Robert Young and Robert McGill Young

Father and son architects

Born in Whiteabbey near Belfast in 1822, Robert Young was educated at Belfast Academy and Glasgow University, and worked as assistant to Charles Lanyon, then County Surveyor for Antrim.

The architectural firm he later established, Young and Mackenzie, were responsible for many of the town’s most impressive high Victorian and Edwardian buildings, including Robinson & Cleaver’s department store of 1888, the Scottish Provident Building (1902), and the Presbyterian Assembly Building (1905).

Robert Young retired from practice in 1909, when he was elected to the senate of Queen’s University.

His son, Robert McGill Young, was born in Athlone in 1851, but studied at Queen’s University, Belfast. He trained as an architect under his father and was also an antiquarian and local historian, editing The Town Book of Belfast and Belfast and Ulster in the Twentieth Century (1909). He was a member of the Royal Irish Academy and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland.

Further reading:
Dictionary of Ulster Biography (1993) by Kate Newmann
Buildings of Belfast 1700-1914 (1985) by CEB Brett
An Introduction to Ulster Architecture (1975) by Hugh Dixon
Some of RM Young's papers are in the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland.