William Henry Lynn

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Chester Town Hall (1863-69), designed by William Henry Lynn

William Henry Lynn (1829–1915) was an Irish-born architect with a practice in Belfast and the north of England. He is noted for his Ruskinian Venetian Gothic public buildings, which include Chester Town Hall (completed 1869) and Barrow-in-Furness Town Hall (completed 1886).

In 1846 Lynn was articled to Sir Charles Lanyon in Belfast; under Lanyon he prepared the drawings for the original building housing Queens College, Belfast. He and Lanyon formed a partnership in 1854; in 1860, with Charles' son John Lanyon as junior partner, they incorporated as Lanyon, Lynn and Lanyon. The partnership dissolved in 1872, when Lynn struck out on his own.

For their first joint projects (1855), Lynn and the elder Lanyon produced bank buildings at Newtownards, County Down, and at Dungannon, County Tyrone, which are two of the earliest Irish examples of the Venetian Gothic style that was being championed by John Ruskin. In Belfast the firm produced urbane Italianate commercial structures, in Dublin, the Church of St Andrew (1860) and the Unitarian Church, St Stephen's Green was "justly described as the best example extant of a modern Gothic church on a narrow street frontage, the treatment being quite original and altogether admirable".[1] In Jordanstown, Co. Antrim, they designed the Romanesque Revival Church of St Patrick (1865–8) and, in England, the Chester Town Hall, following a public competition (1863–9),[2] should be mentioned. In the 1860s a second Shane's Castle was designed with Charles Lanyon for 1st Lord O'Neill (burned 1922), and in 1870 Castle Leslie was designed for Sir John Leslie, 1st Baronet.

A project that was never realised was the remodelling and expansion of Clandeboye House for the young Lord Dufferin and Claneboye, though correspondence continued over three decades, concerning the plans but also ranging over a projected new house at Grey Point; a seaside resort at Helen's Bay; a water tank to be sited below Helen's Tower; and projects in Canada, where Lord Dufferin was Governor General. A letter from Lynn to Lord Dufferin in March 1869 referring to alterations then under way at Calandeboye, some interior alterations of the time were designed by Lynn, perhaps in the dining-room, drawing-room, library and gallery.[3]

Among Lynn's most prominent designs working on his own were his work at Queen's University, Belfast, the Carlisle Memorial Methodist Church, Carlisle Circus, Belfast (1872–5; now derelict) and the Ruskinian "Venetian" Gothic Belfast Bank on College Green, Dublin (1892), now housing a grand pub.[4] Among his other later public commissions in Belfast were the Central Library (1883–8), the Bank Buildings (1895–1900), and Campbell College (1891–4). In part on the success of the Chester Town Hall he was commissioned to produce designs for town halls in Paisley, Scotland (1875–82), and Barrow-in-Furness, North Lancashire (1882–87), as well as the extension (1891–95) to the Italianate Harbour Office, Belfast.

One of his last designs was for the baptistry of Belfast Cathedral (1915).

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Obituary in The Irish Builder and Engineer, 1915, quoted in Dublin Unitarian Church website.
  2. ^ Its acknowledged model, but in very general terms, was the medieval Cloth Hall, Ypres.
  3. ^ Lord and Lady Dufferin, Peter Rankin, Gavin Stamp and William Maguire, Clandeboye, (Ulster Architectural Heritage Society) 1985: on-line excerpt.
  4. ^ The Bank on College Geen.