At the George, 28th August 1752 The evening of Friday 28th August 1752 was cool in Belfast. After closing up their businesses and homes, a group of nineteen merchants, burgesses (councillors) and a vicar, made their way to the George Inn at the corner of North Street and John Street (now Royal Avenue). It was there in the George Inn that these gentlemen formed the Belfast Charitable Society, to tackle poverty and help the poor. The names of the founders were recorded in the first minute book of the new society, which is now held in the Clifton House archives: Revd. [...]
On 22 August 1818 the Poor House had a rather unusual visitor. Grand Duke Michael of Russia was given a tour of the institution and must have been impressed by what he saw as he made a donation to support its work. His name was subsequently added to one of our donation boards which hung in the main entrance hall.
Today, Paula Reynolds, Belfast Charitable Society CEO, joined Dan Gordon to film a segment in Clifton Street Cemetery for a BBC documentary on the cemeteries of Belfast and their Ulster Scots connections. Dan interviewed Paula, focusing on the work of the Charitable Society both past and present through one of our most famous members, the tenacious social reformer, Mary Ann McCracken. The documentary is set to air in late 2019/ early 2020 so keep your eyes peeled!
On 11 August 1919 the Orderly reported that the residents of the Old People's Home thoroughly enjoyed the Peace Day Celebrations held earlier in the week. The parade started at Victoria Barracks, behind Clifton House, and made it's way down Clifton Street into the city centre. Newspapers reported that 36 000 ex-service men paraded in Belfast that day!
THE Belfast Charitable Society has launched an updated version of ‘The Life and Times of Mary Ann McCracken – A Belfast Panorama’, which was first published by its author Mary McNeill in 1960. Most of us can only hope to achieve something of note within an entire lifetime. Some manage many accomplishments and triumph over challenges – and a very small number lead a life that is still worthy of note many years after they have passed away. It is one such life that of Mary Ann McCracken, which the Belfast Charitable Society invites us to celebrate and reimagine in today’s [...]
Belfast has been served by a number of graveyards over the years- in the early days the main cemetery was that at the Corporation Church, the site now occupied by St George's Church on High Street. Friar's Bush and Shankill Burying Grounds also served as the final resting places of the citizens of Belfast and the surrounding area. In 1797, due to pressures arising from the burial of dead from the Poor House, the Belfast Charitable Society decided to open the 'New Burying Ground', today known as Clifton Street Cemetery. A special section was set aside in this new graveyard for [...]
Clifton House were proud to be involved once again in the Féile this year, hosting a lecture on 'The Bigger Family Picture: From 1798 to Partition'. The talk was delivered by our Archive & Heritage Development Officer exploring some of the key figures in the Bigger lineage from David Bigger, Belfast Charitable Society member & United Irishman; to the Home-Rule MP Joe Biggar and the radical Protestant Nationalist and antiquarian Francis Joseph Bigger. The stories of these three individuals provide a fascinating insight into the wider history of Belfast and the island of Ireland as a whole. From David Bigger's involvement with the Volunteer [...]