Stoney, Bindon Blood (1828–1909), civil engineer, was born 13 June 1828 at Oakley Park, King's Co. (Offaly), younger son of George Stoney and his wife Anne, second daughter of Bindon Blood of Cranagher and Rockforest, Co. Clare. He had one elder brother, the renowned mathematical physicist George Johnstone Stoney (qv), and one sister, who married a cousin, William Fitzgerald, later bishop of Cork (1857–62) and of Killaloe (1862–83). Stoney was privately educated at home while his father's properties lost value in the post-Napoleonic depression and were sold during the famine of 1845–9. After attending TCD, where in 1850 he obtained his BA and a diploma in civil engineering with distinction, he immediately joined his elder brother at the observatory of William Parsons, 3rd earl of Rosse (qv), at Parsonstown (Birr) to assist with astronomical observations using what was then the world's largest telescope. Stoney improved the known delineation of nebulae and determined the spiral nature of the great nebula in Andromeda.
In 1852–3 he worked on surveys for a railway in Spain. Having returned to Ireland, he was appointed in 1854 as resident engineer (under James Barton (qv)) on the construction of the railway viaduct designed by Sir John Macneill (qv) spanning the River Boyne near Drogheda, Co. Louth, till its completion in 1855. His pioneering work with Barton in building a metal bridge with a span of such dimensions using shock-absorbent wrought-iron latticed bars rather than a continuity of plate was possibly the earliest such example. It was the basis for his later two-volume publication The theory of strains in girders and similar structures, with observations on the strength and other properties of materials (1866), dubbed ‘Stoney on strains’ and reproduced in two further editions (1873, 1886).
Meanwhile, in 1856 he became assistant engineer to George Halpin jr, chief engineer (and inspector of works) of the Dublin port authority (ballast board) at the Ballast Office on Westmoreland St., and remained at Dublin port throughout his impressive subsequent career. He became an associate of the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) in January 1858 and a full member in November 1863. Similarly, he became a member of the Institution of Civil Engineers of Ireland (ICEI) in 1857, joint honorary secretary 1862–70, and president 1871–2. During and after this time, from 1858 to 1905, he presented a series of papers to the ICEI, one of which, Strength and proportions of riveted joints, was published as a book in 1885. He also presented papers to the ICE.
Stoney's practical achievements had a significant effect on the development of central Dublin. Appointed executive engineer in 1859 owing to the illness of Halpin, he became chief engineer when Halpin retired in 1862. On becoming first chief engineer of the Dublin Port and Docks Board, when it replaced the ballast board in 1867, he moved to new offices at Alexandra Road. His main works between Dublin Bay and the city lay within the channel extending from the North Bull and Poolbeg lighthouses westwards to Essex (Grattan) bridge on the River Liffey. He rebuilt and upgraded berthing facilities on the North Wall quays east of the Custom House in 1864–9. He took his MA at TCD (1870), and in 1871 began to build further eastwards the 700-metre North Wall extension. The installation of his massive 350-ton pre-cast concrete blocks, using a purpose-built diving bell and floating crane, became a world-renowned feat of engineering, and he was awarded the Telford Medal and premium of the ICE in 1874 for a paper on this work. He also began forming the Alexandra basin directly behind the Extension, completing its first phase in 1885.
Within the city centre Stoney rebuilt a number of bridges at key crossings of the Liffey. In 1872–5 he largely rebuilt Essex Bridge, designed in the 1750s by George Semple (qv) to his own flamboyant design; it was renamed Grattan Bridge after Henry Grattan (qv) the elder. In 1877–80 he redesigned the 1790s Carlisle Bridge of James Gandon (qv), renamed O'Connell Bridge after Daniel O'Connell (qv), to provide a crossing linking Sackville (later O'Connell) St. with the converging streets to the south. He built a new iron swivel bridge in 1877–9, just west of the Custom House. Named Beresford Bridge, it was later renamed Butt Bridge after Isaac Butt (qv), and replaced by a wider concrete bridge in 1932.
He erected the North Bull lighthouse (1877–80) to replace the inadequate light on the Bull Wall marking the northern side of the port channel entrance opposite Poolbeg lighthouse. He surrounded the bases of both lighthouses with his trademark concrete monolithic blocks. Elected FRS (1881), he received an honorary LLD (1881) from the University of Dublin, was a member of the RDS, the Institution of Naval Architects, and the RIA (1857), to the Proceedings and Transactions of which he contributed four papers on the theory of structures. He retired in 1898, was succeeded by his pupil and long-serving assistant, John Purser Griffith (qv), and lived at 14 Elgin Road, Dublin, where his chief recreation was reading the Times. He died 5 May 1909 and was buried in Mount Jerome cemetery.
Stoney married (1879) Susannah Frances, daughter of John Francis Walker, QC, of Grangemore, Co. Dublin; they had one son and two daughters. The Irish Builder (15 May 1909) published a glowing obituary of a man of great personal and professional integrity. An excellent portrait photograph is held by the ICEI. Panels on Grattan and O'Connell Bridges bear his name.