Thomas Jackson (architect)

Thomas Jackson (1807–1890) was a 19th-century Irish architect who contributed to the iconic baroque look of Belfast. He was described as being the foremost Belfast architect of his day.[1]

Thomas Jackson
St. Malachy's Church Belfast.jpg
Waterford, Ireland
PracticeThomas Jackson & Sons
BuildingsBelfast Hospital for Sick Children

Early lifeEdit

Thomas Jackson was born in the city of Waterford, Ireland, in 1807. His parents were Anthony Jackson and Elizabeth Pim,[2] both practising Quakers. In fact, Thomas Jackson's great-great-great Grandfather was in attendance during the very first Irish Quaker meeting of 1654.[citation needed] Thomas Jackson would later contribute to the local Quaker movement by designing many of the Friends meeting houses in Northern Ireland.[3]

Jackson married Lydia Newsom Ridgeway, another member of the Waterford Quaker community, on New Year's Day 1835. Together they produced two children; Anthony Thomas Jackson and William Ridgeway Jackson.[4][5]


Thomas Jackson served his early apprenticeship with George Dymond of Bristol, England. In 1829, he moved to Ulster to work in partnership with Thomas Duff of Newry. He was in charge of Duff's newly established Belfast branch office. He kept this role until 1835 before striking out on his own.[6] Thomas's most recognised work from this period was the Old Museum building for the Belfast Natural History and Philosophical Socitety, of which he was an Honorary member.[2]

Around 1840 Jackson returned briefly to Waterford, the city of his birth, to design a new bank at 31 O'Connell Street. The bank was completed in around 1845 (It is due to open as the Waterford Gallery of Art in April 2020).

Around 1867, Thomas Jackson's sons joined him, operating under the name Thomas Jackson & Sons. Anthony left to pursue his own interests circa 1870. William stayed on for roughly another ten years before emigrating to Australia. Thomas Jackson produced very little architectural work in the years following Williams departure.[3][7]

Jackson was fundamentally a residential architect, but over the course of his career he turned his hand to commercial, educational, industrial and ecclesiastical buildings. An example of his domestic work would be the ambitious Cliftonville development. He was the principal architect of Ulster Bank and of the Banbridge, Lisburn & Belfast Junction Railway.[3]

Notable worksEdit

Thomas Jackson was personally credited with 114 designs in total. The following are good examples of work by Thomas Jackson and his sons:



NB: Some omissions due to lack of descriptive information.


  1. ^ Johnston, Dr Roy; Plummer, Dr Declan (28 December 2015). The Musical Life of Nineteenth-Century Belfast. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd. ISBN 9780754663256.
  2. ^ a b Trainor, Brian (1998). Researching Irish Australians: Directory of Research. Ulster Historical Foundation. ISBN 9780901905901.
  3. ^ a b c "Jackson, thomas – Dictionary of Irish Architects". Retrieved 13 July 2017.
  4. ^ Kingdom, Bob Sinton, Tandragee, Co. Armagh, Northern Ireland, United. "Sinton Family Trees – Details of Anthony Thomas Jackson, son of Thomas Jackson and Lydia Newsom Ridgway, Born 1838, Died 1917". Retrieved 14 July 2017.
  5. ^ "Full text of "Proceedings and Report of the Belfast Natural History and Philosophical Society."". Retrieved 14 July 2017.
  6. ^ "Thomas Jackson – oi". Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  7. ^ Curl, James Stevens; Wilson, Susan (2015). The Oxford Dictionary of Architecture. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780199674985.
  8. ^ Arnotts Warehouse, Bridge Street, Belfast,, 2015.
  9. ^ [1]
  10. ^ St. George’s Building, 37–41 High Street, Belfast,, 2015.


  • James Stevens Curl, 'A Dictionary of Architecture and Landscape Architecture'. ISBN 9780198606789
  • Hugh Dixon, 'Honouring Thomas Jackson (1807–1890)'. British Natural History and Philosophical Society Journal.
  • Paul Larmour, 'A hive of activity (Thomas Jackson 1807–1890)'. QUB Perspective Journal.