Situated in the heart of the Cathedral Quarter beside St Anne’s Cathedral, the War Memorial is an Accredited Museum which is a ‘must see’ for anybody with an interest in Northern Ireland’s role in the two world wars. The museum tells the story of the Belfast Blitz in 1941, the Ulster Home Guard, the role played by women in the war and the presence of US forces from 1942 to 1944.
Uniforms and exhibits relating to the Home Guard, Civil Defence and the Women’s Voluntary Service are on display.
Robert Taylor Carson’s 1946 perceptive portrait in oils of Leading Seaman James Magennis, the only Ulsterman to receive the Victoria Cross in WW2, is a main feature.
A magnificent stained glass memorial window, a beautiful black marble wall, large copper friezes and a plinth hewn from Mourne granite dominate the space.
The centre-piece is a large bronze by John Sherlock of a mother and daughter escaping from the blitz.
A memorial screen recalls the names of over 1,000 people who lost their lives in the Belfast blitz.
Temporary displays and exhibitions ensure that regular visitors will always see something different.
Visits for schools and community groups can be arranged. Visit the Learning tab for more information about workshops for schools and community groups.
The gallery is open Monday to Friday from 10.00 am to 4.30 pm. Free admission.
To enrich people’s understanding of the contribution of the people of Northern Ireland in two world wars and the presence of US Armed Forces in Northern Ireland during the Second World War by preserving and displaying a unique collection and delivering a programme of engaging displays and enjoyable events to visitors and tourists from around the world. The NIWM will reach out to everyone in Northern Ireland through a programme of learning and education.
- To develop and preserve the collection for present and future generations.
- To provide public access to the collection and make it available to everyone in Northern Ireland and tourists from abroad.
- To profile the NIWM, by offering events and exhibitions so that tourists, visitors, children and non-users are made aware of the existence of the collection.
- To offer an education and outreach programme to schools and local communities.
- To provide ex-service bodies and charities with affordable office accommodation and facilities for meetings.
- Provide small grant funding towards projects which fulfil the NIWM charitable purpose.
Statement of Charitable Purpose and Associated Public Benefit
- To provide and maintain as an enduring War Memorial for Northern Ireland a building or buildings which will worthily commemorate the men and women of Northern Ireland who died in the two World Wars 1914-1918 and 1939-1945.
- To provide and maintain therein accommodation, amenities and services for the Royal British Legion and other charitable bodies which are established for the advancement, relief and benefit of present and former members of armed forces.
- To provide and maintain in at least one building therein accommodation to be known as the Hall of Friendship to commemorate the association of the Armed Forces of the United States of America with Northern Ireland in the 1939-1945 war.
The War Memorial is an Accredited Museum with a developing collection. We continue to accept acquisitions (photographs, uniforms, and objects) relating to the First World War, the Second World War, the Belfast Blitz and the American presence in Northern Ireland during the Second World War. If you’d like to speak to us about gifting an object to the collection please call 028 90 320392 or email email@example.com
Our Collections Development Policy is available to read here Collections Development Policy
The Council of the Northern Ireland War Memorial (Incorporated) is a registered charity in Northern Ireland (NIC 103635) and registered as a company limited by guarantee (NI 002888).
The Council of the NIWM consists of thirty seven members who meet annually to adopt the financial statement, elect trustees to the Board and appoint auditors. The Patron is Major H J F Potter.
Ian Wilson (Chairman)
J M Steele (Vice Chairman)
B E Barton
A J Crowther
C W Duncan
P ShawE Cromie
E M Shanks
Museum Manager: Jenny Haslett
Finance Manager: Victoria Gibson
Learning and Collections Officer: Alan Freeburn
Museum Assistant: Bill Porter
The Board meets regularly to comply with statutory requirements and to fulfil governance responsibilities. Trustees exercise primarily a strategic role within the organisation. A Finance Committee and Museum Committee deal with the ongoing affairs of the charity.
The Board adopts an annual business plan, which is delivered by the management team. NIWM complies with its obligations under company law and charity law. An annual financial statement as at 31 January is filed with the Registrar of Companies. The charity is self-funding and is not dependent on external sources of finance.
In 1943 an appeal for a War Memorial was launched with the government undertaking to match donations from the public. A site in Waring Street that had been bombed during the Blitz in May 1941 was chosen for the building; the building being the subject of a design competition. Memorial House was opened by HM The Queen Mother in 1963. By 2006 the War Memorial Building on Waring Street had fulfilled its original purposes and the War Memorial downsized to its present premises in 21 Talbot Street.
The War Memorial museum is on the ground floor. The board room, conference room, offices and archive are on the second floor. The facilities are available free to all ex-Service bodies as a charitable output.
The new building at 21 Talbot Street incorporates a new Hall of Friendship, the original stained glass memorial window by Stanley Murray Scott, the Belgian marble War Memorial wall, the copper frieze by James McKendry and the two Rolls of Honour – all from the original War Memorial on Waring Street.
The accommodation houses the offices of the SSAFA, RAFA, Combat Stress and Help For Heroes.