The museum was delighted to get involved in a project exploring the history of Riddel Hall, Queen’s University, Belfast. As the project website explains, the Hall was:
built in the early 20th Century as a “house of residence for protestant female students and teachers at Queen’s University Belfast”, thanks to the generosity and dedication of two Belfast philanthropists, Eliza and Isabella Riddel.
The Riddel sisters were committed to improving the access of women to higher education and the Hall fulfilled this purpose for 50 years, providing a home away from home to more than a thousand female students.
The family wealth was derived from their steel, machinery hardware and warehouse business. Eliza and Isabella Riddel would eventually inherit the company and its assets.
One of the older Riddel sisters, Margaret, was married to Samuel Barbour (of Wm Barbour & Sons fame) and eventually settled in the United States.
A cousin, Henry Musgrave, financed the Nicholson statue, erected in Market Square in 1922.
John Riddell & Sons Ltd are still located within the Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council Boundary.