Patrick Joseph Dodd
During our recent work on the design of the new boathouse for Inver Colpa Rowing Club on the Marsh Road, we carried out some background research to help inform the design process. As part of this research, we looked into the history of the original Drogheda Rowing Club who built a clubhouse in 1867 on a site very near where Inver Colpa RC operate today. The building was on the water’s edge in the shadow of the Viaduct on the northern back of the river. Rowing was a very popular sport in Drogheda back then and the club was very active and well supported. The original clubhouse was a timber structure and was built by a contractor called Mr. Pansing for a princely sum of £212. Sadly Mr. Pansing drowned before the completion of the project. The new building was seventy foot by forty foot and contained a meeting room and bathroom. The architect for the project was a Mr. P.J. Dodd.
We dug a little deeper to find out more about Patrick Joseph Dodd. There were two interesting things to note about P.J. Dodd. Firstly, it was the vast extent of work that he carried out in Drogheda and surrounding areas – he was obviously the leading (if not sole) architect in the town. Secondly, we were surprised that we had never heard of him. It struck us that despite being such a prominent figure in the town and his portfolio of work, he is largely forgotten. McKevitt King Architects has been in existence for almost 50 years and in that time we have unknowingly worked on a number of his buildings. Perhaps in 125 years we will be consigned to history and forgotten about too!
To list some notable works by P.J. Dodd, he designed St. Mary's Church in James Street, St. Peter's Church of Ireland, 'The Belfast Bank' Laurence Street (now Axa Insurance) and the Chapel in the Chord Cemetery, to name but a few. A full list of works by P.J. Dodd can be found here at the Irish Architectural Archive. He also designed the memorial erected at the foot of Peter Street (later moved to the Mall) to honour Benjamin Whitworth, a local Member of Parliament and first Commodore of the Rowing Club. A commission perhaps obtained through his connections in the Rowing Club!
Like all good architects, PJ Dodd was a member of the RIAI (in the 1860s), back when the RIAI was in its infancy. He lived in Great Brunswick Street, Dublin before coming to Drogheda, where he then took up residence in No.1 St Catherine's Terrace followed by 15 William Street. Sadly, PJ Dodd died at the young age of 47. Further biography (from the Irish Architectural Archive):
Architect, of Drogheda. Dodd was born in Dublin in 1845, one of the seven sons by his first marriage of William Dodd. He was articled to Charles Geoghegan circa 1865 and from 1865-1866 attended sessions of the RIAI's newly formed but poorly supported Class for Architectural Study. He left Geoghegan's office early in 1867 to become second assistant county surveyor for Louth under John Neville , probably based in Dundalk. This post had to be given up after he was appointed superintendent to the Boyne Canal by the Board of Works in April 1870. By the early 1870s he was living in Drogheda and beginning to establish what developed into a thriving private architectural practice. In April 1874 he was appointed superintendent to the Board of Guardians for the Drogheda Union and later also for the Ardee Union. Dodd died on 19 January 1892 from the effects of influenza, caught during an epidemic in Drogheda in December 1891. He had married in September 1880 Margaret Mary, daughter of Margaret Curran, a widow, who ran a public house in Peter Street, Drogheda. After his death, Margaret Dodd, who was left with five children, sold the architectural practice to Anthony Scott of Navan.
So here’s to remembering Patrick Joseph Dodd. We would like to think that we continue to carry the baton for all the past architects of Drogheda.