Caldbeck, William Francis (c.1824–1872), architect and civil engineer, was the son of Richard Caldbeck and grandson of John Frederick Caldbeck (d. 1848) of Moyle Park, Clondalkin, Co. Dublin; his mother's name is not known, but she is said to have been Roman catholic, and William was brought up in that denomination (his father's family were Church of Ireland). William served his apprenticeship under William Deane Butler (qv). From the beginning of his practice in 1844, up to 1860, he kept an account book (IAA MS 95/150), which provides an interesting insight into the architectural practice of the time. It records his clients, commissions and annual receipts, which rose from £41 in 1844 to £1,300 in 1860.
He developed an extensive practice throughout Ireland, mainly with commercial clients, beginning with the National Glass Co. (1845) and department stores including Brown, Thomas & Co. (1848–c.1862), and designed suburban houses in south Dublin, including several on Leinster Road (1847) and Elgin Road (1863). Of the several courthouses that have been attributed to Caldbeck, only the courthouse and bridewell at Newtownards, Co. Down (1849–50) is indisputably his design. Architect (1852–72) to the National Bank (later merged with the Bank of Ireland), he adapted existing bank houses and designed new ones, as in the attractive, cut-stone, three-storey, five-bay Italianate bank at Headfort Place, Kells, Co. Meath (1852). This design provided a prototype for the corporate architectural image for the twenty-six branches on which he worked, including National Bank buildings at Roden Place, Dundalk, Co. Louth (1859–60), Longford (c. 1860), and Galway (1865).
His country houses followed a similar pattern: attractive, moderate-sized Italianate houses which he popularised during the 1850s, such as Williamstown House (1856) and Castlebellingham (1856–60), both in Co. Louth, and Clonhugh Lodge, Multyfarnham, Co. Westmeath (1867). He remodelled houses, completing Emo Court, Portarlington, Queen's Co. (Laois), begun by James Gandon (qv), and building the copper-domed rotunda and adding a wing, which was joined to the main block by a curving corridor. He undertook commissions for various religious denominations, designing the unitarian meeting house, Great Strand St., Dublin (1851), convents and several catholic churches, including the large gothic Church of the Assumption, Edgeworthstown, Co. Longford (1869–72).
He exhibited at the RHA between 1844 and 1864. In Thom's Directory (1867–72) he is entered as an architect and consul for Uruguay and Montevideo. Elected fellow of the RIAI (1853), he served as council member (1864–5, 1867–8, 1870–72). Highly respected, genial, and kind, he had a great sense of humour. He lived at St Anne's, Monkstown, Co. Dublin, and died suddenly 30 March 1872 at 24 Harcourt St., Dublin, his professional address. He was buried in Glasnevin cemetery, Dublin. He married Anastasia Hugo; they had at least two sons.