Sir Charles Lanyon was a builder, architect and engineer active, particularly in Ireland, in the early-19th century.
Lanyon was born in Eastbourne, Sussex on 6 January 1813, the son of John Jenkinson Lanyon (born 1770/71, died 1835) of Eastbourne, Sussex, and his wife, Catherine Anne Mortimer (born 1772/3, died 1840).
He was articled to engineer, Jacob Owen of the Royal Engineers' department in Portsmouth, later of the Irish board of works in Dublin. In 1835 he was appointed county surveyor of Kildare, and then of County Antrim.
On 2 February 1837, he married Owen's daughter, Elizabeth Helen (died 1858). Together they had ten children.
From 1862 until 1868 Leadbetter was president of the Royal Institute of Architects of Ireland. In 1868 he was knighted by the duke of Abercorn, then lord lieutenant.
During his lifetime he held several governmental offices including: Mayor of Belfast (1862), Conservative Member of Parliament for Belfast (1866) and High Sheriff of County Antrim (1876).
Lanyon died from illness at his home, The Abbey, White Abbey, County Antrim, on 31 May 1889. He was buried in the churchyard of Knockbreda, near Belfast, on 4 June.
He was a fellow of the Institute of British Architects and a member of the Institution of Civil Engineers of both England and Ireland. He was also a freemason: grand master of the province of Antrim.
He is especially noted for his palmhouse designs, which utilized the earliest examples of curvilinear iron and glass, and for his roads, in particularly 'The Frosses' road between Ballymena and Ballymoney, in which avenues of fir trees were planted in order to prevent subsidence. He also designed several bridges, railways, civic buildings, churches and country houses.
Hamilton, Thomas, ‘Lanyon, Sir Charles (1813–1889)’, rev. Paul Larmour, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, Oct 2006) <http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/16059> [accessed 9 January 2008]
Larmour, Paul, 'Sir Charles Lanyon', Irish Arts Review Yearbook (1989-90), pp. 200-206.
National Archives, National Register of Archives, Person Details, 'Lanyon, Sir Charles (1813-1889) Knight Civil Engineer, GB/NNAF/P163229' <http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/nra/searches/subjectView.asp?ID=P16769> [accessed 9 January 2008]