NORTH Belfast’s stunning architecture was the setting for the Belfast Charitable Society’s 266th anniversary celebrations when leading historian, Dr Éamon Phoenix, took to the local streets to explore the iconic landmarks which form part of the unique tapestry of Belfast’s history.
Exploring how North Belfast has transformed and evolved over the last 266 years, the walking tour began at the home of the Belfast Charitable Society, the beautiful Georgian building of Clifton House, visiting historic spots in the surrounding streets before concluding in Clifton Street Cemetery, where the history of Belfast is carved in stone.
With Dr Eámon Phoenix at the forefront, the tour offered those present the opportunity to walk in the footsteps of the famous Joy and McCracken families and get a unique insight into the significant transformation which was influenced by these radicals and reformers.
Dr Éamon Phoenix stated, “I am very proud to be leading the 266th celebrations of the Belfast Charitable Society and what better way to celebrate than walking in the footsteps of the founding fathers of the Belfast Charitable Society. The tour will look at the radicals and reformers in the last 266 years and will delve into the key moments in Belfast’s history and the Society’s contribution to changing the social and political situation in Belfast.”
The founding fathers established the Belfast Charitable Society on the 28th August 1752 and was the city’s first charitable organisation set up with the aim to support the poor and provides assistance to alleviate the worst of the poverty, prevalent in Belfast.
Having built a poor house and infirmary, the charity became responsible for many civic functions, which we would more closely associate with the Belfast City Council today, including the likes of street lighting, paving, planning permissions, water and the original police service.
Paula Reynolds, CEO of the Belfast Charitable Society added, “Given the horrendous fire at the Bank Buildings, today’s walking tour is even more pertinent in remembering Belfast’s history and celebrating its beautiful buildings and architecture. I would like to thank Dr Éamon Phoenix for helping us mark the Society’s anniversary, reminding us of the radicals and reformers who have gone before us. It is amazing to see the transformation that Belfast has gone through and I look forward to seeing how it continues to grow and develop with the help of the Belfast Charitable Society.”