It’s great to see that essential repairs have finally begun on Lucan Bridge, in recent years some of the capping had come loose and some had disappeared while much of the stone work needed re pointing and the balustrades required repainting.
Lucan Bridge with a span of 33 metres (110 feet) is the largest single span masonry arch bridge in Ireland. Coursed squared limestone walls and abutments, segmental arch with slender ashlar voussoirs and double keystone. The cast-iron balustrades were done by the Royal Phoenix ironworks of Parkgate Street, Dublin – finished with stone coping.
The bridge was designed and built by British architect George Knowles and assisted by James Savage in 1814. The bridge replaced an earlier one which was swept away by floods in 1786 part of which can still be seen by the weir on the village side.
George Knowles, who was born in Yorkshire in about 1776? he came to work in Ireland during the first and second decades of the nineteenth century. He was connected both as a designer and contractor with the building of the Royal Canal.
Knowles and Savage also worked on Richmond Bridge which replaced Ormond Bridge which it too was swept away by flooding in 1802.
Around 1821 Knowles was back living at Lucan House, (cant find out if he named the house after his time in Lucan) Sharow, Yorkshire. He designed and supervised the execution of St John’s Church, Sharow (1825). In about 1836 he moved to Wood End, The Crescent, Scarborough, a new house which he may have built himself. During his years in Scarborough he was involved in the management and development of the spa and made plans for the Spa Gardens. He died in Scarborough on 23 June 1856 at the age of eighty and was buried at Sharow. A monument to him in the church shows a relief of a broken bridge below the inscription reads :
In memory of George Knowles Esq. Formerly of Lucan House Sharow And afterwards Of Wood End, Scarborough Where he died 23rd June 1866 aged 80 years An able and successful civil engineer he cheerfully dedicated to God a portion of his own gifts. He designed and superintended the building of this church and bequeathed the interest of £500 to the parochial school attached to it. Also of Ann Knowles Widow and relict of the above who died at Wood End 22 January 1867 aged 72 years She bequeathed the interest of £200 towards the … of this church and churchyard.