Sam Thompson Collection

The Sam Thompson Collection at Belfast Central Library reflects his life as a playwright in Belfast in the 1960's, it also includes some related material - writings of Warren Julian Thompson (son). Sam Thompson was born in Ballymacarrett, Belfast in 1916 and worked for the greater part of his life as a painter in the shipyard. Sam Hanna Bell was responsible for encouraging him to write. His best known work "Over the Bridge", a play which deals realistically with a sectarian labour dispute was produced in Belfast in 1960 with great success. His other works "The Evangelist", which was staged in 1963 and "Cemented with Love", which was televised in 1966 have remained unpublished. Thompson was seen as an observer of life and work in the ship-building community of Belfast. He was involved in trade unionism and stood for political office. He died suddenly in 1961, his death was described as "a grievous loss to Irish drama" by Stewart Parker.


The collection comprises manuscripts and drafts of Thompson's plays. The strength of the collection lies in the range of materials available, namely manuscripts, newspaper articles, speeches, correspondence and scrapbooks which are contemporaneous with his life and times.

Physical characteristics

There are 16 archival boxes containing radio features, BBC scripts, prose works, short stories, cuttings, speeches and correspondence.

Description or Catalogue

Itemised hand-list available for consultation.


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