By the close of play on this day (29th April) 78 years ago, Clifton House was quiet and deserted. Only once prior to this time had the house been completely empty - that was in 1798. The army had cleared it in a rush in 1798 in a bid to flush out the radicals in Belfast at the time, however, this time the decision to empty the house had been much more considered. When World War II broke out, the guardians of Clifton House thought the basement area would serve as the perfect air-raid shelters. There were approximately 130 elderly, frail and [...]
On 25th April 1812, it was reported by the Orderly that an “extraordinary meeting” of Belfast Charitable Society was held yesterday regarding the death of one of its apprentices. The boy in question was William Lacey who was first admitted into the Poorhouse, at the tender age of 7, in February 1803. In November 1809, he was apprenticed to Matthew Currie for five years as a weaver in Carrickfergus. However, it was the mysterious circumstances of his death which prompted the Committee to investigate his case further. On 20th April 1812, it received an anonymous letter from an inhabitant of Carrickfergus [...]
Music formed a huge part of the curriculum in the Poor House, especially for the boys. Children were taught to play musical instruments and learnt to sing. They proved very popular and many were brought to different churches to participate in the respective choirs. Many of the young boys were so skilful that they ended up in the military bands as a career. #OnThisDay 1819 Mr Munn, Church Clerk, was granted permission to take four boys from the Poor House on Sundays to sing at Sunday worship.
#OnThisDay 1919 Belfast Charitable Society passed a resolution in regard to the great loss to the Society caused by the death of Edward Wakefield Pim Esq J.P. E.W. Pim was, for many long years the Honourary Secretary, and it was his foresight in 1907 that led to the recording of inscriptions on extant headstones in Clifton Street Cemetery. This created a unique record which is still used for reference today due to the destruction which was wrought in the cemetery since then.
The Poor House was always intended to be as self sufficient as possible. They had their own tailor and carpenter as well as operating a farm which utilised the fields granted to them in 1774. As part of the farm they had their own piggery. Piglets were purchased, fattened and slaughtered for market. The profit went back into the running of the Poor House. However, on 8th April 1819, when completely his rounds the Orderly discovered a shocking incidence which had occurred the previous evening. Person(s) unknown had scaled the walls of the Poor House piggery after dark. The two pigs which the Poor [...]
On 1st April 1775 the Belfast Charitable Society member, Reverend William Bristow, wrote to the vestry for the loan of the Old Parish Church bell and clock. This church was located on the site of what is today St George's on High Street. The old church had been condemned, and a new church was later constructed where St Anne's Cathedral is today. The request was granted, but the grandfather clock was in a poor state of repair and one Mr Dean was paid 6s/6d for ‘making the clock strike’. The bell was placed in our spire and was rung to mark [...]