Queens Arcade Belfast

Queen’s Arcade is the last remaining Victorian Arcade in the city. Designed by the architect James McKinnon and brought to life in 1880, the building was later described as “at once fashionable as a promenade and highly attractive as a business thoroughfare”, containing “upwards of thirty finely fitted shops”. It is not only an important thoroughfare but has a rich history entwined with some of the Belfast’s leading citizens.

Prior to the construction of The Arcade in 1880, the site was home to Dr James McDonnell from the late-18th to the mid-19th century. Dr McDonnell is recognised as the Father of Belfast Medicine and among his many achievements was the co-founder of the Belfast Fever Hospital & Dispensary, which later became the Royal Victoria Hospital. In addition to this, he was also a founder member of the Linenhall Library and Royal Belfast Academical Institution, and established a music academy to teach blind children to play the harp.

In 1895, Sir Otto Jaffe, the leading 19th century Belfast philanthropist and entrepreneur, who twice was Lord Mayor, purchased the building. Another visionary, he was Governor of the Royal Victoria Hospital. His real passion was education. He funded Queen’s College, now Queen’s University, where he sat on a committee to lobby successfully for the Public Libraries Act to be extended to Belfast.

Since then, Queen’s Arcade has undergone two restorations, one in the 1935 carried out by Hobart & Heron Architects, and another in 2019. After many years in planning, with a team of specialist conservation architects and designers, the grand old Building has been restored back to its 19th century former glory. 120 years since it was born, Queen’s Arcade remains one of Belfast’s signature landmarks.

Queens Arcade Belfast

4 Queen's Arcade, Belfast, BT1 5FE

028 9032 9799