Shared History Fund

The Shared History Fund, in partnership with the National Lottery Heritage Fund, awarded £1m to 39 community projects across Northern Ireland, to research and demonstrate what 100 years of Northern Ireland has meant to them and their community. Projects marked the Centenary in an inclusive way and gave a wide range of people the opportunity to participate and understand the key events and history which made Northern Ireland the place it is today.

22 June 2021

22 June 2021 was a landmark date in the Centenary year, as it marked 100 years since the opening of the Northern Ireland Parliament by King George V and Queen Mary. The opening of Northern Ireland’s first Parliament took place at Belfast City Hall, and saw locally elected politicians sit for the first time following a general election on 24 May 1921.

Marking this special date, Belfast City Council hosted a flagship Decade of Centenaries Programme event - marking the King's Speech of 22 June 1921.

The event saw Belfast City Council unveiling the chairs used by King George V and Queen Mary in the Council Chamber 100 years ago, following a restoration project funded by the Shared History Fund. The event also included held a re-enactment of the King’s Speech, a talk by Dr. Éamon Phoenix on the context in which the speech was given, a viewing of a specially commissioned play and remarks from Belfast City's Lord Mayor.

You can watch a recording of the the King's Speech at this link.

Belfast City Council was awarded £87,000 in funding through the Shared History Fund, and used this money to deliver a civic programme of events from March 2021 to March 2022, which was accessed by an estimated 11,000 people of all ages and backgrounds.

Part of the funding went towards the restoration of the original chairs used by King George V and Queen Mary at the inauguration of the NI Parliament 100 years ago, both of which were unveiled at the 22 June event, as well as a premiere performance of a specially commissioned play, centring on King George V’s speech.