News from UAHS

‘Massive Monolith’ threatens to overshadow some of Belfast’s best historic architecture.


In October 2017 and January 2018, Ulster Architectural Heritage objected to applications relating to the ‘City Centre Regeneration’ formerly Royal Exchange. These objections set out the organisation’s concerns regarding the detrimental impact of proposed development on the fabric and setting of listed buildings, and the City Centre Conservation Area in and around Rosemary Street. These objections still firmly apply.

On Tuesday 13th February UAH presented to the Planning Committee at Belfast City Council at a predetermination meeting for the application relating to the area of Rosemary Street, one of 25 applications pertaining to the overall development plan. Also speaking in opposition alongside UAH were representatives of campaign group Save CQ and the congregation of Rosemary Street Presbyterian Church.

UAHS is Recruiting! Executive Assistant Required.


Job Advertisement:

Executive Assistant

The Ulster Architectural Heritage Society seeks to employ an Executive Assistant on a 12 month contract, extension possible subject to review and continuation of relevant funding.


PETITION: UAHS Calls for Automatic Interim Protection to buildings in NI proposed for listing.


Ulster Architectural Heritage calls for your support to help close a loophole in the listing process in Northern Ireland. Help heritage. Sign the petition here. Find out more:

Listed buildings are given special protection by law, and it is a criminal offence to damage them, but current NI legislation offers no automatic interim protection to buildings which are under consideration for listing. When the Historic Environment Division, Department for Communities intend to list a building, a notification letter is issued to the local authority and the owner. However, the building is NOT yet protected by law. Shockingly, some owners who do not appreciate the value of their irreplaceable historic asset or who have a commercial vested interest, can, and do demolish before the final formal designation is issued. 

Straid Congregational Church: Nearly Listed, Nearly Demolished- Now Saved!


Straid Congregational Church is saved by Building Preservation Notice, despite moves towards its demolition.

A pre-dawn plan to demolish the 200 year old Congregational Church in the Co. Antrim village of Straid was foiled on Saturday morning. This highlights once again the gaps in NI listing legislation, but also demonstrates that with determined, well advised, community action, backed by prompt and decisive reaction by a local Council, such acts of cultural vandalism can sometimes be stopped in their tracks.

Waterside Plans - A Missed Opportunity for Derry


On 22nd November, 2017, Ulster Architectural Heritage addressed a public meeting regarding the restoration of Waterside Station, Derry~Londonderry.

Derry is blessed with historic assets that other towns and cities in NI have long since lost or degraded beyond recognition.

Notable terminus station architecture such as Bangor and the magnificent Belfast stations at Great Victoria Street and Queen’s Quay long since bulldozed, and the unusually quirky Portrush terminus abandoned by Translink to an uncertain fate.

Unique river frontages in Newry sacrificed to ill conceived road schemes, carparking and the service bays of supermarkets, the dismal Laganside in Belfast and the inexcusable concrete cloned retail parks on Ballymena and Enniskillen river and lakeside.

New book 'Glamour and Gloom' launches in time for Christmas!


New UAHS publication lauched 'Glamour and Gloom: 1930s Architecture in Belfast'

Fire - A Foe of Belfast's Built Heritage.


The Ulster Architectural Heritage Society is deeply concerned by fire at 150 year old building at 16-18 Donegall Street, Belfast, Friday last, and again on Monday afternoon.  The NI Fire and Rescue service are to be commended on the speed and efficiency of their response on Friday, which undoubtedly saved this building and probably others close by. It seems likely that damage caused on Friday may not have been sufficiently pleasing, and arsonist(s) returned on Monday to further damage this building. Despite the double arson attack, with intervention by the emergency services, the building appears relatively sound. Restoration should be possible and, indeed, is the appropriate response to such wanton damage of Belfast's built heritage.

Heritage Angel Awards- Shortlist Announced!


The search for Northern Ireland’s first Heritage Angels is moving forward with the final Heritage Angel Awards shortlist revealed today.  These annual awards aim to celebrate unsung angels of local heritage- individuals or groups, who have rescued an historic building or site, worked as craftsmen or apprentices, or recorded and interpreted a historic place.

Application Submitted for Phase 1: Belfast's Cathedral Quarter.


Application Submitted for Phase 1: Belfast's Cathedral Quarter. UAHS speaks out about the application process, and the effect proposals would, if approved, have on Belfast and its heritage.

New Listings-New Dawn for Protection of Built Heritage in Belfast?


As the first buildings are listed by issue of Building Preservation Notice since devolved powers in 2015, can this actually be interpreted as a game changer for protection of Belfast’s historic buildings?

It goes without saying that the Ulster Architectural Heritage Society (UAHS) welcomes Belfast City Council’s decision to endorse the listing of prominent Victorian buildings 156-164 and 166-174 North Street, the 120 year old Windsor and Merchants buildings.

Any action attributing value and protection to the City’s remaining historic fabric, given decades of incremental losses, must deliver due credit to Belfast City Council and the members of the City Council Planning Committee.

There was apparent ease in the way that ‘almost listed’ buildings at 97-105 North Street were demolished last year. Belfast City Council had been informed of the buildings’ significance and of the intention to list.  The Council’s power to serve a Building Preservation Notice (BPN) could have been used to protect the buildings in the interim but no such action was taken. The demolition of these buildings added to the previous loss of the Elephant Buildings and bar, now a carpark, and added further to the almost complete demise of Upper North Street, once one of Belfast’s most attractive principal historic trading streets.

Seacoast Cottage Shines Light on Cuts to Historic Environment Funding


The case of Seacoast Cottage serves to shine a light on the lack of funding available to protect some of Northern Ireland’s most important historic buildings.

This B1 Listed thatched cottage is one of over 500 buildings currently recorded to be ‘at risk’. In early 2015, structural issues combined with extreme weather caused partial collapse of the thatched roof. As a consequence the cottage has been deemed structurally unsound and at risk of complete collapse. One of only approximately 150 thatched buildings remaining in Northern Ireland, this six-bay, basalt built, marram thatched cottage survives as a family home, having been in the family of the current owner for four generations. Until 2015, the current owner had self- maintained the thatch without requests for grant assistance. However, the collapse of the thatched roof has meant that the family now need urgent help, and the case is deemed critical.

UAHS is Recruiting- Heritage Events Assistants Required! EXTENDED DEADLINE!


UAHS runs an events programme and projects that involve events activity, such as the Heritage Angel Awards, European Heritage Open Days, and our biannual summer school. In a Heritage Events Assistant role with the Ulster Architectural Heritage Society, (UAHS) you will help to deliver these events, for example welcoming, guiding and explaining the work of the UAHS, and the value of membership to our members and the general public. You may help to outreach programmes at locations throughout Northern Ireland and the nine counties of Ulster.

Heritage Angel Awards to feature 'Buildings of Belfast-Heritage in Song'!


Buildings of Belfast – Heritage in Song

Local artists to support first ever Heritage Awards for Northern Ireland


New Future for Former Methodist Church?


Approvals have been granted for well known building at risk, former Methodist Church at University Road to be turned into a public house. With a proposed spend of £2 million by established chain JD Wetherspoon.

The former Methodist Church, University Road, Belfast was built in 1865 to designs by architect W.J. Barre. It is grade B listed and is an important building within the Queen’s Conservation Area. The building is mid Victorian design of red, yellow and blue brick with stone. It’s campanile, or free standing Italian style bell tower, stands prominently on University Road, framing the street with the spires of the nearby Crescent and Moravian listed churches.



Heritage Angel Awards: Information Events!


From 26th July the Ulster Architectural Heritage Society will be out, across Northern Ireland, helping you to find out all about the Heritage Angel Awards Northern Ireland. UAHS will be supported at these events by our funder and partner, the Department for Communities.

The Heritage Angel Awards, is an exciting new project for Northern Ireland, launched in June. The annual awards aim to celebrate unsung angels of local heritage. For example, individuals and communities who have rescued an historic building, completed heritage projects, worked as craftsmen or apprentices, or recorded and interpreted a historic place.

Two Wrongs Don’t Make a Right: Pre-Application Consultation #2


In April 2017, UAHS advised that a large portion of the Cathedral Quarter Conservation Area- Lower North Street, and Donegall Street is proposed for demolition by way of the ‘Belfast City Regeneration Project’ previously referred to as ‘Royal Exchange’. A campaign led by Save CQ saw over 2000 people object to the proposals. Read the previous article here.

Round two of the pre-application consultation sessions are in the MAC on Monday, 3rd (2pm-8pm) and Tuesday 4th July (9am-2pm). The original timeframe for comment before Friday 7th of July was unnecessarily short.

Launch of Heritage Angel Awards NI! Apply or Nominate Now.


The Inaugural Launch of the Heritage Angel NI Awards took place this week in Belfast.  The scheme funded by the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation and the Department for Communities, is administered by the Ulster Architectural Heritage Society.   The Awards seek to celebrate the efforts of people who go to extraordinary lengths to protect, save and share their local heritage.  They also recognise those who champion their local heritage by sharing and practising forgotten craft skills.  In addition they celebrate young people, recognising their efforts to learn about heritage. 


Hilden Mill- Hope for a Heritage Led Future?


UAHS welcomes the news that Barbour Campbell’s Mill, Hilden has been acquired by a new owner. The Society hopes sale spurs Hilden's heritage led future.


Belfast's Next 15 Years? UAHS Responds to Proposed Plans.


UAHS responds to the Belfast City Council Preferred Options Paper, for the Local Development Plan, on a basis of the Society’s core principals of the conservation, re-use and heritage-led regeneration of Northern Ireland’s national built heritage asset. Our principals recognise how the intrinsic value of the asset contributes to prosperity, tourist income generation, culture and pride of place, and a general sense of wellbeing related to living within, and interacting with, urban and rural built environment. Particularly the historic built environment...

UAHS~IGS Summer School-Returns June 2017!


Conservation without Frontiers: Exploring the Connection between Buildings and Places in North West Ulster

UAHS and IGS’s biennial Summer School is back for 2017!

Once again, this special event brings together students, experts and enthusiasts to explore, discuss, debate and enjoy issues relating to our shared Irish heritage in the context of Derry City & Strabane and Donegal. The event will focus on conservation and heritage led regeneration in the built environment of North West Ulster.

There will be many opportunities to visit and engage with the history and heritage of the area through talks, site visits to vernacular and civic buildings of architectural interest, demonstrations of traditional building skills and open discussions.

Speakers include: Dr. Brian Lacey, Paddy Matthews, Dr. Andrew McClelland, Dr. Edward McParland, Dr. Fidelma Mullane, Ronan O'Donnell, Dr. Barry O'Reilly, Dr. Greg Stevenson and Prof. Alistair Rowan.


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