John Wolfe Barry
Sir John Wolfe Barry KCB FRS (7 December 1836 – 22 January 1918), the youngest son of famous architect Sir Charles Barry, was an English civil engineer of the late 19th and early 20th century. His most famous project is Tower Bridge over the River Thames in London which was constructed 1886–1894. After receiving a knighthood in 1897, he added "Wolfe" to his inherited name in 1898 to become Sir John Wolfe Barry.
John Wolfe Barry
John Wolfe Barry
|Born||7 December 1836|
|Died||22 January 1918 (aged 81)|
Delahaye House, Chelsea, London
King's College, London
|Institutions||Institution of Civil Engineers (president)|
|Projects||Tower Bridge, Blackfriars Railway Bridge|
|Significant design||Cannon Street Railway Bridge, Kew Bridge, District line|
Wolfe Barry was educated at Glenalmond and King's College, London, where he was a pupil of civil engineer Sir John Hawkshaw, as was Henry Marc Brunel, son of the great Isambard Kingdom Brunel. Barry and Hawkshaw worked on railway bridge crossings across the Thames, among other projects (Brunel pursued his own business from 1871, but in 1878 went into partnership with Barry). Barry began his own practice in 1867, and carried out more work for the railways.
However, it was Tower Bridge that made Wolfe Barry's name. In 1878, architect Horace Jones first proposed a bascule bridge. An Act of Parliament allowing the Corporation of the City of London to build it was passed in 1885. Jones was appointed architect, and developed an initial scheme for which he was knighted in 1886. Wolfe Barry, already well-established with experience of bridges across the Thames, was introduced as the engineer for the project and redesigned the mechanisms resulting in a modified plan. Within a month of construction starting Sir Horace Jones died, leaving Wolfe Barry to oversee the works and specialists. The bridge was completed in 1894.
His other projects included:
- Cannon Street Railway Bridge (aka the Alexandra Bridge) (1866)
- Blackfriars Railway Bridge (aka St Paul's Bridge), London (1886)
- Barry Docks (not a namesake) near Cardiff, south Wales
- District line of the London Underground (with Sir John Hawkshaw)
- pumping stations on the Regent's Canal, north London
- Kew Bridge, west London (1903)
- expansion of Greenland Dock, Surrey Docks (now Surrey Quays), south-east London (1904)
- Immingham Dock (1912)
- Joint Dock, Kingston upon Hull (1914), with Benjamin Baker.)
- No.3 Fish Dock, Grimsby (1934)
A recognised industry leader (he was elected President of the Institution of Civil Engineers in 1896, knighted in 1897, and served on several Royal Commissions), Wolfe Barry played a prominent role in the development of industry standardisation, urging the ICE's Council to form a committee to focus on standards for iron and steel sections.
Two members each from the ICE, the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, the Institution of Naval Architects and the Iron and Steel Institute first met on 26 April 1901. With the Institution of Electrical Engineers who joining the following year, these bodies were the founder institutions of what is today the British Standards Institution or BSI.
He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS) in 1895 and made a Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath (KCB) in 1897. He was elected President of the Institution of Civil Engineers (Pres.Inst.C.E.) in 1898, in which year he assumed his middle name of Wolfe as an additional surname. He was also a member of the Smeatonian Society of Civil Engineers.
He was chairman of Cable and Wireless from 1900 to 1917. In 1902 he joined the consulting firm of Robert White & Partners, which was renamed Wolfe Barry, Robert White & Partners (later, in 1946, renamed Sir Bruce White, Wolfe Barry and Partners).
He had married Rosalind Grace, the daughter of Rev Evan Edward Rowsell of Hambledon, Surrey. They had four sons and three daughters. In 1922 a memorial window designed by Sir John Ninian Comper was dedicated to his memory in the nave of Westminster Abbey.
- Institution of Structural Engineers, Consultants tracker, s.v. Wolfe Barry
- Watson, Garth (1988). The Civils. London: Thomas Telford Ltd. p. 252. ISBN 0-7277-0392-7.
- "Library Archive". Royal Society. Retrieved 4 August 2012.
- Watson, Garth (1989). The Smeatonians: The Society of Civil Engineers. Thomas Telford. ISBN 0-7277-1526-7.
- "Sir Charles and Sir John Wolfe Barry". Dean and Chapter of Westminster. Retrieved 22 August 2013.
- David G. Blissett, "Wolfe, John Lewis (1798–1881)" Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004. Accessed 28 September 2016
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to John Wolfe-Barry.|
- Robert C. McWilliam, Barry, Sir John Wolfe (1836–1918), Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, 2004 (Subscription required)
- John Wolfe Barry at Find a Grave
- Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. This article on his father contains a paragraph describing John Wolfe Barry's career. .
- Sir John Wolfe Barry, biography at the Tower Bridge Restoration website
|Professional and academic associations|
| President of the Institution of Civil Engineers
June 1896 – April 1898
William Henry Preece