Craigavon Historical Society

The Philip B Wilson Local History Library

The Philip B Wilson Local History Library is located within the Museum Services building at Waterside House and was officially opened in 1998. It is named in honour of a past museum curator and historian in recognition of his contribution to local history in the Craigavon area. Today the library contains almost 6,000 local history reference books on a range of topics although the main focus is on the history and development of the Craigavon area.

Two unique Christian Heritage book collections make up part of this library

Quaker Book Collection

This is recognised as one of the most extensive libraries of Quaker books in Ireland and records the history of the Religious Society of Friends from their earliest beginnings. It is made up of over 700 separate volumes of tracts, obituaries, biographies, journals, periodicals and travels in ministry and reflects the long association with the area since their first meeting in Ireland took place in Lurgan back in 1654. This collection is not just useful to those interested in the Religious Society of Friends, but can be used to study family history, social issues, business practice, politics, town / village development and travel during the last three and a half centuries.

Methodist Book Collection

Historic books in the library's collection

More recently a collection of Methodist books dating from the middle of the eighteenth century has been acquired by the library. They cover the rise and development of the Methodist Church in Britain and Ireland with a particular focus on local congregational histories, theology / doctrine and music / song. The 1,500 books and pamphlets also contain a number of original works from a comprehensive list of important Methodist writers.

Methodism was 'born in song' and with many rare editions of poems, hymns and music included alongside the works, writings and sermons of John Wesley (the founder of Methodism) the collection helps provide a useful insight into the social history and thinking of this period.

Photographic Collections

Of great benefit to the researcher is a growing collection of over 25,000 slides and photographs which record the development of the local area, its social history, industries, prominent families and individuals dating back to the middle of the last century.

These photographic images form two major collections :

  • The Gracey Collection spans the decades from 1950 through to the 1980s and offers a visual record of the towns, villages and rural areas.
  • The Craigavon Development Collection covers the period 1966 to 1975 and illustrates the planning and development of Craigavon as a 'new city'.

It is hoped that these collections will become part of a digitisation project which upon completion will allow easy access for the public.


Also available for consultation is a large collection of Ordnance Survey maps, which cover the Craigavon area, dating back to the 1830s. However there are a number of maps held, which pre-date even these by almost two centuries.


In addition we subscribe to and hold complete runs of a number of major journals / publications including Ulster Folklife, History Ireland, Archaeology Ireland, the Armagh Diocesan Historical Society's publication and 'Review' Craigavon Historical Society's bi-annual publication.

Historic books in the library's collection

Family History / Genealogy

Please note that as a research library, materials are available for consultation only however a photocopying service is available. And the Philip Wilson Library does not hold any primary genealogical resources, although a comprehensive range of indexes and a number of books are held which will help to source and advise on the use of archives available elsewhere.

Opening Times

Monday to Saturday 10am - 1pm and 2pm - 4pm

Back to top of page