Graduates Memorial Building

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Graduates Memorial Building
Trinity College Dublin 4.jpg
General information
TypeDebating chamber, student society rooms and residences
LocationLibrary Square
Trinity College
Dublin 2
Coordinates53°20′41″N 6°15′24″W / 53.34482°N 6.256736°W / 53.34482; -6.256736
Construction started1899
Design and construction
ArchitectSir Thomas Drew

The Graduates Memorial Building (GMB) is a neo-Gothic Victorian building, in Trinity College Dublin designed by Sir Thomas Drew in 1897.[1] It is home to Trinity College's oldest student societies: the University Philosophical Society (the Phil), the College Historical Society (the Hist) and the College Theological Society (the Theo).[2]

Construction and design[edit]

Rotten Row, to the left of the Campanile before 1899.

The Graduates Memorial Building, originally named the Graduates' Tercentenary Memorial Building, was constructed to celebrate three hundred years of Trinity College Dublin's existence.[citation needed]

In May 1897, tenders were invited by Trinity College Dublin, to design a replacement for the residential buildings known as Rotten Row.[3] These buildings were almost architecturally indistinguishable from The Rubrics, which stood from circa 1700. Designs were submitted by Robert John Stirling, Thomas Newenham Deane and Sir Thomas Drew, with Drew's being selected.[citation needed]

The design of the building is such that it is divided into three houses: House 28, and House 30, as student residences, with House 29 in the centre of the building, being used by the societies.[citation needed]

In 1899 Rotten Row was demolished[3] and work began on the new building. Its construction was largely financed by subscriptions from graduates, and was opened on 31 May 1902.[citation needed]


The building has a vast interior, largely dedicated to debating, scholarly endeavour and use by the three societies who occupy it. It has various rooms spread over its four floors. The central foyer contains a large wooden staircase, which stretches vertically from the ground floor to the second floor.

Ground floor[edit]

The ground floor houses its Debating Chamber, frequently used by The Phil and The Hist, specifically designed for oratory purposes, with its two-floor high ceiling, carved balcony and Ionic pilasters. On the chamber's west wall is a bronze relief of George Ferdinand Shaw former Librarian of the Phil and Senior Fellow of the College.[3]

The conversation room of the University Philosophical Society is also on the ground floor, and provides its membership with a meeting area to sit, talk, and relax. Its conversation room also plays host to the society's paper reading sub-group, The Bram Stoker Club.

Halfway between the ground floor and first floor is the Phil's council room, which has the only access to the debating chamber's balcony.

Further up the stairs and facing onto Library Square is a large stained glass window depicting Epaminondas and Demosthenes, the greatest of all the Greek orators. It was dedicated to the memory of Marshall Porter, a university graduate killed in the Boer War.[4]

First floor[edit]

On the first floor is the College Historical Society's conversation room, used to provide its members with a relaxed meeting place. The society also has its committee room on this floor, which has a higher ceiling and larger windows the one below.

Trinity College tradition holds that the rooms of the society's founder Edmund Burke, were in House 28 of Rotten Row, Library square,[5] and as such, part of the location upon which the building stands today.

The Hist Conversation Room was used as a location in the film Educating Rita.

Second floor[edit]

The second floor contains the Bram Stoker room, owned by the University Philosophical Society, which is used as the society's office space as well as small archival library. The society also grants almost full access to this room to the College Theological Society as a gesture of good faith between both societies.

Beyond a pair large doors that exit off the foyer are the buildings and two large billiards rooms, jointly owned and operated between both The Phil and The Hist.

Third floor[edit]

The third floor houses one of the college's computer rooms. Directly opposite to which is a library shared by the Phil and the Hist, which contains part of the societies' large collections of books and records.

Fire in 2000[edit]

The upper floors of the building were damaged by a fire on Friday 15 December 2000, for a time threatening the societies with bankruptcy.[citation needed]


  1. ^ Williams, Jeremy (1994). A companion guide to architecture in Ireland, 1837-1921. Irish Academic Press. p. 150. ISBN 9780716525134.
  2. ^ Engle, John (2013). Trinity Student Pranks: A History of Mischief and Mayhem. Dublin: The History Press Ireland. pp. 120–123. ISBN 9780752497983.
  3. ^ a b c Casey, Christine (2006). Dublin: The City Within the Grand and Royal Canals and the Circular Road, with the Phoenix Park. London, England: Yale University Press. p. 400. ISBN 9780300109238.
  4. ^ Parkhouse, Valerie B. (2015). Memorializing the Anglo-Boer War of 1899-1902: Militarization of the Landscape: Monuments and Memorials in Britain. Troubador Publishing. p. 271. ISBN 9781780884011.
  5. ^ Burke, Edmund (1914). Samuels, Arthur P. I. (ed.). The Early Life Correspondence and Writings of the Rt. Hon. Edmund Burke. CUP Archive. p. 104.

External links[edit]