Seventy two years later, railings back at historic museum


Seventy-two years after the metal railings of a Grade A listed building were donated to the war effort, they have finally been restored thanks to a £70,000 grant from the Department of Social Development.

Yesterday the new railings were unveiled and history was made at the Old Museum Building in College Square North in Belfast.

This is part of a regeneration programme run by the department to improve parts of central Belfast.

New outside lighting has also been provided to make the area more welcoming at night time.

During the unveiling fresh plans were announced to turn the Old Museum Building into a new cultural and heritage centre.

The Old Museum Building, which was built in 1831, is Belfast’s finest neo-classical building.

It is still the property of its original owners, the Belfast Natural History and Philosophical Society, who ran it as a museum from 1831 to 1910 when it handed all its collections over to the Belfast Museum, now the Ulster Museum.

More recently it has been used as the home of the theatre group Kids in Control.

Treasurer of the Belfast Natural History and Philosophical Society, Brian Walker, said: “The new gates in period style look wonderful.

“They were removed in 1942 for the war effort along with all the other gates in Belfast.

“But they were later scrapped as they were not the correct quality so removing the gates ended up being a waste.”

Mr Walker said the BNHPS, who have taken back control of the building for the first time in 100 years, want to restore it to being “a cultural hub and a centre holding exhibitions and lectures”.