Royal Belfast Academical Institution Collection

The Royal Belfast Academical Institution Collection forms part of the F.J. Bigger Collection at Belfast Central Library. The material contained in it serves as complementary material to the the school's own archive. It was accumulated as a result of F.J. Bigger's involvement with the school's centenary publication. The collection consists of manuscripts and proof sheets relating to the centenary publication, with information about past pupils and some correspondence. Included is biographical information on past pupils and staff with accompanying pictures in many cases, e.g. Edward Bunting, Charles Gavin Duffy, William Pirrie, correspondence from the likes of Robert Stewart, Marquis of Londonderry and George Benn, developments in the school from receipts for science equipment to purchase of premises in Barracks Street. RBAI (Royal Belfast Academical Institution) was established in 1810 as a result of the demands of a group of well-to-do Belfast merchants, and professional gentlemen. According to them the existing Belfast Academy under Dr. William Bruce did not offer a "complete, uniform, and extensive system of education." They hoped that a new school would give more access to the ‘higher’ branches of learning as well as to those which would fit youths for a practical commercial career. Until the middle of the 19th Century Inst. was both a school and a university. This was before Queen’s University was opened and the only University in Ireland was in Dublin.


The strength of the collection lies in the manuscript material relating to the centenary publication for Royal Belfast Academical Institution.

Physical characteristics

The collection consists of seventeen archival boxes.

Description or Catalogue

None available


Accrual Policy
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Added by Libraries NI | Last updated on: 24 May 2018