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 1000 people who lost their lives in the Belfast blitz.
Temporary displays and exhibitions ensure that regular visitors will always see something different.
The gallery is open Monday to Friday from 10.00 am to 4.30 pm. Free admission.
- A memorial to those who sacrificed their lives in the First and Second World Wars
- Remembering those who died in the blitz on Belfast in 1941
- A testimony to the friendship established with the US Forces who trained here from 1942 to 1944
- Offices for ex-Service charities.
The NIWM is a registered company (NI 2888) and recognised as a charity by the Inland Revenue (XN 47431).
The Council of the NIWM consists of thirty 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
H W White
E M Shanks
Museum Manager: Jenny Haslett
Finance Manager: Victoria Gibson
Learning and Collections Officer: Alan Freeburn
Museum Attendant: Bill Porter
The Board meets regularly to comply with statutory requirements and to fulfill governance responsibilities. Trustees exercise primarily a strategic role within the organisation. A Finance Committee, Museum Committee and Remuneration 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 gallery 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.