Historian Gareth Russell Confirmed for October Lecture


We are delighted to confirm that historian and author Dr Gareth Russell will join us in October as part of the President's Talks Series 2023 Gareth has been no stranger to our televisions and radios recently. His most recent book is the non-fiction bestseller, The Palace: From the Tudors to the Windsors, 500 Years of History at Hampton Court. His talk in October is titled 'Olaudah Equiano: Aristocrat, Abolitionist, and Activist'. When best-selling author Olaudah Equiano arrived in Belfast in 1791, his life had already taken him from a childhood in the Benin aristocracy to enslavement on a Virginia tobacco plantation. [...]

Historian Gareth Russell Confirmed for October Lecture2023-09-06T10:41:38+00:00

A Mysterious Medical Chest…


At the historic Mulhouse Building at the Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast (now part of the Healthcare Library of Northern Ireland) can be found a mysterious chest containing medical objects. No-one is sure how it got there. The chest seems to be connected to a local doctor, James McCleery, surgeon to the male side of the Poor House at Clifton House (founded by the Belfast Charitable Society). Read more here: A Mysterious Medical Chest – Epidemic Belfast ( This is a remarkable find and we very much look forward to displaying some of the items during our 250th anniversary year in 2024. [...]

A Mysterious Medical Chest…2023-09-06T10:28:26+00:00

Become a Voluntary Board Member of Belfast Charitable Society


Belfast Charitable Society, founded in 1752 is Northern Ireland’s oldest charity. Between 1752 and the 1880s, this involved building and managing Belfast’s first poorhouse and hospital, delivering many of the municipal services for the town and providing funds to support its poor. From 1880s to 2018, our focus moved to caring for older people given they were the most vulnerable and, in recent years, we have gone back to wider philanthropic roots: supporting activity that tackles grassroots poverty and delivers innovative solutions to help those who tackle such disadvantage. Based in the old Poor House, now Clifton House Heritage Centre, Belfast [...]

Become a Voluntary Board Member of Belfast Charitable Society2023-06-22T11:28:14+00:00

North Belfast Creative Digital Hub Launches


North Belfast grammar school St Malachy’s College has officially launched its new Creative Digital Technology Hub (CDTH) with funding  from the Belfast Charitable Society and The James Kane Foundation. Around 50 guests attended the launch in February including principals and students from neighbouring schools, representatives from our funders, Belfast City Council, local authorities.  The Creative Digital Technology Hub was then officially opened by Sir Ronnie Weatherup, President of Belfast Charitable Society.  He said: “Belfast Charitable Society has been supportive of the Digital Creative Hub from its inception. It’s fantastic to see it open and being so well used by local schools. We saw [...]

North Belfast Creative Digital Hub Launches2023-03-03T09:53:47+00:00

Mary Ann McCracken Post Primary Bursaries in North Belfast launched for a second year


For a second year, the Mary Ann McCracken Foundation and Belfast Charitable Society will support a bursary programme for twelve post primary schools in North Belfast. Along with funding partners The James Kane Foundation and Hunter Smyth Fund, each school within the North Belfast Area Learning Community will receive up to £2,000 to support pupils (16+ year-olds) who face financial barriers which may prevent them from continuing to AS / A-Level, further or higher education, employment or apprenticeship. The schools receiving the bursaries will have the flexibility to use the funds in a number of ways to support those pupils who [...]

Mary Ann McCracken Post Primary Bursaries in North Belfast launched for a second year2023-02-07T16:39:46+00:00

Belfast Charitable Society continuing to support new communities


Belfast Charitable Society continuing to support new communities There is no doubt that the cost-of-living crisis is affecting a huge number of individuals and families this winter. However for marginalised groups, including asylum seekers and refugees, this crisis is often overlooked. The challenges they face are just as tough, as many have arrived in the UK with just the clothes on their backs, ill equipped for the cold winter months ahead. Many of these individuals will be provided with temporary accommodation and food, however little to no allowances are made to provide material items like winter coats or shoes. David Watters, [...]

Belfast Charitable Society continuing to support new communities2022-12-20T10:35:27+00:00

140 years of bringing Christmas cheer to Clifton House


Benn Dinner 2022 George Benn, who was born on New Year’s Day 1801, was a renowned local philanthropist, historian and benefactor of Belfast Charitable Society. In his lifetime he opened three hospitals in the town, the Benn Skin Hospital, the Benn Ears Nose and Throat hospital and the Samaritans Hospital. Not long before he died George also oversaw the change of use from the Poor House to an Old People’s Home when the last child left in 1882. His legacy continues at Clifton House, as ninety percent of the building is still used for the care of the elderly, and the [...]

140 years of bringing Christmas cheer to Clifton House2022-12-13T22:04:04+00:00

Christmas Gift Bundle


Christmas Gift Bundle This year we are offering a Christmas Gift Bundle of our new book 'The First Great Charity of this Town' (normally £24.99) and one year's 'Friends of' membership package (normally £30) for just £50 (postage and packaging inc to UK only). Friends of the Belfast Charitable Society, Mary Ann McCracken Foundation or Clifton House Centre receive 20% off all our events, including tours and lectures, archive services and merchandise AND priority booking for all public events. Also by buying this Christmas Gift Bundle, you are supporting the ongoing philanthropic work of the oldest charity in Ireland. To purchase [...]

Christmas Gift Bundle2022-12-07T14:39:18+00:00

New Northern Ireland wide school funding will be a ‘lifeline’ for families


New Northern Ireland wide school funding will be a ‘lifeline’ for families The number of people living in poverty across Northern Ireland is rising dramatically as the costs of basic essentials like food and fuel skyrocket. Many are struggling to feed and clothe their families and are at a financial breaking point. David Watters, Chair of the Belfast Charitable Society commented “There is no doubt that the cost-of-living crisis will mean more and more children will be growing up in poverty in Northern Ireland. The evidence of this is already being seen in schools, as increasingly children are arriving hungry and [...]

New Northern Ireland wide school funding will be a ‘lifeline’ for families2022-11-24T20:55:51+00:00

Celebrating being ‘The First Great Charity of this Town’ with new publication


Today, Wednesday 9th November, Belfast Charitable Society celebrated being ‘the first great charity of this town’, with the launch of a new book charting its history in developing Belfast. Professor Mary McAleese, former President of Ireland, was in attendance giving invited guests an opportunity to hear her speak of the important role the Society played in ‘her North Belfast’. Edited by Professor Olwen Purdue of Queen's University Belfast, and published by Irish Academic Press, this new collection of essays explores the social history of Belfast from the foundation of Belfast Charitable Society in 1752 through to the point at which Belfast [...]

Celebrating being ‘The First Great Charity of this Town’ with new publication2022-11-10T16:53:28+00:00
Go to Top