(Sir) Charles Barry

Place of Birth

  • Born: 23 May 1795, Westminster, London
  • Died: 12 May 1860 (aged 64) London

Charles Barry was born on 23 May 1795 in Bridge Street, Westminster, the fourth son of Walter Edward Barry (died 1805), a stationer, and Frances Barry née Maybank (died 1798). He was baptised at St Margaret's, Westminster, into the Church of England, of which he was a lifelong member. His father remarried shortly after Frances died and Barry's stepmother Sarah would bring him up. He was educated at private schools in Homerton and then Aspley Guise, before being apprenticed to Middleton & Bailey, Lambeth architects and surveyors, at the age of 15. Annually from 1812 to 1815 Barry exhibited drawings at the Royal Academy. Upon the death of his father, Barry inherited a sum of money that allowed him, after coming of age, to undertake an extensive Grand Tour around the Mediterranean and Middle East, from 28 June 1817 to August 1820.

Probably thanks to his fiancée's friendship with John Soane, Barry was recommended to the Church Building Commissioners, and was able to obtain his first major commissions building churches for them. These were in the Gothic Revival style of architecture and included two in Lancashire, St. Matthew, Campfield, Manchester (1821–22), and All Saints' Church, Stand Whitefield (1822–25). Two further Gothic churches in Lancashire, followed in 1824: St Saviour's Church, Ringley, near Bolton (1822-1826) demolished exceot for the tower and replaced by a new church in 1851–54 and the Chapel in Upper Brook Street for the Unitarians, recently restored as student accommodation.

Elsewhere Barry designed three churches for the Commissioners in Islington: Holy Trinity, St. John's and St. Paul's, all in the Gothic in style and built between 1826 and 1828. His final church for the Commissioners was the Gothic St Peter's Church, Brighton (1824–28), which he won in a design competition on 4 August 1823 and was his first building to win acclaim.

Obituary: Builder 19 May 1860 page 305