The record is a map-based with data on over 18,000 important industrial sites and remains located throughout the 6 counties of Northern Ireland comprising factories, mills, ridges, canals and railways etc.
The Industrial Archaeology Record (or Industrial Heritage Record as is sometimes known) is maintained and administered by the Built Heritage branch of the Department of the Environment and Heritage Service for Northern Ireland (EHS). It is a map-based record with data on over 18,000 important industrial sites and remains located throughout the 6 counties of Northern Ireland comprising factories, mills, ridges, canals and railways etc. Initiated in the 1980s as a map-based survey by the Institute of Irish Studies at Queen's University with finance from the Department of the Environment, and later the Greater Belfast Industrial Archaeology Survey, the IAR was established to record the relics of Northern Ireland's industrial past. Belfast is particularly well documented as a result of these early efforts which were conducted by the industrial archaeologists, Dr Fred Hamond and Cormac Scally through the Institute of Irish Studies and through additional work by Colin Rynne on mills in West Belfast. Features and sites to be found in the Glens of Antrim have also been recorded as have numerous railways and canals including the Newry Canal which has now received official designation as a scheduled site of importance.
The McCutcheon Collection forms a major part of the IAR comprising the research notes and fieldwork of Dr Alan McCutcheon who was commissioned by the Ministry of Finance during the 1960s to carry out a comprehensive survey of the industrial heritage of Northern Ireland. The archive consists of material compiled during the field survey carried out in the 1960s of commercial and industrial monuments and features including a photographic record of over 20,000 exposures covering the counties of N. Ireland and a small number of photographs in Donegal and Monaghan. The Archive is particularly important as large numbers of industrial monuments and features were surveyed that no longer exist.
With the exception of the McCutcheon Collection, each site included in the Industrial Archaeology Record is referenced by a unique identifier with a separate file maintained for each. These files contain a range of information relevant to each individual site including field notes from the various surveys, map references and descriptions, published articles and extracts, and photographs etc. Files continue to be expanded by the Department as a result of on-going work.
The strength of the Industrial Archaeology Record (IAR) lies in the completeness of its coverage and subject matter. It comprises a unique and comprehensive working record of both extant and extinct industrial sites and remains in the north of Ireland, providing a valuable commentary on the industrial development and history of the area.
The IAR contains approx. 18,000 files comprising a range of original and copied papers and photographs.
The collection is arranged and indexed according to a unique identifying reference system. Files are physically arranged in accordance to this series with details available in both hard-copy and digital formats.
The IAR is an evolving resource developing as a result of on-going work by the department.