Following the Belfast Charitable Society’s ‘Home from Home’ appeal, which raised money for a purpose built Care Home at Carlisle Circus, Clifton House was refurbished to enhance the accommodation for older people in the original building. As part of this redevelopment, funding from the National Lottery enabled the restoration of the historic heart of the Poor House to create a new interpretative centre. This centre was opened by the Marquess of Donegall, a descendant of the original benefactor who granted land for the construction of the Poor House in 1768.
Thanks to ongoing support from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, the interpretative centre has went from strength to strength. Most recently, the National Lottery have supported the ‘Our Heritage’ project which has enabled us to improve archive storage facilities, exhibit our archives and enhanced our capacity through training 15 White Badge Tour Guides.
Belfast Charitable Society holds a vast archive dating back to its foundation in 1752, it provides rich material on the social and economic history of Belfast, and is a treasure trove for genealogists. Through the Our Heritage project, we were able to improve our storage and environmental conditions to safeguard this priceless resource for future generations.
The grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund enabled us to purchase three museum-quality exhibition cases. The cases have been instrumental in enabling us to tell the stories hidden in our archive. They allow for the safe display of unique objects from original admission records to Mary Ann McCracken’s Ladies Committee Book.
White Badge Accreditation
The White Badge Training Programme provided participants with an opportunity to up skill in areas including Heritage, Tour Guiding and Hospitality. The intensive five-month training programme culminated in the award of an accredited White Badge tour guide qualification which now puts Clifton House on par with other historic UK landmarks such as London Tower Bridge, St Paul’s Cathedral and Hampton Court, who are also accredited by the Institute of Tourist Guiding. The White Badge Tour Guides are a core part of our team assisting with tours, talks, research and events.
The team at Belfast Charitable Society and Clifton House would like to thank the National Lottery for their ongoing support, and for assisting us with making the past our future.