Union Theological College, Queen's Quarter

Union Theological College is the theological and ministerial training college for the Presbyterian Church in Ireland.

It was founded in 1853 and built in a Renaissance Revival style with a grand Doric porch and Baroque attic. The building was designed by Sir Charles Lanyon.

Today, the College offers a modest number of distance learning postgraduate courses in Theology and awards degrees validated by the Catholic St Mary’s University, Twickenham.

In the wake of the 1859 religious revival, its south wing with its dining hall and student accommodation was added in 1869.

The newly formed Parliament of Northern Ireland met in the College from 1921 until 1932 while Stormont was being built

Between 1941 and 1948 the city police used the College as its own headquarters were bombed in the Belfast Blitz.

In 1927, one of the college professors, J. Ernest Davey, was the subject of a heresy trial because of his teaching in the College.  Although cleared by the Church’s courts, a small number of Presbyterians broke away unhappy with the decision and founded what later became the Evangelical Presbyterian Church.

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