Graduate School - 150 Years On


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About GS150


2018 marks the 150th anniversary of the opening of the Lynn Library building as part of Queen’s College Belfast in 1868. Now a vibrant hub for the postgraduate community at Queen’s University Belfast, the Graduate School welcomes thousands of students through its doors each year.  The Lynn Library has seen significant changes throughout its history, but the building has remained at the heart of life at Queen’s for 150 years.

Programmes and Events

Historical Tour: 14th November

Book Tour

Historical Tour: 15th November

Book Tour

Postgraduate Impact Scholarships

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We are collecting memories

Share Your Story

2018 marks the 150th anniversary of the opening of the Lynn Building as part of Queen’s College Belfast in 1868. Now a vibrant hub for the postgraduate community at Queen’s University Belfast, The Graduate School is collecting memories of the building its staff and students as part of a larger commemoration. We would love to hear your stories.

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Architectural Plans

Completion of Queen’s College Belfast’s new library

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Old University Library

The Graduate School, formerly the old university library, opened in 1868.

A government grant of £4,600 was awarded to fund the construction of the library as prior to this the college’s examination hall (today’s Great Hall) doubled up as a library.

As student numbers grew a decision was taken to construct a new, purpose-built library.

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Building Extension

The building was extended between 1912 and 1914 as the need for additional space for students and staff grew. William Henry Lynn, who had worked on the Main University Building won an anonymous competition to extend both his original library, as well as other buildings across the campus. Further alterations were carried out in the 50's and 80's.

The addition of the library stack – which has now been transformed into the Main Site tower and School of Law – as well as internal alterations to Lynn’s library, significantly changing the layout and character of the building.


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Building Design

The building was designed by Irish born architect William Henry Lynn (1829-1915) in a neo-gothic style. It owes much to the influence of John Ruskin (1819-1900) and is arguably the best example of Ruskinian Victorian gothic architecture and is a building of importance and profile on the main site.

Philip Larkin described the building as a 'large church designed by an ecclesiastical architect'. The building’s distinctly ecclesiastical design is perhaps the architect giving the ‘Godless college’ – that is, non-denominational – a church.

The Graduate School retains many of its original features including vaulted ceiling with masonry gothic arches and aisles to each side, brick and polychrome stonework, banded tiles, ornamental tracery, gables and gargoyles.

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The Graduate School Today

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150 Years On

The old Library closed in 2009 and the main library moved to the new McClay Library. The building underwent extensive renovation and restoration before reopening as the Graduate School in April 2015.

Today the Graduate School is a state of the art hub for postgraduate students to work and socialise. The Graduate School also offers a variety of training and development courses.

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Graduate School Facilities

The Graduate School is a modern space comprising 6 group study rooms, 7 teaching rooms and 2 training rooms. It also offers a dedicated silent study area and a social space.

The silent study is a hi-tech space that can accommodate up to 65 students. It comprises PC workstations and space for laptop use, a reprographics room complete with printers, scanning facilities and a self-binding station. This area is exclusively for Postgraduate and requires a student card to gain entry.

Commemorative Plaques


William Henry Lynn


The Graduate School was built in 1868 having been designed by Irish born architect William Henry Lynn (1829-1915) in a neo-gothic style.

lynn plaque

William Henry Lynn

Memorial Plaque

Brass plaque commentating the architect William Henry Lynn and his life’s work.


Philip Larkin


Philip Larkin worked as a sub-librarian at The Graduate School (1950-1955). Larkin described the building as a ’perfect little paradise of a library’.

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Philip Larkin

Memorial Plaque

The Graduate School bears a blue plaque which is dedicated to Philip Larkin - one of the great poets of 20th century.

Image Gallery

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