F.J. Bigger Archive Belfast Central Library




The F.J. Bigger Archive held at Belfast Central Library reflects the interests of F. J. Bigger (1863-1926), and consists of his private library of three thousand volumes, which includes books, journals, newspapers, pamphlets and maps from the eighteenth to the early twentieth century. These relate to Irish history and culture. Belfast Central Library also holds a collection of some 40,000 items comprising his personal papers and correspondence. Items of particular interest include the manuscripts for a prospective series of pamphlets on Northern United Irishmen, only one of which was ever published and a large collection of notes, articles and illustrations relating to Ulster towns and places. The collection of his personal letters contains correspondence with Lord Downshire, the Emmet Family, Sir Samuel Ferguson, Standish O'Grady and Alice Milligan amongst many others.


The F.J. Bigger collection includes the following strengths: manuscripts for a prospective series of pamphlets on the Northern United Irishmen and a set of notes, articles and illustrations relating to Ulster towns and places.

Physical Characteristics

The F.J. Bigger collection consists of three thousand volumes which include books, journals, newspapers, journals, pamphlets, maps and forty-eight boxes of correspondence.



Collection Type



Policy: Closed   Method: Donation;   Periodicity: Closed

The National Library of Ireland in Dublin holds material relating to F.J. Bigger, copies of this material are at Belfast Central Library.


The material may be consulted at Belfast Central Library. Enquiries should be made to the Local History Department on the second floor. The material is for reference only. Thirty boxes of material from this collection have undergone conservation and preservation through microfilming. An appointment is not necessary.

Legal Status

Libraries NI have legal owership of this collection. All enquiries regarding access and permissions should be directed to Libraries NI.

Description or Catalogue

Catalogue of the Francis Joseph Bigger Collection (Memorial Gift) in the Belfast Public Library (Belfast, 1930)



F.J. Bigger (1863-1926)


Private Collector


F J Bigger was born in Belfast, in 1863. A practising solicitor, his interest was chiefly in Irish antiquities rather than law and he devoted his life to the study of Irish archaeology and Ulster history. A member of the Royal Irish Academy, he also edited the Ulster Journal of Archaeology and published works relating to Irish penal crosses, the Ulster Land War of 1770 and William Orr, a Northern United Irishman. His particular interests included the history of Belfast, the United Irish Rebellion and the Irish language. He died in 1926.



Belfast Central Library


Belfast Ulster and Irish Studies Department, Royal Avenue, Belfast

United Kingdom



Access Control

Most of the stock is available for loan to any registered member of the Northern Ireland Library Authority. Hire charges apply to audio/ visual stock. Borrower tickets can be acquired from any public library in Northern Ireland on production of valid identification confirming name and address. A limited amount of material is for reference only. No prior appointment is necessary. Library opening hours are Monday to Thursday (09.00-20.00), Friday (09.00-17.30) and Saturday (09.00-16.30).

Administrator Role

Irish & Local Studies Librarian


+44 (0)28 9050 9150





Public Library Service






The Northern Ireland Library Authority (Libraries NI) was established in April 2009 as a result of the Review of Public Administration. Libraries NI has the statutory responsibility for the provision of public library services in Northern Ireland. Its functions are laid down in the Libraries Act (Northern Ireland) 2008. It is a Non Departmental Public Body which reports to the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure. The Board of the Authority consists of a Chairperson and 18 Members, 11 of whom are Councillors, within the meaning of the Local Government Act (Northern Ireland) 1972. All Board Members are appointed by the Minister of Culture, Arts and Leisure. The executive business of the Board is carried out by a team of officers under the leadership of the Chief Executive. The Executive Team is organised into three strategic units, each being led by a member of the Senior Management Team.