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Richard Griffith

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Sir Richard Griffith, Bart. (1784-1878)

1839 Richard Griffith of Dublin, became a member of the Institution of Civil Engineers.[1]

1879 Obituary [2]

SIR RICHARD GRIFFITH, BART.,~ was born in Hume Street, Dublin, on the 20th of September, 1784, and in l797 obtained a commission as lieutenant in the Royal Irish Artillery, which he held for only one year, the corps being disbanded by the Act of Union.

Turning his attention to civil engineering, he applied himself to the study of mining in Cornwall, and in various districts of England, Wales, and Scotland, completing his general education at Edinburgh, and he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in that city at the early age of twenty-three.

Immediately afterwards he returned to Ireland and entered upon his professional career. He then commenced, in connection with the Royal Dublin Society, the publication of “A Geological and Mining Examination of the Leinster Coal District,” and in 1814 completed the work.

In 1809 he received his first public appointment as engineer by the Commissioners selected to inquire into the practicability of draining and improving the bogs of Ireland, and at the same time was selected to fill the office of Inspector-General of His Majesty’s Royal Mines in Ireland.

After the Irish famine in 1822, the Viceroy, Lord Wellesley, appointed Mr. Griffith, as engineer, to improve and construct roads in the counties of Cork, Kerry, and Limerick. The result of his labours was that in the year 1830, 250 miles of new roads had been made, and places which had been before inaccessible were brought within easy reach of civilization and authority. While he was thus engaged, the first edition of the geological map of Ireland was published, and, before the institution of the Ordnance Survey, he was appointed General Boundary Surveyor.

In 1828 the general scheme, which was however initiated by other officers, was organized, and he was appointed Commissioner for the general survey and valuation of rateable property. He was subsequently employed by t,he Government on various public undertakings, and was, in fact, referred to as an authority in engineering and other works for the improvement of the country. One of the most useful was the diversion of the River Liffey in Dublin. He was appointed one of the Commissioners for the improvement of the Shannon, and to various other public positions, the most important of which was the Board of Works, of which he was nominated deputy-chairman in 1846, after the memorable famine.

In 1854, on the outbreak of the Russian war, he became chairman in place of Sir Henry D. Jones, who was ordered to the Crimea. In this office he had charge of the Land Improvement and Drainage Works. He was also the chief =&le as regards the public buildings erected by the Government, and in the construction of its national gallery and museum of natural history he showed, if not classical taste, at least a practical knowledge and foresight in working out the design with a view to utility.

In 1855, on the completion of his geological map of Ireland, he was presented by the late Professor Forbes, President of the Geological Society of London, with the Wollaston Medal, and in 1858 he was created a baronet in recognition of his public service.

Sir Richard Griffith was elected a Member of the Institution on the 11th of June, 1839, and he died on the 2nd of September, 1878.

1879 Obituary [3]

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