Crawford, William Horatio (1812×1818–1888), brewer and philanthropist, was first-born son of William Crawford (d. 1840), brewer, and Dulcibella Crawford (née Morris) of Lakelands House, Blackrock, Cork; a brother died young. The family was originally from Co. Down, related to the Crawfords of Crawfordsburn, and to William Sharman Crawford (qv). William Crawford senior was joint owner of the prosperous brewing company of Beamish & Crawford, founded by his grandfather; the firm paid one-eighth of the total rates in Cork city in 1834, and employed hundreds of men. He had other business interests, and was a notable philanthropist in his day, having helped to found the Cork School of Art and the Savings Bank.
William Horatio Crawford entered TCD on 1 July 1833, graduated BA in 1837, and entered King's Inns the same year. For the rest of his life he was associated with the family firm, which he and his partner Richard P. Beamish controlled from the 1850s. They replaced the plant and modernised the buildings at great cost, and also invested in property in the city. The firm continued to flourish, but Crawford is remembered more for his magnificent generosity to the intellectual and cultural institutions of his native city, as well as for donations to the protestant cathedral and to the Women and Children's Hospital, and for private charity. He was friendly with William K. Sullivan (qv), president of QCC, and was probably the college's most important benefactor. He gave £1,000 to buy instruments for the astronomical observatory named after him; provided £2,750 to help build glasshouses for the botanic garden, thus facilitating major improvements to the college's main entrance; and in 1881 gave £1,000 to help found a hall of residence for Church of Ireland students. He also furnished its rooms, and a short time later settled debts of over £3,000 which the college had been unable to repay to the board of works and banks. In 1884 Sullivan claimed that Crawford planned further large building projects for the college, but that uncertainty over the future of the college's non-denominational status was preventing him from implementing them; a sum of £30,000 to build accommodation was said to have been promised, but subsequently withheld. A school of music was under consideration at his death, but nothing came of the plan. Between 1876 and 1880 he donated a valuable collection of books to the college library, which still bears his name. His own library was sold for £21,254 in 1891, more than any Irish collection sold previously; it contained many rare volumes and manuscripts.
He was also an art collector, and gave large amounts of money in 1884 to enable the existing Art School to be more than doubled in size. The magnificent buildings were renamed the Crawford School of Art and opened (April 1885) by the prince of Wales; with typical modesty, Crawford declined to be present. It became the Crawford Municipal Art Gallery in 1979. Though virtually nothing remains of Crawford's garden at Lakelands, it was in its heyday one of the most notable in the country: he employed thirty workers, produced new hybrids of subtropical plants, largely stocked the botanic houses at the college, and in his garden Magnolia campbellii flowered for the first time in the British Isles. He was a supporter of Cork Agricultural Society and of the Munster Dairy School. Crawford was unmarried; his sudden death on the night of 18/19 October 1888 at his home in Cork was mourned as that of a merchant prince, and his public funeral to Brooklodge graveyard was attended by hundreds of mourners, including all his employees. His estate was valued at £328,226. 19s. 9d., and administration was granted to his uncle.