Belfast Central Library, Royal Avenue

Belfast Central Library was opened in 1888. It was designed by William Henry Lynn through open public competition.[1]

It has design features that are classical and Italianate.

It has a squat square appearance with Corinthian column pilasters that give it the appearance of a Greek temple.[2]

It also has grand Palazzo appearance, suggesting a grand purpose, projecting eaves from a flat roof, tall first floor windows suggesting a ‘piano nobile’, a ‘noble’ floor where official business is transacted, quoins, masonry blocks at the corner of a wall, a portico and flat roof. It has a black granite base and is made of Dumfries red sandstone.[3]

It is a fine example of the many public municipal buildings that dominated British and Irish Victorian cities in the later 19th century and was seen as a symbol of public service, spreading knowledge and Victorian self-improvement.

Do you want to learn more about the history of Belfast? Let me take you on my Bricks and Buildings Tour that includes visiting the Library!

[1] Marcus Patton, Central Belfast, An Historical Gazetteer (Belfast: Ulster Architectural Heritage Society), p.289.

[2] C.E.B. Brett, Buildings of Belfast, 1700-1914 Revised Edition  (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1985), p.63.

[3] Accessed 26.6.22.