The Monuments and Buildings Record is maintained and administered by the Built Heritage branch of the Department of the Environment and Heritage Service for Northern Ireland. It is a unique record consisting of a series of related collections concerning all elements of the built environment in Northern Ireland in the form of databases, written, photographic and drawn material. The Record itself is divided into a number of identifiable areas with collections accumulated accordingly. These concern archaeological sites and historic monuments (the Sites and Monuments Record); industrial heritage (the Industrial Heritage Record); historic and listed buildings of Northern Ireland (the Architectural Record); historic gardens, parks and demesnes (the Heritage Garden Inventory); shipwrecks and inter-tidal sites along Northern Ireland’s coastline (the Maritime Record); and 20th century military structures (the Defence Heritage Project). Complementary collections of slides and photographs, architectural drawings and a specialised reference library have also been developed in addition to the acquisition of a number of relevant archival collections. These include the University of Cambridge aerial photographs, the John Seeds architectural collection, the industrial heritage archive of W.A. McCutcheon, the Clokey Collection of Stained Glass Window designs and a number of smaller photographic collections.
The strength of the MBR lies in the completeness of its coverage and subject matter. It comprises a unique and comprehensive record of the history and development of the built environment in Northern Ireland compiled from the 1950s onwards, but including material collected as far back as the 1870s. Information can be found on archaeological, architectural, industrial, maritime and inter-tidal sites, historic gardens, designed landscapes and Northern Ireland’s listed buildings and historic monuments.
The MBR is an extensive collection containing well over 300,000 items comprising files (approx. 50,000), slides (150,000), photographs (50,000), architectural drawings (40,000), books and journals (10,000 items), pamphlets (5,000 items) and automated databases etc.
A combination of automated and manual catalogues are available for consultation at the MBR offices.
Access to the Northern Ireland Sites and Monuments and the Northern Ireland Buildings Databases are available on: www.ehsni.gov.uk/BuiltHeritage.
The MBR is an evolving resource developing through a combination of loans, purchased, gifts, deposits and the on-going work of the department.