Monthly Archives: November 2018


Decorating the Poor House


This week our Christmas decorations went up marking the start of the festive season in Belfast’s original Poor House. Our Archive & Heritage Development Officer dipped into our archive to see how the Poor House would have been decorated in the past. In the Georgian era the House was decorated throughout in what the Belfast Charitable Society termed ‘appropriate greenery’ featuring garlands and wreaths made of holly, pines, firs and ivy. The Poor House residents would also collect their own foliage from the grounds to decorate their rooms. The use of greenery indoors was typical of homes throughout Ireland in this [...]

Decorating the Poor House2018-11-27T09:33:25+00:00

One Eighty Restaurant among those ‘Served up’ £850k by Building Better Futures Fund


A £1million community fund which provides small, unsecured loans to social enterprises and charities has committed £850K to 36 groups in Northern Ireland in just 18 months. Beneficiaries of the fund have been drawn from right across Northern Ireland with loans ranging from £1,000 to £25,000. Organisations supported include Step by Step which runs the One Eighty restaurant in Portadown to provide hospitality training for young people with learning difficulties. Since opening in 2011 the award-winning restaurant has provided training to dozens of young people, while offering a comprehensive value-for-money menu to the public.  The Building Better Futures fund provided its [...]

One Eighty Restaurant among those ‘Served up’ £850k by Building Better Futures Fund2018-11-22T10:20:37+00:00

The spark that started Belfast’s Industrial expansion


Belfast was once famous the world over for its linen production, but this was not the first textile to be industrialised in Belfast. Robert Joy was a paper producer and proprietor of the Belfast Newsletter, as well as the designer and project manager of the Poor House. Robert Joy, his brother-in-law Captain John McCracken and Thomas McCabe, all of whom sat on the Poor House Board, set out to discover the next ‘big thing’ in manufacturing. Although generous individuals, they were merchants and set sail to Britain to investigate the developing industries there. On their travels they discovered pioneering cotton spinning [...]

The spark that started Belfast’s Industrial expansion2018-11-20T10:51:17+00:00

Famine, fever and exhumation…


Black '47, the darkest year of the Great Hunger had a lasting impact on the town of Belfast. People were dying at an astonishing rate, with many streaming into Belfast to seek work and food. Money, however, could not save you from the ravages of the dreaded famine fever which killed indiscriminately. One such fever victim was Lt. James Trevanion Bettesworth who died aged 24. Bettesworth was a Lieutenant in the 36th Regiment Foot, and Aid de Camp to Major General Bainbridge, Clarence Place. James was originally born in England but was stationed in Belfast, with his family living in Dover. James [...]

Famine, fever and exhumation…2018-11-18T07:49:50+00:00

Tales from the Poor House: The young Robert Grainger


The year 1818 was tough for the people of Belfast. Many were impacted by the famine conditions and the associated fever. This led some to take drastic actions. We are not sure what the circumstances were for the young Robert Grainger whose grandfather kicked him out of his home. Whether the grandfather couldn't afford his upkeep, or he had stolen from the family,  or if there was some other sort of family dispute, is something we can never know for sure. On 7th November 1818 the Belfast Charitable Society however, took pity on young Robert and agreed that he should be admitted to [...]

Tales from the Poor House: The young Robert Grainger2018-11-14T08:06:45+00:00

Belfast Charitable Society at the Institute of Fundraising Northern Ireland Conference 2018


The Belfast Charitable Society are proud to be attending the Institute of Fundraising Northern Ireland Annual Conference at Cultra Manor today (8th November 2018). The conference offers fundraisers the chance to learn and share best practice in fundraising. This year’s theme is #KeepingItFresh both in terms of yourself as a fundraiser and also your cause. Belfast Charitable Society have, for over 266 years, promoted philanthropy in Belfast and further afield , so we know how important it is to be innovative in an ever changing climate of giving and fundraising. Belfast Charitable Society are proud to be one of the sponsors of the conference, so [...]

Belfast Charitable Society at the Institute of Fundraising Northern Ireland Conference 20182018-11-08T10:20:00+00:00

Children in the Poor House: 107 years of care and compassion


When it comes to the stories from the Poor House, the experience of the children are some of the most emotive. Some children came in with their families, others were orphaned and deserted, and a few knew only of life in the Poor House itself. In the 107 years from the first child entered until the last child left the younger occupants of the house took priority. The month of November was a significant month for the children in the care of the Belfast Charitable Society. In November 1775, the first child arrived at the Poor House and in November 1882, [...]

Children in the Poor House: 107 years of care and compassion2018-11-01T08:20:10+00:00
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