Dictionary of Irish Architects 1720 - 1940

Architect, of Dublin. Stephen Kelly was born in Dublin on 11 August 1891, the eldest son in a family of seven boys and six girls. His father, William Kelly, was a civil servant attached to the Department of Justice at Dublin Castle, whose duties were associated with the administration of the Royal Irish Constabulary; his mother, born Mary O'Hanlon, was a Dubliner. The family lived at Ard Grianan at the corner of the North Circular Road and Ellesmere Avenue. Young Stephen Kelly was educated at the Christian Brothers schools in St Mary's Place, Dublin, and North Richmond Street. He entered the Christian Brothers Juniorate at Baldoyle on 16 July 1906 and was received into the Noviciate at Marino on 2 July 1907. He began his teaching practice in Omagh on 1 January 1909 and subsequently taught at many schools throughout the country. He left the Christian Brothers of his own will when his annual vows expired on 24 December 1914.

On leaving the Christian Brothers, Kelly became a pupil in the office of RUDOLF MAXIMILIAN BUTLER  RUDOLF MAXIMILIAN BUTLER where his childhood friend and future partner, ALFRED EDWIN JONES ALFRED EDWIN JONES , was chief assistant. He also studied at the Architectural Association, the Dublin Metropolitan School of Art and the Bolton Street Technical Schools. After he had completed his pupilage with Butler, he became an assistant in the office of JOHN JOSEPH ROBINSON JOHN JOSEPH ROBINSON . In 1919 he entered into partnership with Alfred Jones as JONES & JONES & amp; KELLY KELLY . The partnership was unbroken until his death.

Kelly became ill in 1949. His condition deteriorated at the end of the year and he was unable to work all through 1950. He died at home on 11 May 1951 and was buried on 14 May. He was survived by his widow, Lily (née Doyle), two sons and two daughters. In an obituary in the Irish Builder, Harry Allberry described him as a retiring man, with 'a quiet, attractive charm of manner and a kindly disposition' whose 'knowledge and sound judgement, combined with scupulous equity, endeared him to his associates and won for him the trust of the building industry'. His 'talent for water-colour painting was modestly concealed'. Jones's anecdotes suggest that he was also a lively companion.

AAI : elected member, 1915; winner of Vice-President's Prize and Class Work Prize for session 1915-16;(1) winner of Institute Prize, for session 1916-17;(2) junior hon. secretary, 1918-19; committee member 1925-1928; hon. treasurer, 1926-27.
RIAI: admitted as student, 1919; elected member by exam, 1921; hon. treasurer, 1937;(3) elected fellow, 21 August 1936;(4) vice-president, 1943-5; chairman of committee which produced report on prefabricated housing, 1945;(5) president, 1946-1948.(6)
RIBA: fellow, by direct election, 1947.(7)

Addresses: Work: 23 Kildare Street, 1916-1917; American Chambers, Sackville Street, 1919; 17 South Frederick Street, 1920 until death.
Home: Coolgariff, Stillorgan, Co. Dublin, 1918; 6 St Edward's Terrace, Rathgar, 1921; Coolgraney, Roebuck Road, Clonskeagh, <=1930 until death.

A student drawing by Kelly of the Doric order from the Temple of Theseus, Athens, is in the IAA, Michael Scott Collection, 89/44.61.

For works, see works of JONES & JONES & amp; KELLY; see also BIBLIOGRAPHY. BIBLIOGRAPHY.


All information in this entry not otherwise accounted for is from Alfred Jones's MS account of Kelly's life in Jones file K24, part of which was published in his 'Reminiscences of a Dublin Architect' (IB 111, 3 May 1969, 296), from RIAI and AAI lists of officers and members, and from Thom's directories. An obituary of Kelly by H[arry] A[llberry] is in IB, 26 May 1951, 554; this is reproduced in a slightly shortened form in RIAI Year Book (1951-52), 16. A photograph of Kelly is in RIAI Year Book (1946), 6.  His father's name was supplied by Paula O'Kelly, daughter-in-law of his brother Fergus (Feb, 2010).

(1) AAI Year Book 1916-1917, 41.
(2) AAI Year Book 1917-1918, 31.
(3) JRIAI (1937), 14; IB 80, 8 Jan 1938, 10.
(4) JRIAI (1937), 13; IB 78, 5 Sep 1936, 780.
(5) IB 87, 19 May 1945, 236.
(6) IB 88, 26 Jan 1946, 42; 89, 8 Feb 1947, 88.
(7) IB 89, 17 May 1947, 352.