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British Industrial History

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William James Doherty

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William James Doherty (1834-1898)

1899 Obituary [1]

WILLIAM JAMES DOHERTY was born in 1834 at Buncrana, near Londonderry. On leaving school he served under Mr. James Bayliss, Engineer for Lough Swilly Reclamation Works.

In 1856 he was in charge of the survey and laying out of the Londonderry and Lough Swilly Railway, and of the Derry Wharf contract.

From the end of 1856 to 1858 he acted as the Contractors’ Engineer on the Birkenhead Dock Works and on the Liverpool Docks, and then occupied for four years a similar position on the Hull Dock Works.

In 1863 Mr. Uoherty started a business on his own account as a Contractor in Ireland. Among the undertakings he carried out in that capacity may be mentioned Graving and Dock Works, Queen’s Quay, Waterworks and municipal improvements at Belfast; and at Dublin the reconstruction of Great Britain and a large portion of Sir John Rogerson’s Quays, Carlisle and Essex Bridges, and the building of Butt Bridge, and Guinness’s Wharf.

He also constructed the Dodder Valley Sewage Works, the piers at Teelin, Carrigaholt, and Clogher Head; Ardglass Harbour, Bray Harbour, Mullingar Barracks, and Carrickfergus Waterworks.

The greatest of his undertakings was probably the Maryport Docks in Cumberland, and the pier at Workington was also constructed by him. He invented an improved pile-driving machine, which he set to work in the Liffey. He was one of the earliest to press for an improved system of education for Ireland.

Mr. Doherty was a High Sheriff of the City of Dublin, and was nominated for the Chief Magistracy in 1894. That office, however, he declined on medical advice,.his health having for several years given cause for anxiety. In addition to his professional duties Mr. Doherty devoted much time to literary and antiquarian work, and wrote several Papers and two volumes-one treating of the antiquities of Tyrconnell and Innishowen, and the other of their connection with letters.

He was a Member of the Royal Irish Academy and of the Institution of Civil Engineers of Ireland, and was elected an Associate of this Institution on the 7th December, 1875.

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