When the British Association met at Belfast in 1874, a Guide was prepared for the occasion by the Belfast Naturalists' Field Club, describing and illustrating the history, trade, agriculture, geology, botany, zoology, and archaeology of Belfast and the adjacent counties of Down and Antrim. This work was the first of the "Handbooks" which are now considered an indispensable adjunct to the Association's meetings. The 1874 "Guide" long remained a standard work of reference on the district, and lately it has gone out of print.
The present "Guide" has the same origin as its predecessor, and follows the same general lines. It has been written by members of the Belfast Field Club, with the co-operation, in certain subjects, of fellow-workers outside the Club, whose assistance is gratefully acknowledged : -- of Dr. R. F. Scharff, A. R. Nichols, G. H. Carpenter, and J. N. Halbert, all of the National Museum in Dublin, in the department of Zoology ; and of H. J. Seymour, of H.M. Geological Survey, in the department of Geology.
The authorship of the various sections is as follows : -- BELFAST, John Vinycomb and Alec Wilson ; Geology, J. St. J. Phillips ; Botany, Henry Hanna, R. Lloyd Praeger, and Rev. C. H. Waddell ; Zoology, G. H. Carpenter, J. N. Halbert, Rev. W. F. Johnson, A. R. Nichols, H. Lamont Orr, Robert Patterson, R. Lloyd Praeger, R. F. Scharff, R. Welch, Joseph Wright ; Antiquities, Francis Joseph Bigger and William J. Fennell.
The general editing of the "Guide" has been done by Francis Joseph Bigger, editor of the Ulster Journal of Archæology; R. Lloyd Praeger, editor of the Irish Naturalist; and John Vinycomb.