Memorial to Sir William Whitla, on the Whitla Hall

The Whitla Hall was opened in 1949 and was named after Sir William Whitla. It is a meeting hall and lecture theatre at Queen’s University Belfast.

Whitla was a prominent Belfast doctor, lecturer, MP for the University and Methodist.

He was born and raised at The Diamond in Monaghan Town, the fourth son of Robert Whitla, a woollen draper and pawnbroker.

Educated at the town’s Model School, Whitla was articled at fifteen to his brother James, a local pharmacist who had a chemist shop on Dublin Street in Monaghan Town. On completing his apprenticeship he joined Wheeler and Whitaker, Belfast’s leading pharmaceutical firm.

He then studied medicine at Queen’s College, Belfast, becoming a doctor in 1877.

After qualifying, he was appointed a physician to the Belfast Royal Hospital and the Ulster Hospital for Children and Women in 1882. He held that post at the Belfast Royal Hospital and successor Royal Victoria Hospital until his retirement in 1918.

He was a strong unionist and was elected to the Westminster Parliament representing the Queen’s University seat from 1918 to 1923. He died in 1933.

Do you want to learn more about the history of Belfast? We pass this site on my Queen’s Quarter Tour!