Happy Independence Day! The Tale of John Paul Jones & the American Revolution in Belfast Lough

2022-07-04T14:27:06+00:00

Happy Independence Day to all our American followers! We thought it was an appripriate day to share the tale of John Paul Jones, who, on 13th April 1778 brought the American Revolution to our shores! John Paul Jones, a Scots-American, sailed his privateer, the Ranger, into Belfast Lough. He attacked, and captured the British warship HMS Drake and made off with its cargo. He described the scene: “The sun was now a little more than an hour from setting, it was therefore time to begin…The action was warm, close and obstinate; it lasted for an hour and five minutes when the [...]

Happy Independence Day! The Tale of John Paul Jones & the American Revolution in Belfast Lough2022-07-04T14:27:06+00:00

Marking Canada Day: The Hutchinson Family of Belfast & Canada

2022-07-01T22:59:13+00:00

In August 2016, we launched a search to reunite families with portraits of their loved ones which had been painted by Tobias Everard Spence between 1940 and 1980. On Canadian Day we thought we should re-share a previous story of  a tremendous journey for one family from Canada in their quest to find out information on their great-great-uncle Thomas Hutchinson. Hilary Tompkins, from Seattle, first contacted Clifton House in December 2016. She had been working with a genealogist from Bangor who had advised her of our search for relations of those who featured in our portraits. Hilary viewed the portraits online [...]

Marking Canada Day: The Hutchinson Family of Belfast & Canada2022-07-01T22:59:13+00:00

Children of the Poor House: Edward Campbell and HMS Queen.

2022-06-02T11:41:29+00:00

HMS Queen, leaving Malta (Robert Strickland Thomas, 1842) Edward Campbell was admitted into the Poor House aged 7, alongside his older brother, Alexander, in January 1840. After 3 years in the House, Alexander began an apprenticeship at the farm of William John Anderson. However, Edward’s life,  would not be one spent in the fields outside Belfast. Instead, he would find himself on the ships of the Royal Navy in the Caribbean and Mediterranean. Discharged from the Poor House on the 6th July 1848, Edward enrolled in the Royal Navy, before finding himself aboard HMS Crocodile, which had docked in [...]

Children of the Poor House: Edward Campbell and HMS Queen.2022-06-02T11:41:29+00:00

Children of the Poor House: The Gilroy Brothers & the Belfast News Letter

2022-05-04T15:30:14+00:00

Peppered throughout our records are groups of siblings who entered the Poor House due to changing circumstances at home. One such set of siblings were William Gilroy (aged 11) and his older brother, James (aged 12) who entered our walls within a week of each other in October 1850. William and James were the children of James Gilroy Senior and his wife, Isabella. The Gilroy family were of the Anglican faith, as recorded in our admission book. What is particularly unusual about the Gilroy brothers is the fact that after living in the Poor House for just over four years, the [...]

Children of the Poor House: The Gilroy Brothers & the Belfast News Letter2022-05-04T15:30:14+00:00

Children of the Poor House: William Lacey’s Mysterious Death

2022-04-27T09:38:31+00:00

The 'Children of the Poor House' series sets out to highlight the stories that we have uncovered from our archives. This week we are examining the mysterious death of one of our apprentices, William Lacey. William Lacey was admitted to the Poor House at the tender age of 7, in February 1803. He lived with us for six years until, in November 1809, he was apprenticed to Matthew Currie to learn the trade of weaver for a period of five years. However, three years after Lacey's apprenticeship began, on 25th April 1812, it was reported by the Poor House Orderly that [...]

Children of the Poor House: William Lacey’s Mysterious Death2022-04-27T09:38:31+00:00

From Merchant to Pauper: The burial of John Blackwood, Dromara

2022-04-26T08:46:06+00:00

John Blackwood was born in Dromara, County Down sometime around 1763. John was a provision merchant by trade and lived most of his life in his home town. It is not known why his circumstances changed but in November 1833, at the age of 70, he arrived in Belfast and was admitted to the Poor House. John spent the remainder of his days in the institution, passing away on 26 April 1847. He was recorded as a pauper in the Clifton Street Cemetery burial register  but unlike most who passed away in the Poor House he was buried in a private [...]

From Merchant to Pauper: The burial of John Blackwood, Dromara2022-04-26T08:46:06+00:00

Exciting New Job Opportunity: Development Co-Ordinator – Mary Ann McCracken Foundation

2022-04-25T08:06:24+00:00

The Mary Ann McCracken Foundation, established by Belfast Charitable, are seeking to appoint a Development Co-Ordinator to be based here at Clifton House. For more information on the role and to apply visit: tinyurl.com/mzk6nfvt

Exciting New Job Opportunity: Development Co-Ordinator – Mary Ann McCracken Foundation2022-04-25T08:06:24+00:00

Easter Traditions in the Poor House

2022-04-15T09:04:41+00:00

Easter has always been an important holiday. It marked a time for family to come together and take part in the religious rituals surrounding the holiday. In preparation for Easter families would have had a ‘spring clean’ and a hearty meal was prepared for Easter Sunday, marking the end of Lent. Aspects of these Easter traditions can be found peppered through the Belfast Charitable Society's Archive, held in Clifton House. Although it was now explicitly mentioned in the Minute Books, Easter 1775 was the first with residents in the Poor House. On Easter Monday 1775 the bell and clock from the [...]

Easter Traditions in the Poor House2022-04-15T09:04:41+00:00

The American Revolution in Belfast Lough

2022-04-14T08:34:05+00:00

On 13th April 1778 the American Revolution was brought to our shores. John Paul Jones, a Scots-American, sailed his privateer, the Ranger, into Belfast Lough. He attacked, and captured the British warship HMS Drake and made off with its cargo. He described the scene: “The sun was now a little more than an hour from setting, it was therefore time to begin…The action was warm, close and obstinate; it lasted for an hour and five minutes when the enemy called for quarters.” The British surrendered with 40 men dead, while only two Americans were killed. Fears for the safety of the [...]

The American Revolution in Belfast Lough2022-04-14T08:34:05+00:00

From the Archives: The New Burying Ground (today Clifton Street Cemetery) opened in March 1797

2022-03-29T12:51:50+00:00

In 1776 the original St Anne's Parish Church opened for worship, but burials in the town continued to take place at the old Corporation Church. However, the Corporation Graveyard was nearing capacity and so the innovative member of the Belfast Charitable Society decided to use a portion of its ground to create a new cemetery. Preparation began in 1795, with the 'New Burying Ground' opening its gates for burials in March 1797. Three years later, a clause in an Act of Parliament in 1800 stated “no dead bodies whatsoever shall be interred in the said old church-yard” and instead the “piece [...]

From the Archives: The New Burying Ground (today Clifton Street Cemetery) opened in March 17972022-03-29T12:51:50+00:00
Go to Top