Architectural Drawings Archives

The Monuments and Buildings Record holds an extensive drawings archive, including drawing and plans of monuments and collections from several notable architects who designed or worked on some of Northern Ireland’s most important historic buildings.

Archaeological drawings collection

This collection consists of approximately 8,000 drawings of monuments from throughout Northern Ireland, recorded as part of Sites and Monuments Record survey work. The drawings are fully indexed on the Sites and Monuments Record database and arrangements can be made to view them. Permission to reproduce must be sought from us.

John McGeagh collection

John McGeagh (1901 – 1985) set up his own practice in 1924, designing suburban housing in Belfast and later mission and church halls. He won several awards which led to him being commissioned to design the Whitla Hall amongst others, for Queen's University, Belfast. In 1963 he was appointed architect for the incomplete St Anne's Cathedral.

The Monuments and Buildings Record (MBR) holds c.15,000 McGeagh drawings. A full catalogue is available through the MBR and arrangements can be made to view the drawings. Permission to reproduce must be sought from the Historic Environment Division.

McKinstry collection

Robert McKinstry (1925 – present) established his own practice in Belfast in 1956. Best known for his restoration work, he is particularly renowned for his work on the Grand Opera House, St. Anne’s Cathedral and the Crown Liquor Saloon in Belfast.

The Monuments and Buildings Record (MBR) holds in the region of 2,200 McKinstry drawings. A full catalogue is available through the MBR and arrangements can be made to view the drawings. Permission to reproduce must be sought from the Historic Environment Division.

Philip Bell collection

George Philip Bell (1908 – 1982) was the eldest of four sons of a family of well-to-do Quaker linen manufacturers. He received his architectural training at the Liverpool School of Architecture and worked in London before returning to Ulster to set up his own practice at Solitude. He was the first local architect who had a degree in architecture and planning. The practice executed public housing schemes in many towns. He became planning officer for Armagh, and his brother Roger for Lisburn.

Although a pioneer of the modern movement in Ulster, Bell, who had had an interest in archaeology from his schooldays, also loved old buildings and was a founder member of the Historic Buildings Council in Ulster and of the Ulster Architectural Heritage Society. He was also a member of the Ancient Monuments Advisory Council.

The MBR holds a few hundred Bell drawings. A full catalogue is available through the MBR and arrangements can be made to view the drawings. Permission to reproduce must be sought from the Historic Environment Division.

Clokey stained glass collection

This collection consists of stained glass window designs by The Clokey Stained Glass Studios of Belfast, dating from c.1895 to c.1970. These studios were a department of Campbell Brothers, glass merchants of Belfast.

The Clokey name and product was famed throughout Ireland for its beautiful church windows. Few original designs survive today as the majority were lost to fire during the 1970s. The collection held in the Monuments and buildings Record consists of some 180 original illustrations and drawings, divided into four main categories: Domestic Glass designs; Symbolic and Decorative Glass; Narrative and Figurative Glass; and Heraldic and Memorial Glass. Of these, predominant is the work of the local artist, Olive Henry, who joined the firm c.1923.

George Walsh, who was employed in the Clarke Studios in Dublin, is also represented, as are a number of earlier illustrations originating from the studio of Ward & Partners of Belfast which were added to the archive when Francis Ward, founder of the firm, joined Clokey in 1925.

Material is accessible for reference purposes only.

Ministry of Finance collection

A substantial archive, the Ministry of Finance Collection, consists of drawings, photographs and manuscript material from the original Board of Works files of the Ministry of Finance (Northern Ireland), dating from 1923 to 1952.

The range of drawings include National Schools, Post Offices, RUC Stations, Prisons, Technical Schools, Hospitals, Employment Exchanges and other buildings where Ministry architects were involved. The drawings within the files often date back further than the files themselves, thus expanding the date-range to include the period 1882 to 1923.

Material may be made available for research through the MBR.

Structure and contacts

View the Historic Environment Division structure and contacts

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