Remodelling of Crumlin Road Courthouse, Belfast

Cotswold Archaeology assists with the remodelling of Crumlin Road Courthouse, Belfast, into a high-quality Signature Living hotel.

The term to be ‘sent down’ has several connotations, but in Belfast it literally described what happened when a defendant was sentenced by a judge in the Crumlin Road courthouse, as they were taken beneath Courtroom No. 1, through a long brick-lined tunnel, to emerge inside Crumlin Road jail and begin their sentence. Built in 1850 to a neo-classical design, Crumlin Road courthouse witnessed some of the largest trials in UK history and was an iconic landmark during The Troubles, where, in 1983 alone, 22 IRA suspects were jailed for a total of 4000 years. A number of ‘supergrass’ trials were also held in the courthouse during the early 1980s.

Surveying Crumlin Road Courthouse

Now ruinous, the courthouse closed in 1998 and has suffered from vandalism, several fires and general neglect. Several previous attempts to restore and re-use the former courthouse failed to develop, but Signature Living, based in Liverpool, have evolved a viable high-quality hotel scheme that has been welcomed in Stormont, the home of the Northern Ireland Assembly.

Crumlin Road Courthouse 3D model

Crumlin Road Courthouse ceiling


Cotswold Archaeology’s Historic Building Consultants and Geomatics Team are working closely with Signature Living to record the building during this exciting development. Courtroom No. 1 is to be reconstructed and we are providing expert advice on the courthouse’s historic fabric to aid in the remodelling. We are delighted to work with and support Signature Living in this significant and impressive re-use of one of Belfast’s most iconic buildings in this ongoing project.

Garry Campion