W.A. McCutcheon Archive

Research collection of the industrial archaeologist, W.A. McCutcheon. An extensive and important collection, it comprises the cumulative working notes, photographs, slides and papers etc accumulated and compiled by McCutcheon in the preparation of his major work, The Industrial Archaeology of Northern Ireland (1980). Commissioned by the then Ancient Monuments Advisory Council, McCutcheon was appointed in 1962 to carry out a comprehensive survey of all industrial monuments in Northern Ireland. This work took some 6 years to complete and involved detailed inspections, assessments and documentation of all the material remains of 18th and 19th century industry and communications extant in the province at that time. The resultant resource concentrates on vital aspects of the region’s industrial and commercial history, highlighting and providing a basic framework for many other areas of inquiry. Specific references are made to sites and features of historical significance or topographical importance particularly those relating to the evolution, adaptation and decline of internal transport systems (roads, bridges, railways and canals), the development of power technology and its impact on Ulster’s flax and linen industry, and the evolution of industry and communication in the north of Ireland more generally. The collection itself contains an extensive photographic archive and a considerable collection of related documentary and archival resources assembled by McCutcheon during the period of research (1962-68). This last element ranges from a large number of original civil engineering and architectural drawings to business records, copy patents, collections of prints and negatives of renaissance technology, miscellaneous correspondence, plans, specifications, biographies, catalogues, and trade brochures etc. McCutcheon’s original field notes are also to be found within the collection. These run to over 1000 pages and are contained in two closely written, illustrated ledgers.


The McCutcheon Archive represents a unique and important resource for a wide range of research into many aspects of Irish Social and Economic History. It is particularly valuable for recording the physical features and structures of Northern Ireland's industrial heritage, many of which have since succumbed to years of decay and destruction. A database is being established which will enable search by placenames and site types.

Physical characteristics

The collection includes approx. 27,000 monochrome prints and negatives (mostly large format, 2000 slides of which 240 are in colour, 5000 typed card extracts from the Griffith valuations, approx. 100 drawings (mostly 19th century), two volumes of field notes and 71 cubic feet of published and unpublished papers, article and book proofs, newspaper cuttings, handbooks, pamphlets, books, leaflets, manuals, various reports, advertising sheets, factory returns, xerox extracts from publications and other items..

Description or Catalogue

The collection is currently in the process of detailed cataloguing by the Environment & Heritage Service: Built Heritage. Many items, including the photographic elements, are, however, already indexed according to townland and County and can be located on that basis.






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Added by Environment and Heritage Service | Last updated on: 08 February 2018