Situated in the heart of Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter beside St.Anne’s Cathedral, the Northern Ireland War Memorial is an accredited museum which is a ‘must see’ for anybody with an interest in Northern Ireland’s role in the Second World War. The museum tells the story of the Belfast Blitz 1941, the Ulster Home Guard, the role played by women in the War and the presence of US Forces.
The fallen are remembered in a magnificent stained-glass window and granite plinth containing Books of Remembrance for the First and Second World War. A Memorial screen recalls the names of over 1000 people who lost their lives in the Belfast Blitz.
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 of the gallery.
The centre-piece is a large bronze by John Sherlock of a mother and a daughter escaping from the Blitz.
Two copper friezes from the original War Memorial Building on Waring Street form an important part of the gallery, the Hall of Friendship. The friezes by Ulster artist James McKendry depict the US presence in Northern Ireland 1942-44 and the war effort in Northern Ireland.
Temporary Displays and exhibitions ensure that regular visitors will always see something different.
The gallery is open Monday – Friday from 10.00am to 4.30pm.
Open on the first Saturday of each month from 12.00pm to 4.00pm.
The museum offers a range of family events, as well as workshops and talks for primary schools and community groups. Visit the Learning Tab for more information.
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 building 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 Northern Ireland 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 would like to speak to us about gifting an object to the collection please call 028 9032 0392 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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 forty-one members who meet annually to adopt the financial statement, elect Trustees to the Board and appoint auditors. The Patron is J M Steele.
Trustees and Staff:
Ian Wilson (Chairman)
B E Barton
A J Crowther
C W Duncan
E M Shanks
C T Hogg
Museum Manager: Jenny Haslett
Finance Manager: Victoria Gibson
Learning and Collections Officer: Alan Freeburn
Business Support Coordinator: Gemma Rowland
Learning and Outreach Assistant: Michael Fryer
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, 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.