WH Lynn

Exceptional Ulster architect, Lanyon’s apprentice, partner and successor.

WH Lynn lived through the years of Belfast’s rapid growth and its Edwardian heyday and, as a fluent Ruskinian architect, was responsible for many of the city’s most characteristic buildings. He was apprenticed to Sir Charles Lanyon in 1849, entered partnership with him in 1860, and remained with the firm until 1872 (by which time Lanyon had largely withdrawn from architectural practice in favour of public and political life.)
Among the highlights of Lynn’s career, and his most expressive designs, are the offices of the Church of Ireland in May Street, Belfast (1867), the ‘water office’ building in nearby Donegall Square North (1869), and the Bank Buildings in Castle Place (built between 1899 and 1900, and sometimes inaccurately claimed to be Ulster’s first large-scale steel framed structure.)
A talented draughtsman and watercolour landscape painter, WH Lynn was vice-chairman of the Board of the Government School of Art. His sculptor brother SF Lynn carved the statue of the Prince Consort on the Albert Clock, as well as the statue of Rev Henry Cooke outside ‘Inst’ (the Royal Belfast Academical Institution) popularly if inaccurately known as the ‘Black Man.’
Further Reading
Some of his papers are in the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland.
Consult the Linen Hall Library catalogue.

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