William Henry Deane (1816-1887), Architect of Killorglin County Bridge.


Above; The plaque to commemorate the building of Killorglin County Bridge.

William Henry Deane was born on the 19th of December 1815. He was the son of David Deane from Co. Cork and Catherine, daughter of Aurthur Ussher of Camphire Co. Waterford. He was living at Raffeen Douglas Co. Cork when he placed a full page advertisement in Aldwell’s Cork County and City Post Office General Directory for 1844-45 as a land surveyor who could also undertake designs for mansions, villas and farm offices. He was probably still living in Cork when he drew elevations of King Street and Patrick’s Quay to illustrate the rental of properties on Harrington’s estate to be sold in 1851 under the provisions of the Incumbered Estates Act of 1849. William was a clerk of works under the Board of Works when he was appointed county surveyor for the South Riding of Co. Tipperary on the 22th of March 1852, in succession to Samuel Jones who had been dismissed. Deane too was similary dismissed by the Grand Jury in July 1860 for having failed to comply with their directions. Although his appeal against the dismissal had been unsuccessful, the Chief Secretary’s office took the view that he should not be disbarred from continuing to serve as a county surveyor and in August 1860 he was appointed to the eastern district of Co. Tyrone.

In January 1865, Deane’s salary was raised from £300 to £400 per annum.  After an action had been taken against him by one of his assistants for the repayment of a loan of £20, he was transferred to the surveyorship of the southern district of Co. Mayo in July 1868, changing places with William Augustus Tracey. Two further transfers took place: to Co. Fermanagh in August 1876 and to Co. Kerry in October of the same year. He remained in Co. Kerry post for the rest of his life.

Deane died on the 22th of April 1887, aged seventy at his home in Tralee. He was married twice, first to Anne Ewing on the 25th of January 1849 and secondly to Julia-Caroline, daughter of Richard Cowran-Chambers of Clonmel. Two sons from his second marriage, John and David became engineers and settled in British Columbia.

Construction work began on the Killorglin County Bridge on the 1st of August 1882 at a cost of £9000. The building contractor employed was R.W. Johnstone. The bridge as it stands today replaced an older wooden bridge that apparently got covered during high spring tides. Killorglin Bridge is built from local limestone brought by horse and cart from Steelroe Quarries. Stonecutters shaped each stone by hand to make up the piers, the eight stone arches and the side walls of the bridge. Architectural references measure each arch at 50ft (15.24m) long, making a total length of 400ft (123m). Construction of the bridge was completed on the 1st of January 1885.


Above; Killorglin County Bridge during and after construction c1882-1895

(Photographs courtesy of the ‘Lawrence collection’)