1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Barry, Sir Charles
BARRY, SIR CHARLES (1795–1860), English architect, was born in London on the 23rd of May 1795, the son of a stationer. He was articled to a firm of architects, with whom he remained till 1817, when he set out on a three years’ tour in Greece and Italy, Egypt and Palestine for the purpose of studying architecture. On his return to England in 1820 he settled in London. One of the first works by which his abilities as an architect became generally known was the church of St Peter at Brighton, completed in 1826. He built many other churches; but the marked preference for Italian architecture, which he acquired during his travels, showed itself in various important undertakings of his earlier years. In 1831 he completed the Travellers’ Club in Pall Mall, a splendid work in the Italian style and the first of its kind built in London. In the same style and on a grander scale he built in 1837 the Reform Club. He was also engaged on numerous private mansions in London, the finest being Bridgewater House (1847). Birmingham possesses one of his best works in King Edward’s grammar school, built in the Tudor style between 1833 and 1836. For Manchester be designed the Royal Institution of Fine Arts (1824) and the Athenaeum (1836); and for Halifax the town-hall. He was engaged for some years in reconstructing the Treasury buildings, Whitehall. But his masterpiece, notwithstanding all unfavourable criticism, is the Houses of Parliament at Westminster (1840–1860). Barry was elected A.R.A. in 1840 and R.A. in the following year. His genius and achievements were recognized by the representative artistic bodies of the principal European nations; and his name was enrolled as a member of the academies of art at Rome, Berlin, St Petersburg, Brussels and Stockholm. He was chosen F.R.S. in 1849 and was knighted by Queen Victoria in 1852. He died suddenly at Clapham near London on the 12th of May 1860, and his remains were interred in Westminster Abbey. As a landscape gardener he was no less brilliant than as an architect, and in connexion with the building of the Houses of Parliament he formed schools of modelling, stone and wood carving, cabinet-making, metal-working, glass and decorative painting, and of encaustic tile-making. In 1867 appeared a life of him by his son Bishop Alfred Barry. A claim was thereupon set up on behalf of Pugin, the famous architect, who was dead and who had been Barry’s assistant, to a much larger share in the work of designing the Houses of Parliament than was admitted in Dr Barry’s narrative. The controversy raged for a time, but without substantiating Pugin’s claim.
His second son, Alfred Barry (1826–), was educated at King’s College, London, and Trinity College, Cambridge, where he was 4th wrangler and gained a first-class in the classical tripos in 1848. He was successively sub-warden of Trinity College, Glenalmond (1849–1854), head-master of Leeds grammar school (1854–1862), principal of Cheltenham College (1862–1868), and principal of King’s College, London (1868–1883). He was canon of Worcester from 1871 to 1881, and of Westminster from 1881 to 1884. From 1884 to 1889 he served as bishop of Sydney and primate of Australia, and on his return to England he was assistant bishop in the diocese of Rochester from 1889 to 1891, and rector of St James’s, Piccadilly, from 1895 to 1900. He was appointed canon of Windsor in 1891 and assistant bishop in West London in 1897. Besides the life of his father mentioned above, he published numerous theological works.
Another son, Edward Middleton Barry (1830–1880), was also an architect. He acted as assistant to his father during the latter years of Sir Charles’s life. On the death of his father, the duty of completing the latter’s unfinished work devolved upon him. Amongst other buildings thus completed were the Houses of Parliament at Westminster (see Architecture, fig. 91, and Plate X. fig. 118), and Halifax town-hall (Id. fig. 90). In 1861 he was elected an associate of the Royal Academy; and in 1869 a full academician. From 1873 till his death he held the Academy’s professorship of architecture. Among other buildings designed by him were Covent Garden theatre, Charing Cross and Cannon Street hotels, the Birmingham and Midland Institute, new galleries for the National Gallery and new chambers for the Inner Temple. He died on the 27th of January, 1880.
The youngest son, Sir John Wolfe Wolfe-Barry (1836–), the eminent engineer, who assumed the additional name of Wolfe in 1898, was educated at Glenalmond, and was articled as engineering pupil to Sir John Hawkshaw, with whom he was associated in the building of the railway bridges across the Thames at Charing Cross and Cannon Street. In 1867 he began to practise on his own account, and soon gained an extensive connexion with railway companies, both in Great Britain and in other countries. Among the works on which he was engaged were extensions of the Metropolitan District railway, the St Paul’s station and bridge of the London, Chatham & Dover railway, the Barry Docks of the Barry railway company near Cardiff, and the Tower and new Kew bridges over the Thames. On the completion of the Tower Bridge in 1894, he was made a C.B., becoming K.C.B. three years later. He served on several royal commissions, including those on Irish Public Works (1886–1890), Highlands and Islands of Scotland (1889–1890), Accidents to Railway Servants (1899–1900), Port of London (1900–1902), and London Traffic (1903–1905). He was elected president of the Institution of Civil Engineers in 1896, and published books on Railway Appliances (1874), and, with Sir F. J. Bramwell, on Railways and Locomotives (1882).