Edward Middleton Barry

Edward Middleton Barry (1830 - 27 January 1880) was an English architect of the 19th century. The third son of Sir Charles Barry, Edward completed his father’s work on the Palace of Westminster and Halifax Town Hall after his death in 1860, but was also responsible for numerous other buildings of his own, particularly in London, often favouring a very classical style.

Among his most significant contributions to London’s architectural scene is the Theatre of the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden. The previous theatre (built by Robert Smirke in 1809) was destroyed in a fire in 1857. Edward Barry was commissioned to design the new "Royal Italian Opera" as it was then known, completing it for its official opening on 15 May 1858. He also designed the adjacent Floral Hall, a stunning glass and cast iron structure, heavily influenced by the Crystal Palace used in the Great Exhibition of 1851. The Covent Garden work was hugely influential in Barry’s appointment to design the Royal Opera House in Valletta, Malta (1866).

His other projects included:

  • St Saviour's Church Hampstead, London (1856)
  • Birmingham and Midland Institute (1857, this later became Birmingham Reference Library but was demolished in the 1960s)
  • Leeds Grammar School (1857 – now part of Leeds University’s Business School)
  • tomb of Alexander Berens in West Norwood cemetery (1858)
  • the Star and Garter Hotel, Richmond Hill, London (1864)
  • Halifax Town Hall, West Yorkshire (1864)
  • Charing Cross Hotel and the nearby Eleanor cross (a Victorian replica erected in 1863 by the London, Chatham and Dover Railway Company – the original cross was erected by King Edward I in 1291, but removed in 1647), London (1865)
  • rebuilding and extension of Crewe Hall, near Crewe, Cheshire (1866)
  • Palace of Westminster (his supervision of his father’s work was finally completed in 1870; the only substantial element for which Edward was entirely responsible was the colonnade on New Palace Yard and the striking railings around the Yard)
  • Wykehurst Place, near Bolney West Sussex (1872)
  • Cobham Park House, Cobham, Surrey (1873)
  • the East Range of Downing College, Cambridge (1873)
  • St Anne's Church, Clifton, near Eccles, Manchester (1874)
  • The Hospital For Sick Children, (Great Ormond Street Hospital), London (1872 – now demolished, though his St Christopher’s Chapel (1875) survives)
  • Entrance to Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge (1875)
  • monument to the Greek family of Eustratios Ralli, West Norwood cemetery (1875)
  • new galleries ('The Barry Rooms') and dome for the National Gallery, London (1876)

Towards the end of his life, Barry began working with his eldest brother Charles Barry (junior). Among the projects jointly attributed to them are new chambers at Inner Temple, London (completed in 1879), and the design of the Great Eastern Hotel at London’s Liverpool Street station, completed in 1884, after Edward's death.

From 1873 until he died, Barry was professor of architecture at the Royal Academy; he remodelled the top of Burlington House’s central staircase in 1876.


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