The mausoleums within Clifton Street Cemetery were a way in which wealth and social class could be reflected in death. These imposing monuments typically had iron doors or decorative gates which locked to protect those whose remains were laid to rest in them. Some of these wealthy families deposited the keys to their mausoleums for safe-keeping with the Belfast Charitable Society.
For the first thirty-five years of the cemetery’s existence a record of interments was not kept. From 1831 each burial was recorded in the Burial Register. Information about each burial did vary but typically included the date of interment, the name of the deceased, age, profession, residence and if they are a native of Belfast. Most significantly, the details of those who were buried in the Stranger’s Plot, are also recorded.
From the opening of Clifton Street Cemetery in 1797 a register book was kept detailing the list of burial plots, who they were purchased by, the date of purchase and the price paid for the plot. The Register records those who purchased ‘Wall Plots’, the most expensive in the cemetery, and the ‘Garden Plots’ in the centre of the graveyard. Of particular interest in the purchase of Wall Plot 35 by Captain John McCracken in 1801.
Within this section of the Archive there are statutory note books detailing the deaths of residents in Clifton House from 1880-1987. The collection also includes letters from solicitors referencing the estates of individuals who died in Clifton House. There is also a series of official publications by HMSO about the recording of deaths and organising funerals.
Clifton Street Cemetery, originally called the New Burying Ground, was opened by Belfast Charitable Society in 1797. The archive holds important documents related to the sale of plots from 1797 and burial registers for those interred from 1831 onwards. The archive also contains letters in relation to the transfer of burial plots, receipts for the opening of graves and mausoleum keys.
The orderly books and day books of the Belfast Charitable Society give details on the health and welfare of residents, as well as weekly reports on the events in the house. The archive also contains important correspondence from the Fever Hospital and medical reports, treatments and special allowances for residents of the Poor House and Old People's Home.