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W. J. Barre : A Vigorous Mind – Book Launch

UAH launches their latest publication in the glorious surroundings of 2 Royal Avenue, Belfast

Posted on: 10th March 2022

On Tuesday 8th March, UAH held the long-awaited launch of W. J. Barre 1830-1867: A Vigorous Mind by Dr Paul Harron in the inspiring surroundings of 2 Royal Avenue, Belfast. Following a wine reception with musical accompaniment, the evening was introduced by Chair of the UAH Publications Committee and editor Karen Latimer, OBE. The guest speaker was J. Reid McDonald, a Vice-Consul of the US Consulate, on behalf of the US Consul General. The US Consulate in Belfast are current custodians of one of Barre’s most outstanding houses, ‘Danesfort’, formerly Clanwilliam House in Belfast. Reid gave an illuminating overview of the history of the building, as well as an insight into the great pride the US Consulate staff take in working daily in the architectural masterpiece. The evening continued with an enlightening chronology of Barre’s career-defining buildings by the author, including the competition-winning Ulster Hall and the iconic Belfast landmark the Albert Clock. The evening concluded with remarks from the Chairman of UAH, Dr David Johnston and a book signing by the author.

UAH would like to pay a special thanks to everyone who made the book and its launch possible, from the donors to building owners, to editor Karen Latimer and photographer David Bunting, to the diligent UAH staff team and to Dr Paul Harron who has brought the life and work of one of Ulster’s greatest architects to a wider audience. Thanks also to Belfast City Council who permitted UAH to use their newly acquired culture and tourism hub at 2 Royal Avenue for the occasion – as the invited guests can attest, what better building to launch this dedicated work on the history of Barre than one of his finest buildings which still plays such a significant part in Belfast’s streetscape.

Dr Harron, who has also recently been appointed Chief Executive of Ulster Architectural Heritage and is also author of the UAH title Young & Mackenzie: A Transformational Provincial Practice  as well as the new book on Barre said: ‘For such a comparatively short life and career, WJ Barre produced an extraordinary amount of exceptionally good buildings – full of rewarding detail and interest. It was a special pleasure to be able to launch the new book celebrating and profiling his work in the unique surroundings of the former Provincial Bank, 2 Royal Avenue, Belfast, which he designed. The book provides an account of Barre’s life and work across commercial, domestic, institutional, civic and ecclesiastical spheres, along with a full gazetteer for reference, and is enhanced by archival images and drawings as well as wonderful new photos by David Bunting – sunny images appropriate to sunny architecture.’

To purchase a copy of W. J. Barre 1830-1867: A Vigorous Mind, as well as our other publications including those in the ‘Architects of Ulster’ series, please see our shop.

Photo Captions:

Invited guests enjoy the fine interior surroundings of 2 Royal Ave, Belfast; Dr Paul Harron, Primrose Wilson, CBE (UAH President), and Liam Hannaway (Chairman, Arts Council of NI); Dr Harron speaks about WJ Barre; Paul Harron, Noirin McKinney, Director of Arts Development, Arts Council NI & Mukesh Sharma, MBE; Professor Sean Connolly and photographer David Bunting discuss exhibition panels; Alison Cadden playing the piano during the wine reception; author book signing.

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