Additions to Queen's University, Belfast

M303 Additions to Queen's University, Belfast

Address: University Road, Belfast BT7 1NN
Date: 1910
Client: Queen's University, Belfast
Authorship: Authorship category 2 (Mackintosh and Office) (Mackintosh and Office)

Following its elevation to university status in 1908, the former Queen's College, Belfast, embarked on a major programme of expansion. In March 1910, an architectural competition was announced with Aston Webb as assessor, and in July the terms of the contest were published. 1 The original Tudor-style building, designed by Charles Lanyon and completed in 1849, was to be joined by new blocks for Botany, Zoology, Physics and Geology; there were to be extensions to the medical building, students' union and library (itself an addition of 1865–8 by William Henry Lynn); 2 a drill hall and offices were to be provided; and sites were to be set aside for the future erection of a university hall and a vice-chancellor's house. The intended expenditure was £52,000. Honeyman, Keppie & Mackintosh's cash book records that on 14 July 1910 they paid two guineas for a copy of the competition conditions. 3

57 entries were received, and in October the assessor's report was published. 4 W. H. Lynn of Belfast was awarded first place; H. Tanner and F. Dare Clapham of London came second; and in third place were A. Marshall Mackenzie & Son of London and Aberdeen. There is no mention of Honeyman, Keppie & Mackintosh among the unpremiated entries described in the Builder, and it is unclear if they submitted a design. 5

Mackintosh's Sketcher's Notebook includes a single page headed 'Queen's College Belfast Library', with brief notes recording the materials of Lynn's detached polychrome Gothic library: 'Interior red & black bricks / with faintly stained wood / Small columns black & / red marble', and '[Sm] size of hard pressed brick / All red brick with Bath & red stone dressings.' 6 Alongside these notes is a rough sketch with measurements, entitled 'Magazine Stand'.

Colour photograph of notes on Queen's College, Belfast, from Mackintosh's Sketcher's NotebookPhotograph of library, Queen's University, Belfast, by William Henry Lynn, 1865–8

This is the kind of information someone intending to enter the competition might have gathered on a site visit, and indeed the cash book records a sum of £6 18s for 'CRM expenses to Belfast'. 7



1: Builder, 98, 5 March 1910, pp. 266–7; Builder, 99, 9 July 1910, p. 34.

2: Dictionary of Irish Architects 1720–1940: [accessed 11 January 2012].

3: The Hunterian, University of Glasgow: John Honeyman & Keppie / Honeyman, Keppie & Mackintosh / Keppie Henderson cash book, 1889–1917, GLAHA 53079, p. 135.

4: Builder, 99, 15 October 1910, pp. 443–4.

5: Builder, 99, 22 October 1910, pp. 460–3.

6: The Hunterian, University of Glasgow: Sketcher's Notebook, GLAHA 53015/62.

7: The Hunterian, University of Glasgow: John Honeyman & Keppie / Honeyman, Keppie & Mackintosh / Keppie Henderson cash book, 1889–1917, GLAHA 53079, p. 137. Mackintosh did not receive these expenses until 28 November 1910, six weeks after the competition had been decided.