FRIDAY FEATURE: Today I want to look at another of the sections within the FREE ‘Discover’ area of our website – Titles published with the Belfast Natural History and Philosophical Society. The majority of these titles have now been digitised and are available to read online for free here.

The Belfast Natural History Society was founded on 5 June 1821 by Dr James Lawson Drummond, the Professor of Anatomy at Belfast Academical Institution, and seven young men in their late teens or early twenties. In 1842, ‘and Philosophical’ was added to the Society’s name to reflect its broadening remit.

In 1831, the Society opened a museum in College Square North, the first museum in Ireland to be built by voluntary subscription. For more information on the Belfast Natural History and Philosophical Society, go to the Society’s website.

In 1998, the Belfast Natural History and Philosophical Society initiated a publications programme and subsequently entered into a partnership with the Ulster Historical Foundation to publish monographs on the broad theme of the history of Belfast and Ulster.

It was a successful collaboration with the Foundation bringing its expertise in the world of publishing, resulting in the production of a series of handsome books.

In 2000, Nini Rodgers’ Equiano and Anti-Slavery in Eighteenth-Century Belfast and Allan Blackstock’s Double Traitors? The Belfast Volunteers and Yeomen, 1778–1828 were published.

Three Book Covers

The final two books in the series neatly complemented each other. They were Raymond Gillespie’s Early Belfast: the Origins and Growth of an Ulster Town to 1750 (2007) and Stephen Royle’s Portrait of an Industrial City ‘Clanging Belfast’, 1750–1914 (2011) which are available in our online store where we also stock Cultivating a love of knowledge: Two hundred years of the Belfast Natural History and Philosophical Society, 1821-2021 edited by William Roulston and Angelique Day

BNHPS front cover THUMB

We have also included in this free section our 2002 publication Living Like a Lord: the Second Marquis of Donegall 1769–1844 by W.A. Maguire. Although not a book published in association with the Belfast Natural History and Philosophical Society, it was written by a distinguished former President of the Society.

With titles covering a wide range of themes and topics, we hope there is something for everyone to enjoy in this new free section of the website.