c1820 – 1872
Caldbeck was born in the early 1820s into a family
living at Moyle Park Clondalkin near
might not seem too promising, but fortunately William Caldbeck’s
Account Book for the years between 1844 and 1860 has been preserved in the
Irish Architectural Archive, and so more is known about him than would
otherwise be the case. Caldbeck designed attractive
His steadiest income was to come from the National Bank, for whom he designed bank houses and banks in many Irish towns. The first of these was in 1853 at Kells Co Meath, for the plans of which he received £70. In 1857 he designed the Roman Catholic church at Clondalkin, built in a Gothic revival style on land donated by his own family. In 1862-3, both the Town Hall and the National Bank (now the Bank of Ireland) in Mountmellick were designed by Caldbeck.
Caldbeck did not have many noble clients
but another local commission in which he was involved was at the demesne
away, the 3rd Earl of Portarlington was starting to complete the building of
Caldbeck is also credited with the service wing of the house, and other small commissions on the estate such as gardeners’ cottages and gate lodges.
1867, Caldbeck was employed by Lord Greville to rebuild the Market House in Mullingar
Co Westmeath. In
Market House Mullingar
died in March 1872 (leaving his wife and children well provided for, wrote the Irish Builder) and was buried in
The building known variously as the Dower House or Bachelors’ Quarters was built by the architect William Caldbeck in the mid-late 19th century. It was commissioned by the third Earl of Portarlington, who also employed Caldbeck to finish the rotunda, drawing room and library.
It was originally connected to the main house by a long semi-circular passageway known as the Serpentine Corridor. In the year 1900, it contained 11 bedrooms, an office, a billiards room, a ‘flower room’, and two rooms used for storing lumber. The billiards room contained a billiards table, two card-tables and a gramophone and was decorated with carved ivory mirrors. The flower room contained many flower-stands, prints and pictures, along with cases of stuffed birds. Some of the bedrooms were used for servants; the valet’s room was located here, for example, as was the bedroom of the retired housemaid, Anne Conway.
In his diary, Viscount Carlow recalls that the bachelors’ quarters and billiards room were seldom used in the last ten years of family occupancy at Emo. During the time of the Jesuits at St Mary’s Emo, the eminent photographer Fr Browne had a room here. Today, the building houses the tea rooms and has been beautifully restored.
Obituary, The Irish Builder
It is with the deepest feelings of regret that we have to record the sudden death of the above respected and valued member of the architectural profession, which took place at his town residence 24 Harcourt Street on Friday night, the 29th ult.
Mr Caldbeck was long and favourably known to the public as an
eminent and skilful architect, and enjoyed an extensive practice throughout
There is one consolation to his many friends, that he has left his family – whom he dearly and affectionately loved – perfectly independent, but they nevertheless mourn his loss with the most heartfelt regret, and feel that time alone and a kind Providence can sustain them in the grief they feel for being deprived of a fond husband and a devoted father.
Irish Architectural Archive (95/150)
Caldbeck’s personal account book for the years 1844
– 1860 records a professional income which rose from £41-13-0 in 1844 to £1300-10-4
in 1859. Unfortunately, the handwriting
is not easily legible and the entries are not as logical as one would wish;
however, the following are the entries relevant to
|1855 June 30th||To attendance at Emo with Mr Pigott agent to survey of house and inspecting sites for gate and gardeners lodges and examining cottage house (?) building||£3-9-0|
|July 18th||Plans for alteration of house and tracings of same (?)||£5-5-0|
|July 18th||To plans for gate and gardeners lodges (?) and tracing of same per request of Mr Pigott||£9-9-0|
|August 7th||To attendance on Lady Portarlington to confer about plans of lodge (?) and alteration of house per Mr Pigott's request and conferring with Mr P about lodge (?) and Police Barracks now building, fitting shoots for same, all day||£3-3-0|
|1856 October||Special visit (?) Mr Pigott's letter to see about finish of top of house||£3-3-0|
|1857 July 30th||From Lord Portarlington per Mr Pigott esq ... (illegible) ... plans||£30-0-0|
|October||Cash advanced Mr Pigott||£3-0-0|
|1858 June 17th||From Lord Portarlington per Mr Pigott esq a bill at ... (illegible) .. for travelling expenses||£30-0-0|
|1859 November 7th||
From the Right Honbl Lord Portarlington on account of fees for works at Emo Park
William Caldbeck’s Account Book (courtesy Irish Architectural Archive)