Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Lanyon, Charles

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LANYON, Sir CHARLES (1813–1889), civil engineer, son of John Jenkinson Lanyon of Eastbourne, Sussex, by Catherine Anne Mortimer, was born at Eastbourne, 6 Jan. 1813. Having received his early education at a private school in his native place, he was articled to the late Jacob Owen of the Irish board of works, Dublin, in preparation for the profession of civil engineer. He subsequently married Owen's daughter Elizabeth Helen. In 1835, at the first examination for Irish county surveyorships, Lanyon took second place; he was appointed county surveyor of Kildare, and in the following year transferred at his own request to co. Antrim. Here he executed several works of great importance, among others the constructing of the great coast road from Larne to Portrush, and he designed and erected the Queen's and Ormeau bridges over the Lagan at Belfast. He made several of the chief local railways, such as the Belfast and Ballymona line and its extensions to Cookstown and Portrush, now amalgamated with other lines, and forming part of the Belfast and Northern Counties railway. He was also engineer of the Belfast, Holywood, and Bangor railway, and the Carrickfergus and Larne line. He was architect of some of the principal buildings in Belfast, such as the Queen's College, the Court-house, the County Gaol, the Custom House, and the Institutions for the Deaf and Dumb and the Blind. In 1860 he resigned the county surveyorship. In 1862 he became mayor of Belfast, and in 1866 was returned in the conservative interest as one of the members for the borough. In 1868 he was defeated at the polls. In 1876 he served as high sheriff of co. Antrim. He was one of the Belfast harbour commissioners and a deputy lieutenant and magistrate of the county. In 1862 he was elected president of the Royal Institute of Architects of Ireland, and held office till 1868, when he was knighted by the Duke of Abercorn, then lord-lieutenant. He was also a fellow of the Institute of British Architects and a member of the Institute of Civil Engineers both of England and Ireland. For a long time he was a prominent member of the masonic body, in which he rose to be grand master of the province of Antrim. He died, after a protracted illness, at his residence, The Abbey, White Abbey, co. Antrim, on 31 May 1889, and was buried in the churchyard of Newtownbreda, near Belfast. His wife died in 1858, leaving a son, William, afterwards Sir William Owen Lanyon, who is separately noticed.

[Personal knowledge; Engineer, 7 June 1889; Times, 5 June 1889; Iron, 7 June 1889.]

T. H.