Union Theological College

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Coordinates: 54°35′06″N 5°55′52″W / 54.585°N 5.931°W / 54.585; -5.931

Union Theological College
The Union Theological College, Belfast - geograph.org.uk - 395032.jpg
Established 1853 (Assembly's College)
Address 108 Botanic Avenue
, Belfast, Northern Ireland
Affiliations QUB
Website http://www.union.ac.uk
Union Theological College logo.png

Union Theological College is the theological college for the Presbyterian Church in Ireland and is situated in Belfast, Northern Ireland. It was established in 1853 as Assembly's College. The building served as the location for the early Northern Ireland Parliaments.

The college offers a full range of courses in Theology. The college is associated with the Presbyterian Theological Faculty Ireland which was granted a Royal Charter in 1881 to confer academic degrees in theology similar to universities of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland at the time. These degrees are the Bachelor of Divinity, Master of Ministry and Doctor of Ministry. A full range of Degrees are also conferred by the Queen's University of Belfast, BTh, B.D., M.Div, M.Th., M.Phil and Ph.D. for certain programmes and the college is the largest in the Institute of Theology at the university.


The building, circa 1860-1880.

The college was founded in 1853 as Assembly's College. The college was designed by Charles Lanyon, the architect of the main building at Queen's.

From 1921 until 1932 the newly formed Parliament of Northern Ireland met in Assembly's College while Stormont was being built. The Commons met in the Gamble Library and the Senate in the Chapel.

Between 1941 and 1948 the city police used the college as its own headquarters were bombed in the Belfast blitz.

In 1976 theological teaching at Magee College in Derry, County Londonderry ceased and the two colleges amalgamated in 1978. The new college was named Union Theological College, often referred to as Union College.[1]

On November 14, 2009, a fire was started, two firefighters were injured whilst fighting the blaze. The inferno was later extinguished, police are currently treating the incident as suspicious.[2]

Culture & Community[edit]

Union College is the center for ministerial training in the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, and is also an important hub for the provision of theological education generally. Union College has never been far from the critical discussions and, at times, controversies so prevalent in the context of changing social, historical and cultural circumstances in the Presbyterian Church in Ireland;one of the college professors J. Ernest Davey was the subject of a heresy trial in 1927 because of his teaching in the College. Although cleared by the Church's courts a small number of Presbyterians broke away unhappy with the decision and founded what later became the Evangelical Presbyterian Church.


Further reading[edit]

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Preceded by
Belfast City Hall
Home of the
Parliament of Northern Ireland

1921 – 1932
Succeeded by
Parliament Buildings (Northern Ireland)