1900 – Mater Infirmorum Hospital, Crumlin Rd., Belfast

Architect: William J. Fennell


The Mater Infirmorum (Mother of the Sick) Hospital was founded by the Sisters of Mercy but has always treated patients without regard to class or creed.

As the population of Belfast increased in the 1890’s, a new hospital building was needed. The new hospital opened in 1900, after the design was selected in competition adjudicated by Sir Thomas Drew in 1897. In 1909 the Mater Hospital was officially recognised as a university teaching hospital and is still associated with and receives students from the Queen’s University Medical School.

Fennell’s design still stands but is now part of a larger hospital campus. During its construction, The Builder remarked that “The new red brick buildings of the Mater Infirmorum Hospital in the Crumlin-road by Mr. W.J. Fennell are noticeable for their unpolished grey granite dressings. There is a satisfactorily designed porch to the middle block but the angles are badly weakened in appearance by being carried on the middle of bay windows. The ward block seems much too crowded up against the middle to get proper light and ventilation.”

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