, 17 Oct 1908, 626.
(3) IB 53, 4 Mar 1911, 146.
(4) B.O'D.
(5) IB 50, 30 May 1908, 338.
(6) IB 65, 27 Jan 1923, 62.

5 work entries listed in chronological order for CAFFREY, JOHN

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Date: 1908-10
Nature: Renovation & conversion of Tontine into Town Hall. Formally opened, Dec 1909.
Refs: IB 50, 21 Mar,8 Aug,5 Sep 1908, 181,489,551; 51, 25 Dec 1909, 817; 52, 11 Jun,20 Aug 1910, 381,531;  Freeman's Journal, 27 Aug 1908;  Weekly Irish Times, 25 Dec 1909;   Kevin V. Mulligan, The Buildings of Ireland: South Ulster (2013), 129.

Date: 1910-11
Nature: Conversion of Market House into technical school. Contractor: Robert Cullen, Portadown.
Refs: IB 52, 5 Mar,11 Jun 1910, 149,381; 53, 4 Mar 1911, 146; R. McKinstry, R. Oram, R. Weatherup & P. Wilson, The Buildings of Armagh (UAHS, 1992), 160; Brendan O'Donoghue, The Irish County Surveyors 1834-1944 (Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2007), 123;  Kevin V. Mulligan, The Buildings of Ireland: South Ulster (2013), 122. 

Date: 1911
Nature: JC designs and supervises construction of steam baking premises.
Refs: ICEI membership applications, IV, 197

Date: 1914
Nature: New girder bridge designed by JC.
Refs: ICEI membership applications, IV, 197

Date: 1923
Nature: 6 houses for working class, for Town Commissioners
Refs: IB 65, 27 Jan 1923, 62