Sir John Benson (1812-74)

His obituary in The Irish Builder, November 1 1874, “Sir John Benson, whose death took place at Alexander-square, Brompton, some days since, will be remembered chiefly in connection with the Dublin Exhibition Building, his design being the one chosen. He was for some years the engineer to the Cork Harbour Board, and under his direction the navigation of the river was much improved. The Water Works in Cork were also designed by him, and St. Patrick’s Chapel and other Catholic churches and bridges”. He held the appointment of engineer to different railways in the south of Ireland. His last works before leaving this country for England were, designs for raising the roof of St. Patrick’s Chapel, and for the rebuilding of St. Luke’s Church, Cork.

Sir John was born in Collooney, County Sligo, in 1812. During the year of the severe famine he was county surveyor forthe East Riding of Cork, and his labours were trying and arduous at that time. At the opening of the Dublin Exhibition at Leinster Lawn, in 1853, which arose through the munificence of the late William Dargan, the architect was knighted by the then Lord Lieutenant, the Earl of St. Germans. Sir John was a member of the Institution of Civil Engineers, and the architect of a number of works in the south of Ireland.”