I have been doing some work this week looking at the links between the Belfast Charitable Society and the Belfast Chamber of Commerce of which there are many. One of the most surprising things I found relates to missing information.
There has been great debate over many years about the “missing” Minute Books belonging to the Belfast Charitable Society which would have covered the period of the 1798 Rebellion. Our Minute Books finish in 1794 and recommence in 1800. It is not known whether another volume ever existed, or it was purposely removed or accidentally destroyed. Despite all of my searching I have not found any evidence of these Minutes.

During my research of the Belfast Chamber of Commerce which was founded in 1783 I discovered that they too are missing Minute Books from 1794 until 1802. Once again it is not known what happened during this time. Did the Chamber of Commerce cease to exist? Was a decision taken to remove the Minutes as they contained sensitive information which was not to be made public?
It’s intriguing as many of the same people who were involved with the Belfast Charitable Society were also members of the Belfast Chamber of Commerce. I shall now be looking to other organisations who were operating at this time to see whether they have records which cover this period. I will keep you posted 🙂