1877 : Mr Pluck - an Irish Building Contractor

Title:  Local Government and Taxation of Towns Inquiry Commission (Ireland). Supplement to Part III. Report and Evidence, with Appendices: Kingstown and Dalkey. Presented to both Houses of Parliament by Command of Her Majesty, 1877, Dublin, 38

Date:   6 April 1877
Place:  Kingstown, Ireland



Mr. Francis A. Doyle
(Town Surveyor of the Township)


Witness (at the request of Mr. M‘Evoy) then read his report of October, 1876, in which he stated that some of the bricks supplied were Athy stock bricks which were in witness's opinion as good as any county Dublin bricks.

715 . Is it a fact that Athy bricks and Bog-hall bricks are not as good as the best county Dublin grey stock bricks? — Oh, you are perfectly mistaken.

716. Is there any difference in the price? — “Well, in Kingstown I do not think there is; and if there is, the Athy being smaller it acts against the contractor.

717. Mr. Exham. — Who was the contractor in relation to whom the report of the clerk of works of July 7th, was made? — I think that was in Tivoli-terrace. That was the building a man-hole. The contractor was Mr. Pluck.

718. Have you any report made by that man as to the Glenageary-road, about seven weeks ago? — The best description of brick was brought there. An odd one may have escaped the best man in the world; but they were the best county Dublin grey stock brick.

719. Are not the Bog-hall bricks always considered inferior? — You can select some remarkably good bricks amongst them. Some, if properly burned, turn out as good bricks as any in the world.

720. If you see in a brick a great quantity of white specks like lime, is not that a sign of a brick being bad? — Well, it shows there is some limestone in it.

721. Is not such a description of brick particularly bad for sewers; because I always understood the moment the water comes in the material begins to waste away? — Yes.

722. Did you ever see a quantity of these bricks yourself up there? — I did not.

723. Was there to be a vacant space behind the arches to be filled up? — No.

724. Because by the specification is it not provided that portion should be wedged with granite? — When there is defective ground or anything of that kind, we back it with rubble concrete, or any hard stuff to prevent it from spreading.

725. What I want to know is this: — Do you think it was a proper thing to put heavy moist earth in the vacant space behind parts of the sides of the arches? I find you provide — (reading from specification) — “Any vacant space between to be filled up with concrete, &c., previous to the bricks being put in.” Witness. — I saw that, and we changed it. I have had a great deal of experience in this class of work, and this work you allude to is carried out remarkably well.

726. Well, I supposed you satisfied yourself with regard to the lime and mortar? — Yes.

727. Was it prepared just as you stipulated, and in the quantities? — I venture to say, there is as good material in those works as there is in Ireland.

728. Why was this struck out of the specification in the conditions of the contract:— “The contractor to make provision for a clerk of works to be appointed by the town surveyor at a salary not exceeding 5s. a day, to be paid in such manner as the town surveyor may direct”? When I came to this town first that was the specification. I proposed about the necessity of the Commissioners appointing a clerk of works. I put it in the specification that the Commissioners appoint a clerk of works, and that was done. There was objection made, and in consequence of that this clause has been struck out of every specification. I got this form printed originally.

The paragraph numbers are the sequential number of question and answer in the minutes of evidence.

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