Our History - Drumglass House

Drumglass House

Drumglass House

Drumglass House was the family home of the Musgrave family from 1855 until 1922. The name of Musgrave well known in Belfast as many people have heard of the Musgrave Park Hospital, walked in Musgrave Park and Musgrave Street and if you are familiar with nautical terms, you may have sailed in or heard of the Musgrave channel in Belfast Lough.  If you have taken examinations in the Great Hall of Queen’s University you could have been sitting under a portrait of a Musgrave family member.

Who Were the Musgrave Family?

Dr Musgrave and his wife Mary Riddel started off married life in Lisburn, where Dr Musgrave had a thriving medical practice. Dr Musgrave and his wife had a family of 12, 11 of which survived into adulthood. After the death of Dr Riddel in 1834 the family moved to Belfast where they finally took up residence in Drumglass House which they built around 1855.

Two of the young brothers in partnership with their uncle founded the firm Musgrave Brothers, later known as Musgrave and Company Ltd.  Their company, which attained worldwide fame, manufactured stoves, heating apparatus and high class iron work. Two other brothers started a wholesale tea and sugar business in Belfast.

When Henry Musgrave, the last surviving child, died at the age of 95 (none of Dr Musgrave’s children married or had children) Drumglass House and gardens were sold. As part of his will, 6 acres of land once the gardens of Drumglass House was bequeathed to the city of Belfast as a children’s play area, Drumglass Park, named after this house.

Victoria College Purchased Drumglass House

In 1922, Victoria College, located in Lower Crescent, Belfast, was in need of extra space so Drumglass House was purchased by the Governors. Following renovations, boarders moved from Lower Crescent and took up residence in 1924 along with a Kindergarten department.

Vitaglass, the Great Hall and the Headmistress’s house were added in the late 1920s. The only time since 1924 that Drumglass House has not had boarders in residence was during the war when part of the school was evacuated to Portballintrae and Drumglass House was taken over by the Censorship Authorities.

Drumglass House has been home to Victoria College’s boarding department for over 90 years. Whilst the fabric of the house is essentially the same, Drumglass House has been modernised to provide a first class boarding department with excellent facilities. We continue to update the facilities to meet the changing needs of our boarders.