Library and archive collection of the Belfast Harbour Commissioners. Originally established as the Belfast Ballast Board, the Belfast Harbour Commissioners have been charged with the adminstration of Belfast Port and Harbour since 1785. The library collection dates from the 1850s and its early development reflected the wider cultural aspirations of the Harbour Commissioners at that time. Accordingly, in addition to a valuable collection of materials relating to the port of Belfast, its supporting industry and commerce, it also includes a good selection of key historical and topographical works on Ireland (including a complete set of Statistical Surveys), works on religion principally relating to the history of the Presbyterian Church, and some interesting 18th and early 19th century Belfast pamphlets. Comprehensive series of relevant statutes and legal rulings affecting the Commissioners are also to be found alongside good runs of periodicals, journals, directories, business histories and reports etc. The archive collection on the other hand provides a more detailed, complimentary look at the history and development of the Belfast Harbour Commissioners and has evolved as a collection from earliest times. It comprises extensive series of minutes, annual accounts, some letterbooks, photographs and newspaper cuttings etc. A good series of plans, both for engineering and architectural purposes, is also available as part of the overall collection.
The collection provides a comprehensive record of the history and business of the port of Belfast from the late 18th century onwards. The collection of architectural and railway plans are particularly valuable.
Approx. 1000 titles comprising books, journals, photograph albums, architectural and engineering plans, reports, pamphlets etc.
Details of the collection are recorded on an automated database with hard-copy print-outs (arranged by location, author and title) available for consultation at the offices of the Belfast Harbour Commissioners.
Material continues to be acquired through purchase, deposit/departmental transfer.