Bridget Teresa McCrory
Thomas Duff (1792 - 1848):
Thomas Duff was born in Newry in 1792. Little is known of his early education and training although it is thought he attended the Dublin Society’s School of Drawing and Architecture. By 1813 Duff had established himself as an architect in his home town of Newry where he took over the supervision of St Mary’s Church of Ireland Church from Patrick O’Farrell. By the end of 1822, when he placed an advertisement in the Belfast Newsletter he had opened a second office in College Square, Belfast. He is listed in Pigot & Co.'s City of Dublin and Hibernian Provincial Directory (1824) with addresses both in Castle Street, Newry, and in South College Square, Belfast.
In 1829 Duff brought in Thomas Jackson to run the Belfast office and soon afterwards made him his partner. The partnership was dissolved in 1835 when Jackson established his own practice in Belfast. Duff appears to have closed his Belfast office with Jackson's departure. His work included three churches dedicated to St. Patrick: St. Patrick's Pro-Cathedral Dundalk (modelled on King’s College Chapel, Cambridge) the Cathedral Church of St. Patrick and St. Colman, Newry and St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Armagh City. Duff also designed St. Patrick's School in Belfast, the city's first National School, believed to be the last remaining Gothic revival building in Belfast, and the museum of the Belfast Natural History Society.
Thomas Duff died in the early hours of 10 May 1848 as the result of a stroke and was buried on 12 May in St Mary's burial ground attached to the old Catholic chapel in Chapel Street, Newry.
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