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UAH PUBLISHES: WJ BARRE, 1830-1867: A Vigorous Mind

By Dr Paul Harron

Posted on: 17th January 2022

WJ BARRE, 1830-1867: A Vigorous Mind by Dr Paul Harron

The architect William Joseph Barre (1830-1867), a native of Newry, Co. Down, who moved his practice to a burgeoning Belfast in 1860, was one of Ulster’s very best Victorian designers. His body of work, the product of an intense but tragically short life, is worthy of capture and is celebrated anew in this comprehensive, beautifully illustrated monograph by Dr Paul Harron –  a further title by the author in the UAH’s ‘Architects of Ulster’ series.

Distinctive, original, eclectic, sometimes quirky and often dramatic, William Barre’s building designs form some of the richest components of Ulster’s built environment from the High Victorian period. From the landmark Albert Memorial Clock and the Ulster Hall in Belfast to Newry Non-Subscribing Presbyterian Church, St Anne’s Church of Ireland Church (Drumglass), Dungannon and the Riverside Presbyterian Church, Newry, to name but a few of his many remarkable church designs, as well as extraordinarily impressive mansions for industrialists such as Danesfort House (now the US Consulate) and The Moat, both in Belfast, nearly all his surviving buildings are full of visual interest.

The volume is illustrated with specially commissioned photographs by David Bunting, and covers Barre’s life and practice, his ecclesiastical, domestic, commercial, civic and memorial work, and includes a full gazetteer for those who wish to explore his buildings with fresh eyes and useful information to hand.

Dr Paul Harron (Hon RSUA) wrote his doctorate on the Belfast-based practice of Young & Mackenzie and his book Architects of Ulster: Young & Mackenzie, a Transformational Provincial Practice 1850-1960, also published by UAH (2016), was shortlisted for the Society of Architectural Historians of GB Colvin Prize in 2018. He is Director of Operations at the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and has written and edited several books and many chapters and articles on various architectural and cultural themes. Architects of Ulster: Young & Mackenzie was described as ‘A masterpiece of thorough, scholarly research’ (Perspective RSUA Journal) and ‘A fascinating book, full of surprises.’ (Irish News)

David Bunting is an architectural photographer who runs his own business, Images NI, in Belfast. His recording of buildings with a commitment and passion for detail was Highly Commended by the Heritage Angels Awards for Northern Ireland in 2019.


Published in hardback, full-colour. ISBN 978-0-900457-84-5

Price: £28, with members discount £21. Order your copy HERE.

Book bundle offer of Young & Mackenzie – A Transformational Provincial Practice 1850-1960 & WJ VARRE, 1830-1867: A Vigorous Mind available HERE for £46.

Published December 2021.

Ulster Architectural Heritage Society, The Old Museum Building, 7 College Square North, Belfast BT1 6AR.


For more books published by Ulster Architectural Heritage go to SHOP.


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