Dictionary of Irish Architects 1720 - 1940

Architect, draughtsman and watercolourist of Belfast. According to the 1911 census, James John Phillips was born in Cork City in 1841 or 1842.(1) His early career is not recorded;(2) it is not until the mid 1870s that his name begins to appear in the pages of the Irish Builderand other architectural journals, initially in connection with his antiquarian pursuits and the publication of his monograph, St Mary's of Grey Abbey, County Down, Ireland, as existing in the year A.D. 1874(1874), a collection of his own drawings, with an accompanying text.(3) In 1875 and 1876 other drawings by him of Kilkenny Cathedral, Jerpoint Abbey and Inch Abbey, Downpatrick, were published in the Irish Builder,(4) and in 1879 he exhibited a view of the Hotel de Bourgtheroude, Rouen, at the Royal Hibernian Academy (no. 374), which he offered for sale at two guineas. He sometimes prepared his own lithographic plates.(5)

During the 1870s Phillips was involved with the Belfast Architectural Association, the members of which encouraged him to produce his monograph.(6) Some design work by him is recorded in the second half of the decade, but this was of a decorative rather than an architectural nature. In 1875 he designed a pastoral staff for the Bishop of Down and Connor(7) and in 1877 he redecorated the interior of St Mark's Church of Ireland church at Ligoniel, Belfast.(8) In 1882 he designed a Gothic memorial to his family in the Belfast cemetery in Falls Road.(9)

How and when Phillips obtained his architectural education and experience is not recorded. He may have worked in the office of JOHN LANYON JOHN LANYON . Some or possibly all of the perspectives of Lanyon's buildings which were published in the Irish Builder and The Architect were drawn by Phillips,(10) who may, however, have been working as a free-lance draughtsman, as he also drew the perspective of the Convent of Mercy at Downpatrick by MORTIMER H. THOMSON  MORTIMER H. THOMSON which was published in the Irish Builder on 1 February 1877. No buildings by him are recorded until 1884, when he designed the Methodist church at Letterbreen, Co. Fermanagh. From this date until the early years of the twentienth century, he was the preferred - perhaps even the official - architect of the Methodist church in the north of Ireland, designing or altering at least seventeen Methodist churches in Belfast and the northern counties and also two in Dublin. His son, JAMES ST JOHN PHILLIPS JAMES ST JOHN PHILLIPS , who was a regularly qualified architect, joined him in his practice, probably in the summer of 1896.

Works by J.J. PHILLIPS & PHILLIPS & amp; SON appear in the pages of the Irish Builder from 1896 until about 1905. After this James John Phillips went into semi-retirement in Portrush, Co. Antrim, although in 1909 he published a 'vigorous criticism' of HENRY ALBERT CUTLER' HENRY ALBERT CUTLER' s plans for new the new Corporation abattoir in Belfast from his son's Donegall Square office address.(11) He eventually returned to live in Belfast, perhaps in 1928, when an auction, including many of his watercolours, was held at his house in Portrush.(12) He died at the age of ninety-four at his home in Belfast, on 7 January 1936, his son having predeceased him by only a few months. He married at least twice:  his wife Mary Kent Appleby Phillips was the mother of James St John Phillips,(13) while his 1911 census return records his remarriage circa 1905 to Emily Malcolm Phillips. His pupils and assistants, in addition to his son, included CHARLES ERNEST ELCOCK CHARLES ERNEST ELCOCK , WILLIAM CHARLES MAXWELL  WILLIAM CHARLES MAXWELL and THOMAS PENTLAND. THOMAS PENTLAND.

Belfast Architectural Association: member;(14) reads paper 'The architectural remains of the Cistercians in the County Down', 1875.(15)
RSAI: elected member, 20 January 1875.(16) Papers: 'Notes on the plan and architectural remains of Downpatrick Abbey';(17) 'The architectural remains of the Cistercians in Co. Down; (18) 'Early military architecture in Ireland';(19) 'Notes on some wrought iron grille work in Armagh';(20) 'Mediaeval Sculptured foliage';(21) 'Cistercian Abbey, Grey Abbey, Co. Down'.(22)

Addresses: 6 Castle St, Belfast, 1875;(23) 21 Arthur Street, Belfast, 1888;(24) 61 Royal Avenue, 1894-1904;(25) 16 Donegall Square, 1908.(26)
Home: 40 Granville Terrace, Belfast, 1879;(27) 35 High Street, Holywood, Co. Down, 1883; 20 University Square, Belfast, 1894;  12 Adelaide Park, Windsor, Belfast, 1911;  Dhu Varren, Portrush, Co. Antrim, c.1906-1928?; 9 Marlborough Park Central at time of death.

See WORKS and BIBLIOGRAPHY BIBLIOGRAPHY . See also works of J.J. PHILLIPS & PHILLIPS & amp; SON.



References

All information in this entry not otherwise accounted for is from the entry on Phillips in Theo Snoddy, Dictionary of Irish Artists: 20th Century (1996), 395, which see for a more detailed account of Phillips as an artist.

(1) IB 78, 25 Jan 1936, 58.
(2) According to the notice of his son's death in IB 77, 24 Aug 1935, 757, he was a member of Belfast Corporation.
(3) The original drawings are now in the Ulster Museum.
(4) See IB 17, 15 Jul,15 Nov 1875, 314, and IB 18, 1 Jan 1876, 9.
(5) In Jones's file on Phillips there is half of an engraved plate showing work by the Belfast founder Riddel & Co., drawn and lithographed by Phillips.
(6) He acknowledges this encouragement in the dedication. He is possibly the 'L. Phillips' who attended a meetng of the association on 3 February 1873 (IB 15, 15 Feb 1872, 56).
(7) Architect 14, 11 Dec 1875, 332; repr. again in article on 'Modern Celtic Art Metal Work', IB 69, 10 Dec 1927, 926.
(8) Larmour, 46 (no. 98).
(9) Larmour, 40 (no. 81, illus.).
(10) See Hugh Dixon, Ulster Architecture 1800-1900 (UAHS, 1973), 14(no. 43),15(no.50)
(11) Building News 97, 10 Sep 1909, 405.
(12) He is, however, described as 'of Portrush' in his son's obituary; see note 2, above.
(13) www.familysearch.org.
(14) See note 6, above.
(15) IB 17, 15 Apr 1875, 101.
(16) JRSAI 13 (1874-75), 312.
(17) Architect 22, 12 Jul 1879, 22; IB 21, 15 Jul 1879, 221; JRSAI 15 (1879-82), 90.
(18) Architect 84, 17 Jul 1880, 41.
(19) JRSAI 16 (1883-84), 154.
(20) IB 26, 15 Aug 1884, 238; B 47, 16 Aug 1884, 241; JRSAI 16 (1883-84), 345.
(21) IB 34, 15 Sep 1892, 196.
(22) IB 41, 1 Sep 1899, 119; JRSAI 29 (1899), 360.
(23) See note 14, above.
(24) IB 30, 1 Dec 1888, 301.
(25) JRSAI 24 (1894), list of members; IB 46, 26 Mar 1904, 178,190.
(26) JRSAI 38 (1908), list of members.
(27) RHA Index, III, 81.


39 work entries listed in chronological order for PHILLIPS, JAMES JOHN


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Building: CO. ANTRIM, BELFAST, LIGONIEL ROAD (BALLYSILLAN), ST MARK'S CHURCH (CI)
Date: 1877;1885-86
Nature: Decoration of chancel and new screen behind communion table, 1877. Enlargement, organ chamber, baptistry screen, 1885-6. Dedicated 25 Jun 1886. Also wrought iron font cover (date?).
Refs: Irish Ecclesiastical Gazette 20, no. 226, 1 Jan 1878, 16;  John Frederick MacNeice, The church of Ireland in Belfast (Belfast, 1931), 21;  Paul Larmour, Belfast: an illustrated architectural guide (1987), 46 (no. 98)

Building: CO. ANTRIM, BELFAST, FALLS ROAD, BELFAST CEMETERY, PHILLIPS MEMORIAL
Date: 1882ca
Nature: Memorial cross.
Refs: Paul Larmour, Belfast: an illustrated architectural guide (1987), 40 (no. 81, illus.)

Building: CO. FERMANAGH, LETTERBREEN, METHODIST CHURCH
Date: 1884
Nature: New brass eagle lectern.
Refs: IB 26, 15 Oct 1884, 313

Building: CO. DOWN, CARROWDORE, CHRIST CHURCH (CI)
Date: 1884
Nature: Eagle lectern, for Miss Dunbar (i.e. Georgina Dunbar of Woburn?) in memory of her deceased brothers.
Refs: IB 26, 15 Oct 1884, 313

Building: CO. ANTRIM, BELFAST, SANDY ROW, METHODIST CHURCH
Date: 1885a
Nature: New church & schools. Early English style, built of red brick dressed with red sandstone. Cost of church, schools & ground £3,500. Opened 28 Jun 1885.
Refs: IB 27, 15 Jul 1885, 205

Building: CO. ANTRIM, BELFAST, AGNES STREET, METHODIST CHURCH & SCHOOLS
Date: 1886-87
Nature: New church 'in classic style' built on site of former church of 1848(?) and adjoining school building. Schools completed Jun 1886. Church for 900 opened Apr 1887. Cost: £3,750. Contractor: William McCammond.
Refs: IB 29, 1 May 1887, 118

Building: CO. ANTRIM, BELFAST, QUEEN'S ARCADE
Date: 1887
Nature: Design for new glass cover at Donegall Pl.
Refs: Drawing in Belfast City Engineer's Dept, no. 5231, see High Dixon, Ulster Architecture 1800-1900 (UAHS, 1973), 28(no. 149)

Building: CO. ANTRIM, PORTRUSH, CHURCH OF THE HOLY TRINITY (CI, BALLYWILLAN PARISH)
Date: 1887
Nature: Chancel added by 'Philips', perhaps JJF.
Refs: W.D. Girvan, Historic Buildings…in North Antrim (UAHS, 1972), 11

Building: CO. ARMAGH, ARMAGH, ABBEY STREET, METHODIST CHURCH
Date: 1888
Nature: Reopened after reconstruction 25 Nov 1888. Nothing left of old church, erected 1835 (on site of 1786 church), except side walls, rear gable, roof principals, slating and side galleries (added 1862; extended 1882). New limestone front, pews, pulpit, &c. Builder: Thos. Collen & Son, Armagh.
Refs: IB 30, 1 Dec 1888, 301; Architect 39, 10 Feb 1888, suppl. p. 3; Bassett's Guide to Co. Armagh (1888), 96-97;  Kevin V. Mulligan, The Buildings of Ireland: South Ulster (2013), 118. 

Building: CO. ANTRIM, BELFAST, DONEGALL PLACE, SHOP
Date: 1888
Nature: Alterations.
Refs: Architect 40, 21 Dec 1888, suppl. p.1

Building: CO. ANTRIM, BELFAST, LIGONIEL ROAD, METHODIST CHURCH & SCHOOL
Date: 1888
Nature: New church next to Ligoniel Spinning Co. to seat 280. Red brick with stone dressings. On site of recently demolished church and schools built in 1844. School beneath church. FS laid 24 Nov 1888 by C.C. Connor, Mayor Elect of Belfast. Builder: H. Laverty & Sons.
Refs: IB 30, 1 Oct,1 Dec 1888, 254,297

Building: CO. ANTRIM, BELFAST, MALONE ROAD, NO. 002 (ABBOTSFORD)
Date: 1888
Nature: 3-storey red brick corner block on angle between Malone and Stranmillis Rds. Canted bay with Dutch gable, terracotta panels of sunflowers in pots. For Robert Walsh.
Refs: Paul Larmour, The Architectural Heritage of Malone & Stranmillis (UAHS, 1991), 115

Building: CO. ANTRIM, BELFAST, MALONE ROAD, NO. 004
Date: 1888
Nature: Designed at same time as No. 2. Similar, but less ornate.
Refs: Paul Larmour, The Architectural Heritage of Malone & Stranmillis (UAHS, 1991), 115

Building: CO. ANTRIM, BELFAST, CARLISLE CIRCUS, CARLISLE MEMORIAL METHODIST CHURCH
Date: 1888-89
Nature: Sunday schools, lecture hall, church parlour, connecting cloister, &c. Builder: Laverty & Sons.
Refs: PRONI, W.H. Stephens & Sons papers, D1898/1/4; Architect 39, 18 May 1888, 3; IB 31, 1 Feb 1889, 40; Paul Larmour, Belfast: an illustrated architectural guide (1987), 43 (no. 91)

Building: CO. ARMAGH, CLARE (TANDRAGEE), HARRYBROOK
Date: 1890
Nature: Adds. & alts. to earlier house for Harden family.
Refs: Kevin V. Mulligan, The Buildings of Ireland: South Ulster (2013), 266.

Building: CO. DOWN, BANGOR, HAMILTON ROAD, METHODIST CHURCH (WESLEY CENTENARY)
Date: 1890-91
Nature: New symmetrical gabled church in dark stone with red sandstone dressings.
Refs: Architect 44, 26 Dec 1890, suppl. p.1; Marcus Patton, Bangor: an historical gazetteer (UAHS, 1999), 90-91

Building: CO. ANTRIM, BELFAST, DONEGALL SQUARE EAST, NO. 009 (YWCA)
Date: 1890-91
Nature: Reconstruction of house and construction of lecture hall. Contractor: J. Lowry & Son, Belfast (£1,345).
Refs: Architect 14, 24 Oct 1890, suppl. p.1; 26 Dec 1890, suppl. p.3; IB 33, 1 Jan 1891, 13; B 61, 24 Oct 1891, 316;

Building: CO. ANTRIM, BELFAST, MERVUE STREET, FACTORY & WAREHOUSE (SMYTH & CO.)
Date: 1890-91
Nature: New warehouse and manufactory for Mssrs. Smyth & Co. Tender of Campbell & Lowry, Belfast (£1,443) accepted..
Refs: Architect 44, 26 Dec 1890, suppl. p.4; IB 33, 1 Jan 1891, 13

Building: CO. ANTRIM, BELFAST, ADELAIDE PARK, NO. 002 (SHAKESPEARE HOUSE)
Date: 1891
Nature: 3-storey red brick house with Dutch gables and ornamental cast-iron baslustrading and verandah. Designed for J.F. Warden, proprietor of the Theatre Royal, Arthur Sq.
Refs: Paul Larmour, The Architectural Heritage of Malone & Stranmillis (UAHS, 1991), 24(illus.),26

Building: CO. ANTRIM, BELFAST, BLACKSTAFF ROAD, METHODIST CHURCH
Date: 1891
Nature: Primitive Methodist church reopened 31 May1891 after enlargement and renovation. Church lengthened and transepts erected. Contractor: James Kidd, Belfast.
Refs: B 60, 27 Jun 1891, 513; IB 33, 1 Jul 1891, 143

Building: CO. ANTRIM, BELFAST, LAGANVIEW STREET, MISSION HALL
Date: 1891
Nature: New hall opened. Builder: Agnew.
Refs: IB 33, 1 Feb 1891, 33

Building: CO. ANTRIM, GLENAVY, METHODIST CHURCH
Date: 1891
Nature: New church to accommodate 140. Red brick with sandstone dressings. FS laid 10 Oct 1891. Builder: Robert Calwell.
Refs: IB 33, 15 Oct 1891, 236; B 61, 24 Oct 1891, 316

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, BRIGHTON ROAD (RATHGAR), METHODIST CHURCH
Date: 1892-93
Nature: Completion of spire, organ chamber, church parlour & kitchen, installation of organ, erection of railings.
Refs: D.M. Weir, Rathgar Methodist Church (1974), 33-38

Building: CO. ANTRIM, BELFAST, ADELAIDE PARK, NO. 012
Date: 1893
Nature: 3-storey red brick house with some Queen Anne features including pedimented dormer and terracotta date panel. For F. Megarr;y, later lived in by Phillips himself.
Refs: Paul Larmour, The Architectural Heritage of Malone & Stranmillis (UAHS, 1991), 26

Building: CO. ANTRIM, BELFAST, BALLYNAFEIGH, METHODIST CHURCH
Date: 1893
Nature: New church opened 3 Nov 1893. Contractor: Humphreys & Co., Knightsbridge, London.
Refs: B 65, 18 Nov 1893, 380

Building: CO. ANTRIM, BELFAST, DUNCAIRN GARDENS, METHODIST CHURCH
Date: 1893
Nature: Dedicated Nov? 1893. Builder: James Kidd.
Refs: B 65, 2 Dec 1893, 419

Building: CO. ANTRIM, BELFAST, HURST STREET (& KENMARE STREET), SCHOOL
Date: 1893
Nature: New school in connection with Sandy Row Methodist Church opened 2 Sep 1893. Builder: Isaac Hewitt.
Refs: B 64, 3 Jun 1893, 434; 65, 9 Sep 1893, 195

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, CHARLESTON ROAD (RATHMINES), METHODIST CHURCH
Date: 1893-94
Nature: New church. 4 foundation stones laid 30 Apr 1892; church opened 6 Jan 1893.On parallel axis to old church & connected with it by vestibule and porches. Old church reconstructed as school house and lecture hall. Contractor: S. Bolton & Sons.
Refs: Irish Times, 2 May 1892;  IB 35, 15 Jan 1893, 23

Building: CO. ANTRIM, BELFAST, OSBORNE PARK), NO. 016 (METHODIST CHURCH)
Date: 1893-94
Nature: New church. Late Gothic, in red brick with red sandstone dressings. Memorial stones laid 4 Nov 1893. Contractor: James Kidd.
Refs: B 65, 25 Nov 1893, 396; 66, 19 Mar (or May?) 1894, ?; IB 35, 1 Dec 1893, 273

Building: CO. ANTRIM, BELFAST, LISBURN ROAD, NO. 268 (SHERIDAN VILLA)
Date: 1894
Nature: Half-timbered Queen Anne style house, for J.F. Warden, of Shakespeare House, Adelaide Pk, proprietor of the Theatre Royal, Arthur Sq.
Refs: Paul Larmour, The Architectural Heritage of Malone & Stranmillis (UAHS, 1991), 81

Building: CO. DOWN, COMBER, CHURCH OF ST MARY (CI)
Date: 1895
Nature: New chancel.
Refs: PRONI, W.H. Stephens & Sons papers, D1898/1/20

Building: CO. ANTRIM, BALLYMENA, BALLYMONEY ROAD, METHODIST CHURCH & SCHOOLS
Date: 1895
Nature: New church & schoolhouse to be erected. Symmetrical gabled facade with large 4-light decorated window in red sandstone.
Refs: IB 37, 15 Feb 1895, 54; Architec;t 53, 8 Feb 1895, suppl. p.9; D. Girvan, R. Oram, A. Rowan, Historic Buildings…in Antrim & Ballymena (1969), 16 (no. 6)

Building: CO. ARMAGH, ARMAGH, MALL, CHURCH OF ST MARK (CI)
Date: 1896
Nature: Two-tier pulpit in Caen stone.
Refs: Kevin V. Mulligan, The Buildings of Ireland: South Ulster (2013), 116.

Building: CO. ANTRIM, BELFAST, BRUNSWICK STREET, WAREHOUSE
Date: 1899
Nature: -
Refs: IB 41, ? ? 1899, 169

Building: CO. ANTRIM, BELFAST, COLLEGE STREET, CHANCELLOR MEMORIAL REFORMED PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH
Date: 1901
Nature: New church on site of old Reformed Presbyterian Church. Incorporates library and schoolroom.Foundation stones laid 9 Feb 1900. Red brick with red stone dressings. Builder: Thomas McMillan.
Refs: B 80, 23 Feb 1901, 194; IB 43, 24 Oct 1901, 916

Building: CO. ANTRIM, BELFAST, DIVIS STREET, NO. 037 (IRISH NATIONAL FORESTERS' HALL)
Date: 1906
Nature: Pleasing use of contrasting bands of stone and brickwork (Brett). Demolished.
Refs: C.E.B. Brett, Buildings of Belfast (2nd ed., 1985), 72

Building: CO. CAVAN, COOTEHILL, CONVENT OF MERCY
Date: 1911
Nature: Improvements to entrances.
Refs: IB 53, 7 Jan 1911, 24

Building: CO. ANTRIM, PORTSTEWART, ADAM CLARKE MEMORIAL METHODIST CHURCH
Date: 1922
Nature: Complete renovation.
Refs: IB 64, 1 Jul 1922, 462

Building: CO. ANTRIM, PORTRUSH, BUSHMILLS ROAD, HOUSE
Date: 1927
Nature: Proposed new house, for John Bamford, Esq.
Refs: Plans, sections, elevations, 1927, in PRONI, D2977/37/1/2/41 (see PRONI e-catalogue).

Author Title Date Details
Phillips, James John St Mary's of Grey Abbey, county Down, Ireland, as existing in the year A.D. 1874 1874 Belfast, 1874. (Lithographed view from choir reproduced in IB 16, 15 Oct 1874, 285, other drawings in IB 17, ?15 Aug,15 Oct 1875, ?224,287; see also advertisement and review in IB 16, 15 Jul,1 Oct 1874, 196, 263, and review in B 32, 19 Sep 1834, 782.)
Phillips, James John 'Cistercian Abbey of Inch' 1875 Architect 13, 20 Feb 1875, 111. (Report of paper read at uspecified meeting.)
Phillips, James John 'The architectural remains of the Cistercians in the County Down' 1875 IB 17, 15 Apr,1 May 1875, 101-103,118-120. (Paper read to Belfast Architectural Association.)
Phillips, James John 'The architectural remains of Down Abbey' 1879 IB 21, 15 Jul 1879, 221. (Paper read at quarterly meeting of Royal Historical and Archaeological Association of Ireland, 2 Jul 1879.)
Phillips, James John 'Cistercian Architecture in Ireland' 1880 Architect 24, 17 Jul 1880, 41. (Report of paper read to Royal Historical & Archaeological Association of Ireland.)
Phillips, James John 'Military architecture in Ireland' 1880 IB 22, 15 Apr 1880, 106. (Abstract of paper read at 7th general meeting of Belfast Naturalists Field Club.)
Phillips, James John 'Notes on some wrought-iron grille work in Armagh' 1884 IB 26, 15 Aug 1884, 238; B 47, 16 Aug 1884, 241. (Text or note of paper read to RSAI, Armagh, 7 Aug 1884.)
Phillips, James John 'Cistercian Abbey, Grey Abbey, Co. Down' 1899 IB 41, 1 Sep 1899, 119, and JRSAI 29 (1899), 360. (Paper read to RSAI, 16 Aug 1899.)
Phillips, James John 'Dundrum Castle, Co. Down' 1923 AJ 58, 7 Nov 1923, 707.