Dictionary of Irish Architects 1720 - 1940

Architect, builder and measurer, of Dublin. Matthew Williamson was a brother of JOHN and ARTHUR WILLIAMSON. T ARTHUR WILLIAMSON. T he brothers had connections with Armagh, where they may have been born and brought up, and family ties with FRANCIS JOHNSTON  FRANCIS JOHNSTON and WILLIAM MURRAY WILLIAM MURRAY , who was their nephew.(1) Although Matthew Williamson cannot have been born much later than 1774 as he married in 1792, nothing is known of his career until the opening of the nineteenth century. A lease of 1801 gives his address as 5 Graham Row, Dublin. From 1804 onwards he and his brothers were leasing development sites in Paradise Row (later Wellington Street). In 1810 Francis Johnston recommended him to the Board of Works to replace DOMINICK MADDEN  DOMINICK MADDEN as measurer, but the Board chose BRYAN BOLGER  BRYAN BOLGER instead.(2) The first - and only - known drawing by or attributed to him is a 'Section of the Salloon [rotunda]at Emo Park' - apparently a proposed design - which is inscribed in a different but contemporary hand 'by M. Williamson 1812'. He first appears in the Dublin directories in 1815 as an architect at 26 Paradise Row. The description changes to that of builder and measurer in the edition for 1822, and he disappears after 1829. In fact he seems to have died in 1827 or 1828.    According to his fellow tradesmen, writing in 1834, his business had been extensive - he had employed fifteen men - and he had died wealthy.(3)     His widow Margaret (née Lennon) , whom he had married in 1792, survived him and was living at 33 Paradise Row - the house formerly occupied by her brother-in-law John Williamson - in 1834. All three brothers subscribed to WILLIAM STITT' WILLIAM STITT' s The Practical Architect's Ready Assistant; or Builder's Complete Companion (1819).

Addresses: 5 Graham Row, 1801; 26 Paradise Row (alias Wellington Street), 1815 until death.



All information in this entry not otherwise accounted for is from Anne Lavin's detailed study 'Leinster Square (with Prince Arthur Terrace) Rathmines: an early suburban speculative terraced housing development 1830-1852', MUBC thesis, University College, Dublin, 1995, 34-35.

(1) There was more than one link between the families: Johnston and Murray's aunt Anne Johnston had married a Matthew Williamson, the Williamsons' sister Elizabeth was Murray's mother, and later John Williamson's daughter Henrietta was to marry a son of Francis Johnston's half-brother Andrew.
(2) Board of Works minutes, 15 Jan, 2 Feb 1810 (IAA, Edward McParland files, Acc. 2008/44).
(3) Royal Irish Academy, Haliday MS 4B 31.

1 work entries listed in chronological order for WILLIAMSON, MATTHEW

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Date: 1812
Nature: Section of rotunda inscr. in a contemporary hand 'by M. Williamson 1812'.
Refs: Drawing in Emo Court collection (photograph in IAA).