Monthly Archives: September 2018


Antiques Roadshow appearance for Clifton House


Did you happen to watch the Antiques Roadshow last night? Paula Reynolds, Belfast Charitable Society CEO, brought along one of our original water pipes for the experts to look at. The Belfast Charitable Society was responsible for bringing water into Belfast from 1790-1840. The water pipe may not have much monetary value, but the history associated with them is priceless! You can catch up by clicking the link:

Antiques Roadshow appearance for Clifton House2018-09-25T11:56:58+00:00

The Belfast Charitable Institution & the First World War


By the outbreak of the First World War the old Poor House had been an old peoples home for some 32 years. However, this did not put off the older residents doing their part for the war effort. One resident in particular, Walter F. Element, was keen to help out the military in whatever capacity he could. Walter was a retired soldier himself, and in September 1914 he made his way in Belfast to enlist in Kitchener’s Army. Obviously, a man of his age was not going to be sent to the front, but he did have an important role to [...]

The Belfast Charitable Institution & the First World War2018-09-24T08:23:05+00:00

Mary Ann McCracken & her first battle with the Men’s Committee: The Infant School


When the Ladies Committee was set up, Mary Ann McCracken was one of the first to join. Mary Ann's family had been involved in raising the money to construct the Poor House, and designing the building itself. However, Mary Ann was particularly interested in the welfare of the children. Mary Ann had big dreams for these children, who she viewed as 'her own'.  Mary Ann's first project on the Ladies Committee was to establish an infant school. The idea of infant education was very new in this period, with the first one opening in Belfast in the 1820s for the merchant [...]

Mary Ann McCracken & her first battle with the Men’s Committee: The Infant School2018-09-17T08:29:24+00:00

From the Archives: The Belfast Charitable Society & the Bank Buildings


The original 'Bank Buildings' were constructed by Waddell Cunningham in the 1780s at the top of High Street, known as Castle Place. Waddell is an infamous character in the history of Belfast. He served on the Board of the Belfast Charitable Society, helping to run the Poor House. Waddell was extremely generous with his money and on a number of occasions purchased large quantities of meat at his personal expense to supplement the diet of the poor. However, he made his money through the slave trade, and in 1786 he went as far as to try and establish a [...]

From the Archives: The Belfast Charitable Society & the Bank Buildings2018-09-13T14:28:30+00:00

Indonesia & Ireland: The 1818 Fever Epidemic


Three years before, back in 1815 a volcano in modern Indonesia, Mount Tambora,  erupted throwing plumes of ash and gas into the atmosphere which encircled the  entire globe. The environmental impact of the eruption was so great that 1816 went down in history as the ‘Year of No Summer’. Back in Ireland crops failed and fever spread leaving death and destitution in its wake- with the poor crowding to the doors of the Poor House looking for assistance. The lucky ones who could afford to emigrate left in droves from Belfast and Derry/ Londonderry ports, in ships that would carry them [...]

Indonesia & Ireland: The 1818 Fever Epidemic2018-09-12T08:33:37+00:00

‘Radicals & Reformers’ tour celebrates North Belfast


Dr Éamon Phoenix explains the pertinence of North Belfast’s history and its architecture NORTH Belfast’s stunning architecture was the setting for the Belfast Charitable Society’s 266th anniversary celebrations when leading historian, Dr Éamon Phoenix, took to the local streets to explore the iconic landmarks which form part of the unique tapestry of Belfast’s history. Exploring how North Belfast has transformed and evolved over the last 266 years, the walking tour began at the home of the Belfast Charitable Society, the beautiful Georgian building of Clifton House, visiting historic spots in the surrounding streets before concluding in Clifton Street Cemetery, where the [...]

‘Radicals & Reformers’ tour celebrates North Belfast2018-09-03T13:19:53+00:00
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