The Representative Church Body Library, which is the library and archives of the Church of Ireland, has launched the first phase of a project to provide an on-line catalogue of its architectural drawings of church buildings.
The Library holds several collections of architectural drawings, the largest of which is a miscellaneous collection of 19th century drawings of Church of Ireland churches and cathedrals. Last year the Library, with the support of the Esme Mitchell Trust, conducted a pilot project to catalogue and digitize these drawings, and the architectural historian, Dr Michael O'Neill, was engaged to carry out this work. Following the successful completion of the pilot project the Library was awarded a grant from the Built Heritage element of the Environmental Fund by the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaelatacht and this, together with support from the RCB, has enabled Dr O'Neill to complete the first phase of the catalogue.
The purpose of this project is to make an important heritage resource freely available and, by providing surrogates, to assist with the conservation of a unique collection which is, in part, very fragile. Some, 1,279 drawings of 229 churches in the dioceses of Achonry, Ardagh, Ardfert, Armagh, Cashel, Clogher, Clonfert and Cloyne are now freely available to researchers at http://www.archdrawing.ireland.anglican.org
It is anticipated that this resource will be of value to students, historians, architects, and the wider heritage community.
The project has been commended by Mr Michael Webb, Chairman of the Library and Archives Committee and also Chairman of the Irish Architectural Archive.
Funding is being sought to continue this valuable project.