Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Papworth, George

PAPWORTH, GEORGE (1781–1855), architect, third son of John Papworth (1750–1799) and uncle of Edgar George Papworth [q. v.], was born 9 May 1781. On his father's death in 1799 he became a pupil and clerk in the office of his elder brother, John Buonarotti Papworth [q. v.] From 1804 to 1806 he was engaged at Northampton in the office of an architect named Kershore. From 1806 to 1812 he superintended the affairs of the company working in Dublin the patent of Sir James Wright, bart. [q. v.], for the manufacture of stone tubes for pipes and for cutting circular work. Finally settling in Dublin, he practised architecture, and gained many distinguished patrons, including Lords Westmeath and Gormanston. In 1812 he was employed on large additions at the Dublin Library Society in D'Olier Street; in 1822 on the court-house at Castlebar, co. Mayo; in 1824–6 on Portumna Castle, co. Galway, for the Marquis of Clanricarde. Between 1822 and 1827 he constructed the King's bridge over the river Liffey, near Phœnix Park, Dublin. This was an early example of work in cast iron. Beautiful in design and light in appearance, it consisted of one arch 100 feet in span, and was very thoroughly built. Subsequently he designed two large Roman catholic chapels in Dublin, one in Marlborough Street and the other at the Whitefriars or Carmelite friary; and among the private residences he undertook were Kilcorban House, co. Galway, for Sir Thomas N. Redington in 1836; Brennanstown House, co. Dublin, for Joseph Pain, esq., in 1842; Seafield, co. Sligo, for J. Phibbs, esq., in 1842; and the mansions in Kenure Park, Rush Park, co. Dublin, for Sir Roger Palmer, bart., also in 1842. In 1849 he built the Kilkenny lunatic asylum, in 1851 the museum of Irish industry, Stephen's Green, and in 1852 the freemasons' orphan school, on the Grand Canal. From 1837 to 1842 he acted as architect to the ecclesiastical commissioners for the province of Connaught, where he designed many churches and residences. He later held the appointment as architect to the Dublin and Drogheda railway, and to the Royal Bank in Foster Place, Dublin. He had been admitted into the Royal Hibernian Academy in 1831, and in 1849 he was chosen treasurer of that society.

Papworth was the first to introduce into Dublin, and in Ireland generally, external decoration in architectural design, especially in private houses, and practically created a new school of architecture in Ireland. He had great skill as a draughtsman and colourist. His knowledge of construction was exceptionally accurate. An extensive warehouse built by him on the marsh at the banks of the river Liffey, near the custom-house, sank bodily about eighteen inches. Papworth had foreseen the inevitable result, and no repair or alteration was needed for the building's security beyond screwing up some ironwork, for which he had made ample provision. His amiability and vivacity made him popular with all classes of society.

He died 14 March 1855, aged nearly 75. He had married, in 1808, Margaret Davis. Of his numerous family, his son John Thomas Papworth (1809–1841), honorary secretary to the Institute of Irish Architects, assisted his father; designed on his own account the monument to John Philpot Curran [q. v.] in Glasnevin cemetery; and extensive alterations to Leinster House, Kildare Street, to adapt it for the museum of Irish industry, with lecture and other rooms, which were completed under the superintendence of his father. He died in 1841. Collins Edgar Papworth (1824–1862), after holding an appointment in the colonial engineers' office at Melbourne, practised there as architect and surveyor. A third son, Charles William, succeeded to his father's practice.

[Private information; Dictionary of Architecture, Arch. Publ. Soc. vi. 39; Builder, 1855, xiii. 150, giving a view and description of Rush Park. Wright's Ireland Illustrated, 1829, gives views of one of the two chapels and of the bridge.]

W. P.-h.