From the 1870s children gradually began to leave the Poor House. Some of the children returned to their families, some went to the Presbyterian Orphan Society, others were apprenticed, and at least one went to the Industrial School.

The school equipment in the Poor House was sold; the musical instruments went to the Malone Reformatory and the surplus clothing went to Mr Henderson’s Boys’ House with one of the boys. The school mistress was given £80 and some articles of furniture for her services to the children.

By November 1882, provision had been made for the last children of the Poor House, and the ‘Old Poor House’ became known as the Belfast Charitable Institution.  This extract from a letter sent to the Charitable Society in 1878 is a fitting testament to the work it undertook for the impoverished children:

…having spent 6 years of my boyhood under it’s [the Poor House] roof… I cannot express the gratitude I feel… to those gentlemen who sacrificed time and money to the good purpose of educating and supporting the orphan who would probably be led into a life of vagrancy, pauperism and may be crime [otherwise].

This December we are running a special ‘Children’s Crafty Christmas in the Poor House’ event every Saturday in the run up to Christmas. Availability is limited so make sure to secure your place today! Click here for more information.