Dictionary of Irish Architects 1720 - 1940

Civil engineer, of Cork and London, for a full biography of whom see his obituary in Min.Proc.Inst.CE 40 (1874-75, Pt II), 246-251. Richard Beamish, who was born on 16 July 1798,(1) was the fourth surviving son of William Beamish, of Beaumont, Co. Cork. In 1824, after several years in the Coldstream Guards, he decided to become a civil engineer. He acted for a time as an assistant to ISAMBARD KINGDOM BRUNEL  ISAMBARD KINGDOM BRUNEL on the Thames Tunnel works before returning to Ireland in about 1828 on the death of his father. For the next six years he was employed by the Grand Juries of Co. Cork and the neighbouring counties on a variety of public works. In 1834, following the establishment of the system of county surveyorships in accordance with the provisions of the Grand Jury (Ireland) Art of 1833, he returned to England(2) as Brunel's resident engineer at the Thames Tunnel. He did not live in Ireland again, but in 1845 he was employed by Brunel to prepare the parliamentary plans for the Cork & Waterford Railway.  He was the author of a memoir of Brunel's father, MARC ISAMBARD BRUNEL MARC ISAMBARD BRUNEL , which was published in 1862.

Beamish is referred to by Sir THOMAS DEANE  THOMAS DEANE in connection with the works to eradicate dry rot in Holy Trinity (CI) Church, Cork, 1830, which involved replacing the timber columns supporting the gallery with iron ones: '… I must notice the clever plan of my friend, Richard Beamish, Esq., C.E., who caused a screw to be placed in the head of each iron column, which was screwed up, so as to take the load before the temporary supports were removed, thereby avoiding the fracture consequent on ordinary wedging…'.(3)

Inst.CE: elected member, 27 January 1829.
Royal Society: elected fellow, 1836.


(1) B. Burke, Landed Gentry of Ireland (1904), 33.
(2) Although, according to the obituary, he had warmly supported the reform of the Grand Jury system, 'from the peculiar framing of the law, he, as a landed proprietor, could not take any professional part in its application'.
(3) B 7, 7 Jul 1849, 321 (reprinting paper by Deane published in TICEI 2 (1847), 72).