Chapple, R. M. 2012 'Parliament Buildings, Stormont Estate, Belfast' Blogspot post
Parliament Buildings, Stormont Estate, Belfast Originally posted online on 4 November 2012 at rmchapple.blogspot.com (http://rmchapple.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/parliament-buildings-stormont-estate.html)European Heritage Open Days rolled round once again in early September. This year Isaid that I was going to be ready. This year we would get involved. This year we wouldget out and see some stuff! I downloaded the brochure and made my list – this year wewere going to concentrate on what is on our own doorstep: East Belfast. Despite my bestintentions, fate (and work) intervened to ensure that I only got to see one heritagebuilding … but what a building it is!With the creation of the Northern Ireland home rule region in the Government ofIreland Act 1920 there was a need to provide the province with a dedicated building forparliamentary debate. The building that we see today was designed by Sir ArnoldThornely, though it had originally been envisaged as but one component of a muchgrander complex. The original plan was to create a large, domed building with two sidebuildings, to house all three branches of government: legislative, executive, and judicial.These larger-scale plans were never brought to fruition because of the economicdownturn in Europe, which resulted from the 1929 Stock Market crash in the US. Thebuilding is in the Greek classical style, fronted in Portland stone, and was opened in1932.Unfortunately, visitors are only allowed to take photographs outside and in the GreatHall … so I present just a small collection of photographs from the site. It is an exquisitebuilding that the general public rarely get a chance to see close-up:
Coming up the hill to the main façade. I hadnt realised that the six pillars are intendedto represent the six counties of Northern Ireland ... you learn something new every day!
View from the front gates, looking down the avenue.
The Great Hall with life-size statue of James Craig, 1st Viscount Craigavon on thelanding of the staircase.
The ceiling of the Great Hall. The large gilded chandeliers were a gift from King GeorgeV, and they had originally hung in Windsor Castle. Prior to this, they had been a gift ofKaiser Wilhelm II of Germany, but had been removed at the outbreak of WWI.