Richar Dunkley was a builder from Blisworth. he came from a long line of builders whose activities had been mostly local, but with the coming of the London and Birmingham Railway in 1837, Richard Dunkley struck gold and became one of the company’s favoured contractors.
In Wolverton he built the workshops and most of the early housing stock. he was also awarded the contract for building the new houses in Stantonbury in 1856. Many of Dunkley’s buildings in Blisworth and Northampton survive today.
He died at the age of 79 in 1886. Here is his obituary:
His obituary in “Building News”, 3rd September 1886 reads:
The death is announced, in his eightieth-year, of Mr. Richard Dunkley, formerly a builder and railway contractor, well-known in connection with the earlier phases of what is now the London and North-Western Railway. He built for the London and Birmingham Railway Company, when the line was in course of construction, most of the workshops at Wolverton, including the turning and smiths’ shops, the locomotive sheds, the saw mills, and carriage works; and he also carried out there many extensive alterations and additions, besides building many houses for the employees. He built the whole of the great junction at Willesden; constructed several of the loop lines, and erected 40 houses there for the company; and during a period of between 30 and 40 years, he executed many important alterations and additions, rendered necessary by the great increase in the railway traffic. He also carried out some very heavy works at Chalk Farm Station, and at Euston Station; and Tring and Cheddington Railway Stations were erected by him. The railway line between Northampton and Market Harborough was constructed by him, including the tunnels through which the line passes. In the town of Northampton his works included the West Bridge at Castle Station, the Corn Exchange, the Midland Railway Station, the Post Office, the new Cattle Market with its roads, the breweries belonging to Messrs. Phipps and Co., Mr. Phillips and Mr. Manning, the Kettering Road reservoirs, and the roads and culverts on the Kingsley Park Estate. He also took down the old town hall, and carried out some additions to St. Andrew’s Hospital, and the west wing, schools, and chapel of the Convent of Notre Dame in the same town. Seventy-two cottages at Stantonbury, near Wolverton; the viaducts at Coventry, the gasworks at Leamington; Warwick Gaol; the engine sheds at Rugby; Carlton Hall, the seat of Sir Geoffrey Palmer, Bart., were also his work.