Tag Archives: Thomas Rhodes

A distinguished visitor to the Shannon

Dwarkanauth Tagore, of Calcutta, the distinguished and princely East Indian, who is making a tour of the United Kingdom, arrived in this city, on Tuesday evening with his suit [sic], in an elegant drag with four horses, and he put up at Cruise’s hotel.

The native Prince merchant partook of a dejeune at Killaloe on Tuesday. The City of Dublin Steam Company placed all their vessels on the Upper Shannon, at his command, and they were gaily decorated with flags, in compliment to the distinguished stranger, who left Limerick this day on a visit to Killarney Lakes, and is expected to call at Derrynane, the seat of Mr O’Connell.

Dwarkanauth Tagore dined and slept at Lord Rosse’s, on Monday night, where he examined the prodigious telescope — drove to Banagher, on Tuesday morning, and embarked on board the Lansdown [sic] steamer, proceeded through Victoria Locks Meelick, accompanied by Colonel Jones, and Mr Rhodes CE, also by Mr Howell, Secretary to the Dublin Steam Company. He was much pleased with the new works at Meelick, and also with the operations of a diver in a helmet, who exhibited the mode of using that apparatus.

The dejeune on board the Lansdown was provided by the Steam Company. Several ladies and gentlemen came up by the Lady Burgoyne to join the party of [at?] Portumna in the Lansdown. After partaking of the good cheer, they had dancing and music on deck till they reached Killaloe, much to the amusement of the stranger guest, who felt edlighted, not only with the scenery of the lake, but also with the company of the ladies.

Limerick Reporter 5 September 1845

From the BNA

Demolishing the bridge at Athlone

If you happen to be thinking of demolishing the road bridge in Athlone at any time, please try to remove the foundation stone carefully, without breaking it, and look for a cavity.

Mr Rhodes, the principal Engineer of the River Shannon Improvement Works, having paid a visit of inspection to the bridge works of Athlone; a copperplate, with an inscription thereon, was deposited in a cavity in the foundation stone, which was laid on the 6th instant. The site on which the new bridge is to be erected is 70 yards up the river from the present bridge. The new bridge is to consist of three elliptical stone arches, each of 60 feet span, and 14 feet rise, and one iron swivel arch of 40 feet, to admit the passage of steam vessels of a large class.

The Galway Vindicator and Connaught Advertiser 27 November 1841

If you find the copperplate, do please tell us what the inscription says.

Myths and legends of the Shannon

I feel it necessary to point out that Thomas Rhodes (1789–1868), engineer to the Shannon Commissioners, whose name is on a plaque on Athlone bridge, was not a brother of Cecil Rhodes. Thomas was born near Bradford, the son of a carpenter called James Rhodes; Cecil was born in Bishop’s Stortford, the son of a clergyperson.

Bring back the Black

The Black Bridge at Plassey has been closed since the floods of November 2009. Its reopening seems to have a low priority; I suspect that is because the importance of the bridge in Ireland’s technological, economic, entrepreneurial and political history is not widely appreciated. Here is a page explaining some of the background and suggesting a context within which reopening might be justifiable.

Competition closed

Nobody has attempted to identify this quay, so the competition is now closed and I’ll drink the sherry myself.

It is, of course, the downstream quay at Clarecastle at the head of the Fergus Navigation.

Clarecastle downstream

Here is the upstream quay, just around the corner.

Clarecastle upstream

The upstream quay bears the following inscription.

Inscription at Clarecastle

I really must return and get a better photo when it’s less slippy. Note that, although this is on tidal waters, Thomas Rhodes was the engineer.

Did you know that Clarecastle still has its own port authority? Go to this excellent pub and ask John Power about it. His brother (Dr Joe) wrote the definitive history of Clarecastle. John has lots of interesting old photos and maps on display in a really good traditional pub. He’s got a facetweet thingie too.

A River Shannon lock

I’ve put up a page with photos of Athlone Lock on the River Shannon, including much elegant nineteenth-century equipment. I find I’m not entirely sure what it was all for, so if anyone can help by leaving a Comment, please do so.

I’ll do the same for a canal lock shortly.