“Myths, Legends And Facts On Olde Belfast”
By Joe Graham. a Rushlight Magazine Publication
The Steam ship, “Clydesdale” Is the first to be used on a new regular cross channel service between Belfast and Glasgow, but this vessel burned during a crossing and was replaced with the “Rob Roy”. The fare for passengers was 3d, then other companies started to run ferries at the same time and competition became fierce, one carried passengers free of charge, another one bettered that by giving his passengers a free pint of strong beer. Really they depended on the cargo for profit. The crossing from Belfast to Glasgow could take anything from 12 to 24 hours, and even 36 hours!
1820 Dr. William Drennan, United Irishman died, it was he who gave Ireland the name “The Emerald Isle” in a poem he wrote. In 1819 directory Dr. Drennan is listed as living at “Cabin Hill”. ,Mar.5th, Thomas McCabe, “The Irish Slave” dies , both are buried at Clifton Street Cemetery. McCabe lived at Vicinage from which the street gets its name and St Malachys College is on the site of his home. William Putnam McCabe,1798 Patriot, was his son
1821 Belfast Natural history Society formed at Dr J.L. Drummond’s house.
1822 Population is now 37,117, Houses 5,932, First stone laid for gasworks.
1823 Belfast town first lighted with gas.
1824 “The Northern Whig” issued by F. D. Finlay. “The Rushlight” issued by Luke Hope, son of the great Jemmy Hope, of 1798 fame. Cross channel steamship trade begins. Rev. Steele Dickson, United Irishman, dies , 27th Dec, and is buried in a paupers grave at Clifton Street graveyard.
1825 Andrews opens his damask factory at Ardoyne around which blooms a village.
1826 Great excitement at Belfast Port as thousands flock to see the arrival of the vessel, “The Chieftain“ , an impressive double decked ship with unusually high masts. “The Rushlight” has sadly extinguished after less than a year .Belfast Banking Company founded, capital £500,000. Branch office of Provincial Bank opens,. Epidemic of typhus breaks out, many deaths.
1827 Royal Botanic Gardens formed, Fisherwick Place Church opened by Dr. Chalmers. Luke Hope, Editor of “Rushlight” dies. Belfast’s first steamer “The Chieftain” launched.
1828 Manor Court Prison abolished, and debtors sent to County Gaol, May Street Church opened by Rev. Edward Irvine. St. Patrick’s School, Donegall Street built, became Belfast.’s first National School in 1832
1829 Belfast Lunatic Asylum erected at a cost of £30,000. Gate house built at Friars Bush graveyard
1830 Machine-spinning of linen yarn introduced at Mulholland’s York Street Mill. The lying in hospital opened for “Poor Women“ on Antrim Road, at a cost of £1,200.. The following interesting insight to the growth of Ardoyne appeared in “The Northern Whig”, 1830.......
“ Now broadly beams the evening sun,
On Villas white, and woodlands green ;
And haply where the eye may run,
Beneath the bright and blue serene,
Where art delights and nature charms,
In Eden’s calm and cultured vale,
And plenty smiles, and beauty warms,
The rising village let me hail.
Fair is the village of Ardoyne !
And happy the inmates there,
Where health and labour sweetly join,
To banish poverty and care
Sweet village where I have often been,
Prosperity and peace be thine ;
And hallowed ever be the scene,
Where many an hour of bliss was mine.”
1831 * Population 53,737, houses 8,710, Rosemary Street Church rebuilt. Cost of $10,000. St. Matthews Chapel opened 13th March, at Ballymacarrett, and at Shore Road St Mary’s Catholic Chapel erected.
*In this year also Thomas Jackson built “Cliftonville House” (later home for the blind (he named the house after an area of Bristol where he trained hence the Belfast area became known as Cliftonville.
1831 The Ulster Female Penitentiary Opens in Belfast.
1832 Epidemic of typhus and influenza. Cholera year, 2,870 cases; mortality only 16% Owing to precautions taken.
1833 October. Irish Municipal Commissioners inquire into the Belfast Corporation. St Malachy’s College founded.
1834 The manufacture of flax spinning introduced into Belfast. Population now 60,813
1835 A daily cross channel service established between Belfast and Liverpool. The “Erin” ship is used, this ship later sank in 1844, on another route to Wales, all on board perished. John McCance* of Suffolk and McCance’s Glen fame elected M.P with Henry Joy.
* Let’s have a wee squint at this guy ,John McCance, As children we all played at McCance’s Glen at some time or another, in fact a lot of people back then pronounced it Kansas Glen, so vague or unaware that it was actually called after a man, and indeed it was. The man was John McCance……John McCance ( 1771-1835) was brought up in Glenville House, about where Cartigart Avenue is today, he was of a wealthy family, was in the linen trade and the family mill was at Suffolk road , still is today, used a local business enterprise centre and previously the site of Colin Glen Bacon premises. John was an astute business man was connected with banking and also politics was a Belfast Magistrate and in 1835 was elected as a Liberal M.P,, In 1810 he moved into Suffolk House having acquired it and its lands on the death of his uncle, he turned the house into one of the finest mansions in the county and set about revamping the Colin Glen itself which was famous for its “shoots”.
1836 Ulster Bank founded with capital of £1000,000, Society for the Prevention Of Cruelty To Animals founded in Belfast.. Association of Artists formed. This was the era of the “BIG HOUSES”,, within 4 to 10 mill of the centre of Belfast town there were dozens of houses that could rightly be called mansions, and all were known by their own names and those names later became names of districts or areas in the Belfast of the future as Belfast in need of land for the growing town, and later City, devoured the estates of these mansions, some you will recognise purely by the names of modern areas, or streets, “Connsbrook House”, plenty of modern links to this house, “Suffolk House”, “Belmont House”, “Cliftonville House”, Glenmachan House” ”Clonard House”, “Ardmoulin House”, “Hopefield House”, “Graymount House”,”Ballymurphy House”,”Strandtown House” “Ardoyne House”, ”Richmond Lodge”, “Purdysburn House”, “Solitude House”, of course one must remember, a lot of these houses, like Ballymurphy House, Malone House, Finaghy House, Ardoyne House, etc, were built in the first place on well recorded area’s of those names, these were ancient town lands.
1837 Act obtained to improve Harbour on Walker and Burgess plans, Typhus Epidemic.1837 Act obtained to improve Harbour on Walker and Burgess plans, Typhus Epidemic.
1838 Belfast suffers sever flooding. First Iron ship built at Belfast.
1839 Ulster Railway line opened to Lisburn-the first railway from Belfast. Music Hall built. “The Vindicator” issued by Gavan Duffy, later a Leader in the “Young Ireland” Movement.
ULSTER FEMALE PENITENTIARY. 14 Brunswick Street
Established 1st Nov., 1839, to receive penitent victims of seduction, and to encourage them to work for their own support within the walls of the institution, where there are extensive and appropriate facilities for washing, drying, mangling etc. The institution offers a refuge to all proper objects, without distinction of sect or party.
1840 June 19th, Belfast Water Commissioners Incorporated by Act of Parliament. Belfast Harbour greatly improved, now stretching from Princes Dock to past Mile End Water.
1841 Population 70,447, inhabited houses 10,906, Daniel O’Connell in Belfast, Rev. Bruce, D.D. Dies aged 84. Union Workhouse Opened. The Municipal Act passed.
1842, The first Town Council, under the Irish Municipal Corporation Act elected for Belfast, 25th October. At first meeting ,1st November, George Dunbar elected Mayor, ten Aldermen and thirty Councillors elected. Francis McCracken last surviving member of the Belfast Volunteers dies,, enrolled 1888. Banner Of Ulster newspaper issued.
1843 Queens Bridge erected on site of old Long Bridge, opened Jan.31st, cost £28,000.Deaf and Dumb Institution erected. Union Club formed. Clonard House, home of the Kennedy , mill family built, later became a convent now part of an old peoples fold.
1844 Amount of postage collected in Belfast, £4,625. Queen’s Bridge Opened, Saint Malachy’s Chapel consecrated., this was first intended to be a Cathedral. There is a very interesting story I heard about the Bells the chapel once had and how they had to be removed due to complaint from Dunville’s the whiskey people who had a distillery nearby, they claimed the noise of the bells were interfering with the fermenting of their whiskey distilling and so the bells were removed!
CHAPTER 5 And 6. Myths, legends and facts on Old Belfast
1845 County Antrim Prison (Crumlin Road Prison) completed, New Belfast bank built, Belfast and Ballymena Railway incorporated. The Public Parades Act is rebuked and Belfast opens to a new era of Street processions.
1846 Co. Down Railway Incorporated. The Belfast Association for promoting Christianity Among Jews established…curious organisation?
1847 The “Swatara” emigrant ship puts in with fever on board, which was followed by 14,000 typhus cases, old open sewers are evident in Belfast. “Black ‘47” the famine year many rural people flock to Belfast seeking refuge from hunger, or escape to a better live through Belfast port.
1848 April 11th Belfast and Ballymena railway opened.
1849 Victoria and Albert visit Belfast, Queens College opened. Victoria Channel completed, second outbreak of cholera.
1841. Belfast has its first Mayor. George Dunbar
1850 Assizes removed from Carrickfergus to Belfast. Albert and Queens Squares formed at old docks. This year 4,490 Vessels have used the Port of Belfast, with 624,113 Tons.
1851 Population 99,660, 46,443 Males, 53,217 Females, 20,553 families, Houses 13,965. (Almost two families to every house), “The Mercury” issued. Belfast Port has 448 Locally registered ships. £405,519 spent on improving the Port and Harbour.
1852 New Northern Bank opened. Belfast flax mills steam engines are burning up to 160.000 tons of coal a year, employing fifty vessels and 300 seamen.400,000 spindles are now at work, with 20,000 operatives, wages paid out is about £40,000 per year.
1853 The noble patriotic Jemmy Hope dies and is inter3ed at Mallusk Cemetery, Mary Ann McCracken and Old Israel Milliken, a former United Irishman, now riddled with rheumatism, pay for the erection a a Headstone on Jemmy's grave. Municipal Boundary extended, Presbyterian College opened.
1854. Private Robert O’Neill (18) becomes the first prisoner to be executed 21st June at Crumlin Road Prison, having shot his Corporal dead at nearby military barracks. Smithfield Flax Mill built on site of former old prison.
1855 Belfast Morning News issued. By Read brothers who are buried at Friars Bush, the columnist Barney MaGlone worked for the “Morning News“. Believe it or not.. there were 46 pawnshops in Belfast in the 1850’s.!
1857 New custom House opened. Model School built. Terrible sectarian riots in September, these followed an open air meeting addressed by preacher, Rev. Hugh Hanna, "Roaring Hanna", feeling had been running high since the 12th of July when the Rev. Thomas Drew of Christ Church, had made bigoted and inciting speeches at the annual Orange rally. resulting in horrific attacks by Loyalists on the Catholic Pound Loney, Albert Street, area. These open air preaching sessions were their cause of many vicious riots in Belfast and when it was proposed to ban such sessions, the Rev. Henry Cooke spoke out in defence of "Roaring Hanna's" position to stand firm against any law enacted against public meetings.
1860 New Ulster Bank and Bank Of Ireland opened.
1861 Population 120,777. Houses 18,375. Belfast has now its highest Catholic population ever 34%, this will steadily decrease in the next 100 years to 26% although the population increases massively.? ,,but it is notable the increase of sectarian attacks over the next few years. Great fire in Bedford Street.1862 Ulster Hall opened. Linen output increased due to American civil war.
1863 New Ormeau Bridge completed. 8th April, Daniel Ward executed at Belfast Prison.
1864 Great riots in Belfast on which Commission sat in November.
1865 Increase of town expected, great water scarcity.
1866 26th July, Mary Ann McCracken, aged 96, the patriotic sister of Henry Joy McCracken dies and is buried at Clifton Street Cemetery, “True till death”. Central railway commenced, Lombard Street improvements made. The Ulster hall opened . St Peter’s Chapel Built on land secured by Barney Hughes the Baker who passed It onto the church at “peppercorn rent”
1867 William Harbinson, Fenian Patriot, dies in Belfast Prison, he is commemorated by a Celtic Cross at Milltown Cemetery,
1868 New town reservoir made. Methodist College opened. Rev. Cooke dies.
1869 High tides caused flooding. Albert Clock completed. Borough Cemetery
and Ormeau Park opened. Holy Cross Chapel, Ardoyne opened.
1870 New Provincial Bank and Richardson’s Warehouse opened. Evening Telegraph issued. Rev. Dr. Drew (he of the musket) died. Milltown Cemetery opened 18th Sept. on site of Ross’s old Mill and brickyard. The house which the Sisters Of Adoration live today on the Falls Road was the former home of Mr. W. Ross. The new Cemetery opened with the closure of Friars Bush and a squabble that went on with City Fathers concerning the 90 acres of land left to the Citizens of Belfast to bury their dead by William Sinlaire at Whiterock which later became the Belfast City Cemetery .
1871 Population 174,412, New Town Hall opened. New Theatre built. Smallpox Epidemic, Philip Johnston , Mayor, Belfast opens its first public park, Ormeau Park. Joe Devlin, the parliamentarian Nationalist born at Hamill Street., later was M.P for West Belfast.
1872 Our Lady's Day, 15th August is widely held throughout Catholic area's of Belfast, massive parades and bonfires staged, and soon becomes the focus day for annual catholic celebrations for almost a century. Tramways opened. Sir John Savage Mayor, Terrible sectarian riots.
1875 Leppers Mill burnt down. “Ulster Echo” issued. Local trade depressed., and in this year the Great writer and journalist Barney Maglone died, also in this year St Mary's Hall, Bank Street, was built.
1876 April 27th, John Daly executed at Crumlin Road Prison, having been convicted of murdering Margaret Whitley, his wife’s aunt at Bathurst Court, off Durham Street.
1877 Disastrous fire in Belfast following explosion in Castle Place. The New St Patrick’s Chapel in Donegall Street Belfast is consecrated.
McQuillan Street was named after Hugh McQuillan, Publican and Builder, Hugh had a pub at 77 Falls Road. Theresa street was named after his daughter.
1878 Belfast Improvement Act. Court of Admiralty granted to Belfast. Townsend Street Church rebuilt. Barney Hughes, Baker, who invented the Belfast Bap dies.
1879 Very severe winter. General Grant in Belfast. Young & Anderson’s Warehouse burnt. Workman’s & Clarke’s shipyard opened. Peters Hill Public Baths opened, cost £28,507, including £7,160 paid for site. Israel Milliken, friend of James Orr and Jemmy Hope had a Private Cold Water Baths here previously. Two street one on Shankill Israel Street and one on Falls Milliken Street named after him. He also was behind the erection of the beautiful monument to James Orr the United Irishman at Ballycarry Cemetery.
1880 Corn Market improvement made Foundation stone of Belfast Academy, Cliftonville laid. John Browne Mayor. Hercules Lane and Street being cleared. Herbert Street at Ardoyne is described as “,, consisting of six small houses”.
1881 Royal Avenue Belfast commenced. Population 207,671.
1882 Accidental fire at the Lucifer Match Company Smithfield kills four workers.
1883, April 8th. another execution at Crumlin Road prison, Daniel Ward was executed for the murder of Charles Wilgar of Ballylesson. The new St Matthews Chapel opened at Ballymacarret
1882 The Market area all a buzz, sightings of a ghost is reported at the old disused McAuley Street Mill.
1884 Ormeau Avenue Belfast opened.
1885. 7th March. Rev Isaac Nelson died, buried at Shankill Cemetery, His sister, Elizabeth erected a Headstone with the following inscription….
“No more hirelings to another’s law,
Yet ne’er will I desert man’s genuine rights.
But gladly perish in fair freedom’s cause.
And when at last I rest from mortal strife
May silver roses o’er my ashes bloom,
And ah, may she who shared my love through life
Shed drops of fond affection o’er my tomb.”
Jamaica Street Ardoyne is described as “ having one row of 20 houses now in course of erection”.
1886 Albert Bridge collapsed. New Post Office opened. Great Riots in Belfast, fifty people killed. Lord R. Churchill visits, at a rally at Celtic Park he had to run to safety to Rock Bar, Falls Road
1887 St. Paul’s Chapel, Cavendish Street, Falls Road Belfast, opened. Main Drainage Act obtained. Alexandra Park opened.
1888 Belfast Created a City. Woodvale Park opened. Ormeau Baths opened.
1889 14th January, another Belfast execution, Arthur McKeown hanged at Crumlin Road Prison.
1890 Corporation Bill passed to acquire White Linen Hall, New Albert Bridge opened. Wilmont House built, was actually a pair of semi detached houses at first, home later of Lord & Lady Dixon, a park since 1959. Robert Wilson opens his Ormeau Bakery.
1891 Population 273,055, 26.3% Catholic. New Victoria Channel opened.
Dunville Park, Falls Road Belfast, opened. Site for Royal Hospital acquired.
1892 Dunville Fountain added to Dunville park.
1893 Templemore Public Baths opened cost, £21,660.
1894 17th August, John Gilmore, aged 21, executed at Crumlin Road Prison.
1895 Grand Opera House opened .
1896 Falls Road Baths opened , cost £17, 669. St George’s Market opens.
1898 Massive celebrations on Falls Road commemorating the 100th Anniversary of the 198 Rebellion, Maud Goone, Gathal O'Byrne attend. Police attack the parading "Lord Edward Fitzgerald Band at Carrick Hill, Our Lady Of The Rosary Chapel, Ormeau Road opens .
1899. More Belfast Troubles erupt when the United Irish League parade was attacked by unionists on returning from a rally at Hannastown, Arthur Trew, the infamous Custom House Steps preacher is said to have fermented the hatred by earlier speeches, oddly, William Johnston, the ultra unionist had supported the Catholic right to parade.
1900 Population 350,000 . Clonard Monastery completed. 1901 Water shortage relieved water being pumped from the Annalong Valley. Ist November, William Woods hanged at Belfast Prison, for the murder of Bridget McGivern at Bushmills. It was a tragic case of two chronic alcoholics, Woods almost severed McGivern’s head from her body the morning after the two had sat late into the night drinking a bottle of whiskey, it was alleged the murder had been premeditated, since Woods had bought the razor the day before, but yet no motive for the ghastly crime was put forward. and even in court it seems Wood couldn’t grasp the serious situation he was in and at one point smiled and said, “it was little worse than a bad marriage” . at 8 am the black flag, announcing Woods had been hanged, was raised above the prison and the waiting crowds outside fell silent. 1902. 20th January. Terrible tragedy at J. J. Herdman’s Mill in Smithfield (formerly Smithfield Flax Mill) resulting in workers deaths, 13 girls and women died , as young 14 and as old as 60.. Heavy machinery in upper floors crashed through the weak floors. Many ghost sightings were later reported The site lay vacant for many years, the council found it a delicate matter as what to do with the site, In the 1930’s they turned the site into a U.T.A Bus Station. 1903 Royal Victoria hospital built., parts added later.
1902. The new Holy Cross Chapel opens, 18th May, The Pope sends a message of congratulations.
1905 St Colman’s School built in Eliza Street, cost £1,632. Eliza Street , Emelia , Charlotte, and Arthur Streets thought to be named after the children of The first Marquis Of Donegall. Donegall Pass is said to be so named as it was a permitted “pass”, through wooded land owned by the Marquis, streets there, Elm, Pine, etc, named after the types of trees to be found in this once heavily wooded area. 1906 City Hall opened August 1st., cost £360,000,
1907 Belfast College Of Technology opened 30th October….Now…I have to tell you about this girl , many years ago, who used to work in a wee café opposite the “Tech”, called “The Blue Bird” you may remember it. Anyway, she seemed quite at home, like she was part of academia since she was working so close to the Tech, for when ever any one would ask her where she worked, she would reply , in a swanky voice “OO, just opposite the College Of Technology” , she would gave it its full title every time, never just “The Tech”, now that girl had class
1908 Hollywood comes to town …Two Picture houses open in Belfast . But if some enjoyed this new luxury, most working people of the town are still locked in poverty and dire working conditions ,and unrest grew not only in the labour arena but the political arena . Pictured left, residents of Kennedy’s Lane, Millfield. 1909. August 19th, Richard Justin hanged for the murder of his four year old daughter at Lepper Street in March.
1910. Mill workers Strike, military turned out and mill girl shot dead. Tragedy in Belfast Lough, the Glasgow steamer, “Copeland” collides with Lagan Dredger.No4, five men killed. Two more cinemas open . Mill girls go on strike, girl shot dead, riots break out, James Connolly address‘s crowd from “Pepper Hill Steps” 1911...Good Shepard Convent built Ormeau Road. Coliseum Cinema opens, it had previously been the Alexandria Theatre., one of a few cinemas that had a bar in the premises, (Alhambra also had a bar) it closed in 1959.
1912 Johnny Donnelly “Arcadian” Cinema opens Albert Street., closes 1960, this was the first picture house to let you in for a Jam Jar , then 15th, April, the “Titanic”, the pride of the “White Star Line”, built in the Belfast Yard, sinks on its maiden voyage. John Mullen must have been an interesting character in Old Belfast, owning the Market in North Street, and indeed the corner of Millfield and North Street , where the public Flogging took place, was once known as “Mullen’s Corner”. North Street at this time probably had more Public Houses that the whole of the town and they seemed to attract the not so nice clientele so John would have a bird’s eye view of the excitement and occurrences horrific as they sometimes must have been. Just behind North street was Mustard Street and its dilapidated 80 houses, this was the centre of Richard Calwell Mustard industry. The whole area, along with the original “Half Bap” area was cleared in the 1890’s redevelopment programme, many of the new streets were built by speculators, small business people who would often name the street they built after themselves
1913 James Connolly stands for Belfast Corporation, lost with a vote of 905 to 1,523. Connolly was of course living at Glenalina Terrace on the Falls Road at this point, 3 years later he was to be shot in a chair by the British in Dublin. The Clonard Cinema also opened on the Falls Road, in 1913, closed March 1966, many will recall the beautiful Italian ornate masonry on this cinema, and no doubt the nightly vigilance of the peeler “Pig” Minelly, always ready to clip an ear or two if young lads got up to mischief in the queues, it is said the Italian craftsmen who done the fancy plaster work on the Clonard Cinema also done that on the Bee Hive Bar.
Old Belfast Street names and origins
From a child I have always been fascinated as to the origins of Belfast Street names and place names and if you allow me I will devote this chapter to that aspect of my interest, and perhaps many a tale will develop as we look back on some of the origins, some of the old streets have long since disappeared.
“Bigger’s Entry”, ran west from Crown Entry, evidence show the Biggar family lived here from the ‘mid1600’s, and had a shop in High Street.
Cuddy’s Row was an old New Lodge Road Street
Donaldson’s Court was off Barrack Street.
Neeson’s Court , changed it’s name to Burns Court it was a little Entry
running from King Street to Hamill street.
Royal Avenue was once called Hercules Street after Hercules Langford.
AND…… Hercules Street was first called Herison’s Lean.
Squeeze Gut Entry was a lane between Bank Lane and Castle Street
Royal Avenue, (top end) was once called John Street.
Fountain Lane, was called Water Lane, once the site of natural springs .
Castle Street ,upper part) was once called Mill Street.
Corn Market Belfast was once called The Shambles.
Sandy Row was originally called “Carr’s Row“.
Marquis Street was formerly called Ferguson’s Lane
Antrim Road,(lower part) was once called Duncairn Street.
North Street. was once called Goose Lane,
Victoria Street (lower end) was Cow Lane, along which cattle were drove to Points Fields at the end of Corporation Street, the drovers were known as “Cow Wallopers”
Gresham Street, Old Belfast, was originally Hudson’s Entry .. and Lane
Kent Street ,Belfast, was originally called Margaret Street and houses there rented for two shillings a week, also the first “Ragged School” opened there.
Chapel Lane (Old Belfast) was earlier called Crooked lane.
Bank Lane, in Old Belfast, was once known as “Back Of The Water”, later “Brics lane”, it was here Waddell Cunningham, with others, tried to introduce Slave trade to Belfast lived.
Library Street , was originally known as “Casper Curry’s Meadow” and was the site for “Pepper Hill Steps”.
Garfield Street,(Old Belfast), was originally Bell’s Lane (named after the brewery)
Whiterock Road, Belfast, was formerly known as Sinclaires Loanan. (lane)
Ardoyne Road once housed “Ardoyne Village”, the road was “Lane” then.
Exchange Street was originally called Green Street ( after Robert Green)
Robert Street in old Half Bap was changed to Exchange Street West.
(A brutal murder took place at 38 Robert Street in 1888 , Arthur McKeown murdered his common - law wife.)
Manor Street, Belfast, was originally Cabul Street . (Kabul?)
Howard Street was originally Henrietta Street
“Ardoyne” area, from the Gaelic, built on ancient Ardoyne townland
Raphael Street was in the old Market area, it is said a strange ghostly events happened here, debris would blow violently about the street yet it could be on the calmest day, no hint of a wind.
Bankmore Street was named after Bankmore House, the home of the McCleery family, the wife of the family being Maria McCleery, daughter of the patriot Henry Joy McCracken, her mother having been Mary Bodle daughter of a working family that lived on the Cavehill.
Ballysillan, from the gaelic, built on the ancient Ballysillan town land.
Malone. from the Gaelic , plain of the lambs.
And John Hamilton, (on site of today’s Bank Buildings, Castle Junction).
Grosvenor Road Belfast,was once known as Grosvenor Street.
Durham Street was formerly called Malone Road.
Spamount Street New Lodge Belfast was named after a house that sat on the Old Carrick Road ( which later became known as North Queen street).
Farrington Gardens was originally called Ardglen Gardens.
Holmdene Gardens was firstly called Glenard Drive.
Estoril Park formerly called Glenard Parade.
Northwick Drive was first called Ardglen Drive.
Highbury Gardens was formerly Glenard Gardens.
Clonard Gardens was originally Clonard Street.
Etna Drive (Ardoyne Belfast) was Ardglen Crescent
Stratford Gardens Ardoyne Belfast was originally Ardglen Park
Ladbrook Drive Ardoyne Belfast was earlier called Glenard Gardens.
Strathroy Park. Ardoyne Belfast. was first called Glenard Parade.
Velsheda Park was originally Ardglen Park. Fort Street (Springfield Avenue ) was originally Fortune Street and in recent years nicknamed “Sooty Street”. the street was infamous in earlier years as being prone to flooding. Berwick Road (Ardoyne) was earlier Ardglen Parade.
Seaforde Street was originally called Chapel Lane
Dunedin Park was earlier called Glenard Drive.
Brompton Park ,part of, called Glenard Park, other , Ardoyne Avenue
Winetavern Street was known as Pipe Lane, Clay Pipe manufacturing.
Other streets long gone by Winetavern Street were Winetavern Street Place, Duffin’s Court, Laws Entry and more recently Samuel Street.
“Gooseberry Corner” was in Ballymacarret.
Springfield Avenue was once Elliott’s Row, was earlier called Goats Row.
Donegall Road once known as Blackstaff Lane, and later Blackstaff Road.
Louisa Street (Oldpark) was formerly called Brooklyn Street.
Dee Street, was formerly Club Row Lane.
Dunbar Street, originally called Grattan Street.
Carrick Hill and North Queen street was known as the Carrickfergus Road, was the main coach road.
Caddell’s Entry, shown on 1791Belfast map as running between Castle Place and Rosemary Street
Legg’s Lane tore down to make way for Lombard Street.
Bullers Field for long well known as a grazing area, was built up on to make houses for what became the Half Bap and “Little Italy” , built up areas.
Malcomson Street was built on site of Malcomson’s Mill.
Ballysillan Park was originally known as Buttermilk Loney. (Lane)
Falls Road, named after the district it led to, and later extraordinarily led from,
Lettuce Hill, was in old “Falls” Area , when redeveloped renamed John Street. Richard Turley, a resident of 12 Lettuce Hill, was fireman on the fateful “Titantic“, and lost his life in that tragedy.
Paradise Row, was in old “Falls” area close to Barracks Street.
“The Falls”, originally, was the area around junction of Millfield and Hamill Street .
Townsend Street. named as the then end of urban town.
Glenwood Street, School. Etc derive their names from John Cunningham’s “Glenwood Corn Mill”, Upper Shankill.
Boundary Street, named as end of newly extended town of those days.
Barrack Street, named through proximity to site of military barracks.
Ballymurphy Street originally Mica Street and Sunbeam Street.
Beechview Park (Falls) was formerly Giants Foot Road.
Hamill Street named after the Hamill family who developed that area.
John Street named after John Hamill, family buried at Hannastown .
Dunville Street, Park, etc, named after the Dunville Whiskey family.
Sorrella Street named after the “Sorella Trust“ set up to maintain Dunville Park.
Distillery Street, named through proximity to Dunvilles Whiskey Distillery site.
Leopold Street. (Crumlin Road) at one time was called “Quality Row”
Stanfield Street was formerly known as River street
New Lodge Road built roughly on old site of “Pinkerton Row”
Pinkerton Row named after Pinkerton the local mill owning family.
Cliftonville Road, area originally was to be named as “Cliftonville Garden Village“.
Bridge Street, named as link to bridge over Farset River at High Street .
Skipper Street, sea faring link to this, the earliest “Sailortown”, of Belfast.
Ewart’s Row, named after the mill owner and land lord William Ewart.
Ballymurphy Estate, built part on the ancient “Townland of Murphy”
Nansen Street, Falls Road, named to honour F. Nansen, the Norwegian explorer.
Pound Street, Divis Street, built on site of lane that led to town’s old animal pound.
“TEETOTAL HALL”, was a Smithfield charity establishment in ‘mid 1800’s where homeless men and women could drop in for affordable meals.
Pound Loney.. Old district now gone built near Pound and St Peter’s. A
Little stream that flowed through the area at Durham Street was called , “The Pound Burn” , was covered in in early 1970’s
Belle Steele Road, Poleglass, named after local land owner and renowned liberal, a close friend to the Hamill family and is said to have hidden the vessels of the Mass for her Catholic neighbours so that they could hold secret Mass in the Penal days.
Snugville Street, Shankill, got its name from the site of the home “Snugville” of Edward Walkington, Druggist.
Oman, Sevastopol, Balaclava Streets named after Crimean battles mid 1800’s.
Half Bap . near St. Anne’s Cathedral, named because of the odd mound shaped roundabout , (like top half of a bap) at the end of Talbot Street, poignant as one remembers that it was in this area, Donegall Street, that Barney Hughes invented his famous Belfast Bap. This mound could well be described as Belfast’s first roundabout. Belfast Council, with grants and funding galore are hell bent on having some rewrite history, thereby implying this was "The Cathedral Quarter", it never was, in fact when Lord Carson was buried in the vaults of st Ann'es, slogans appeared on local gable walls, saying, "First you try to bomb us out, now you are trying to stink us out", such was the significance of the Cathedral' in that area.It is heartening to hear many parrot my resistence to that area being called "The Cathedral Quarter", but I suppose if you throw grants and funding at some people they will write anything you want, huh.? a bit like Catholic people celebrating the "Titanic"..?? what are they celebrating .?? that they couldn't get a job in the shipyard, shallow people!. Few will be aware that there was also at one time near the Durham Street Grosvenor Road junction another Belfast area also called “The Half Bap”
“Little Italy“, an old district now gone peopled by many Italian emigrants.
“The Hammer” district, an old Shankill area at Agnes Street,, now redeveloped.
“The Nick”, Belfast, an old Shankill area redeveloped mid 1960’s.
“The Fenian Gut”, old district near Gallagher’s factory, now gone.
“The Alley”, very loyalist old York Street district, 20’s troubles, Buck Alec Robinson's domain. Buck Alec, was an infamous loyalist gunman during the 1920's, also a "Special", he is recorded in 'official' documents at having murdered many people, yet never faced a court on a murder charge, in fact was given a commendation by the Governor, for "his good police work". huh??, he was also involved in the 1930's troubles. Buck Alex Robinson also kept greyhounds, and boxed and wrestled at fair ground booths. and I am sure you are tired off hearing 'historians' write of his later escapades, as they portray this ruthless gunman and bomber as some sort of quaint little character. when he walked a toothless lion around Belfast.
“Sailortown” Belfast, dockland area settled around Corporation Street now redeveloped.
Ballymacarrat, old district on east side of River Lagan, once called “Wee Belfast”
Short Strand, the east strand between the Queens and Albert Bridges.
“The Market”, very old district centred around Belfast abattoir and farm markets.
Lancaster street, named after Quaker School/ educational system founded there.
“Iveagh,” area built at old Broadway Village, named after the Iveagh Trust.
Iveagh Crescent, Falls Road, was originally called Celtic Parade.
Beechmount, Falls Road Belfast, named from Beechmount, local mansion set in hilled wooded area, once the home of a Bishop and latterly the home of Samuel Riddle, a jeweller, it is said it is written into the deeds of the property, that the land should never fall into Papist hands. It later became a convent! , if it was Riddles who had that written in I’m not sure, but it is a fact that when he donated money to a children’s hospital he requested that no papist should benefit from it. The writing into a deed that no papist should acquire the property was not solely restricted to mansions, a house at 16 Elswick Street that I bought in 1970 had that clause in the deed. But expediency prevailed as protestants were moving from the area and Catholics were moving in, part of the sad further polarization our wee town was suffering at that time.
Hector Street (Half Bap) originally called Caxton Street.
“McCances Glen” named from the land owner John McCance.
Suffolk area, West Belfast, built on site of Suffolk House and land, home of the McCance’s family.,John McCance had been Mayor of Belfast.
“Springhill“, modern area named after an a once nearby ancient “Clachan” , which was close to “Molly‘s Well“ at the top of the Mountain Loney, now called Upper Whiterock Road..
Kane Street (Clonard) was firstly known as Aboo Street.
“Turf Lodge” named after “Turf Lodge Farm” on which land the estate is built.
Cavan Street, old street once sited at side of Clonard Cinema, long gone.
Craig Street, Falls Road, now gone named after a local mill, Craig’s Mill.
A humorous story I must tell you about this little street, back in the 1950’s it housed only one family and the man of the house, a tiny little man loved a drink on a Saturday night. On arriving home, safe in the street, he would throw off his coat and shout, “I will fight any man in the street”, he was the only man in the street, he had a wife and some daughters.
Conway Street named to ’honour’ the planter family and robber baron.
Downfine Estate, named after the ancient town land, “Ballydownfine”.
NewBarnsley, named after a local Clachan sadly burned down in recent troubles. This little row of cottages were at the corner of Springfield park, and in the early years of Ballymurphy, it was also the end of the line for the local bus service, The Terminus". The fields behind the row of cottages were "Brown's Fields", Brown was a local bleaching Green owner and Farmer. His fields in later years were let to John Gordon for grazing his dairy cattle.
Dermott Hill , merely named so , from a family members name, by the builder of the estate late 1960’s, it is believed that the estate is built upon an ancient cairn. Until recent years a row of cottages bore the name "Cairn" at the top of the Whiterock Road, obviously a link to the old Cairn.
Cavendish Street named after an assassinated British politician, St Paul's Chapel Is at the corner., and also faced onto the wall, some years ago, of "Looney Park", the Belfast Asylum,
Sugarfield Street, Shankill , built on site of “Sugarfield House“, home of Rev of Rev Isaac Nelson, Presbyterian minister at Donegall Street Church, he was an ardent Nationalist, and Nationalist M.P.
Bread Street, (Pound Loney) now gone , named through proximity to Flour mill.
Alexander Street North, named after landlord, flour mill owner John Alexander.
Milford street, named after Alexander’s Co. Carlow birthplace.
Ardmoulin Avenue named after his house “Ardmoulin”, his earliest corn mill would have been where the “Morning Star” hostel stands today in Divis Street of course you know this building was once “Brickfields Police Barracks”, was still a barracks right into the 1920’s troubles.
Glasshouse Street was off Boyd Street.. No one threw stones?
“Mary’s Market” was in Townsend Street, later became known as “The Bullring”
“Torren’s Market” and Torren’s Row were off Hercules Street.
Whitesidetown renamed Andersonstown after the Whiteside family who were dispossessed through their leanings to the principles of United Irishmen. a name Change back to Whiteside- town may be appropriate ?).
Andersonstown Park South was earlier called Andersonstown Place.
Alliance Gardens was firstly called Alliance Place
Church Street was first called School House Lane.
Queen’s Island was once called Dargan’s island.
Edward Street was named after this character Edward May as was May Street Edward May will go down in local history as the man who pioneered the reclamation of land from the Lough edges, but more infamously as the man who desecrated the graves of those buried there at St Georges graveyard at High Street and Ann Street. so as to sell the land for the development. of Church/ Ann Street.
Westland Road was originally Barley Mill Lane.
Limestone Road Belfast was originally called Alexandre Road
Talbot Street Belfast, named after land agent to Lord Donegall.
Library Street Belfast was earlier known as Mustard Street.
Joy Street named after the Joy family who had a paper mill in that area, Blows Printing Works was nearby.
True story,… (early 1800‘s) around this time a corpse of an Orangeman was dug up from Friars Bush Cemetery, carried through the night to the then Ormeau Bridge, and left there . Belfast is booming as regards industry but the living conditions of the working class is indeed dire, the streets are described as like running sewers, and whole families are to be seen sleeping on straw covered floors in one room, disease and fever are common place and so the many accompanying ailments that follow such social squalor and poverty, such as alcoholism, mental illness’s, etc.
Boomer Street, which was just off Divis Street was named after the Mill owner, this perhaps was the last street in Belfast to have “Half Houses,” (a family lived upstairs and one downstairs) Lepper Street in the New Lodge also had “Half Houses” locals referred to them as the “Scotch Quarters” a friend was reared in one and so as a kid, he was nicknamed “Scotty”. And over in Carrick Hill a large block survived there until recently which was known in their early days as “The Scotch Quarters“, (Tenements).
“Blue Bell Entry “, early 1800’s, ran from Waring Street to High Street.
Elbow Lane was an old lane off Waring Street
Lower part of the Grosvenor Road was earlier called College Street South.
Snugborough Entry ran between North Street and Donegall Street.
Will’s Place was a row of houses at May’s Fields, near St Malachy’s Chapel.
Tomb Street was named after David Tomb. Owner of the Limekiln Dock, the original Belfast Butter Market was sited here, also it was the location of many Coopers, barrel makers, in old Belfast. A striking memorial to whom can be seen in Clifton street cemetery, the New Burying Ground.
Friendly Street was first Lagan Lane then Lagan Court.
Fairy Place was on the Old Lodge Road, would have a different meaning today?
Beggars Row was a little street near Pepper Hill Steps, (Carrick Hill)
Bath Place (Divis Street) so named from the fact this was the former site of public bath house.
Barrack Street Court, in 1861 described as, “six small houses”
Lucknow Street, Kashmire Road, etc, hints of British Colonialism.
Liddy’s Court, an interesting little street now long gone was almost directly facing St. Patrick’s Chapel in Donegall Street running through to little Donegall street. It housed a starch factory and a biscuit factory that later became a military barracks for the American Army, the first American troops to land in Europe to take part in the last world war landed here in Belfast. They also took over the Plaza Ballroom, Belfast’s most prestigious dance hall, as a base for their Red Cross.
Paradise Row, close to Barracks Street. was also in the old “Falls” area as referred to in a letter by Henry Joy McCracken when he wrote, ‘ I have gone to live in the Falls’. Donaldson’s Court was off Barrack Street.
Ardilea Street (Marrowbone) Oldpark Road was once called “Savages Row” and consisted of “Half Houses” owned by John Savage the local mill owner, John Savage, who committed suicide by cutting his throat. It was said his ghost was to be seen prowling in the area for many years, (see Rushlight January 2005.)
Believe it or not.. there were 46 pawnshops in Belfast in the 1850’s.!
The “Alambra” opens in North Street Belfast, by the famous Willie John Ashcroft, who later committed suicide through debt, his ghost was said to haunt the building in later years.
Waterford Street,Falls Road Belfast, named after home town of William Malcomson, owner of “Milford“, a local mill., which went burst in 1876 linen depression.
McQuillan Street was named after Hugh McQuillan, Publican and Builder, Hugh had a pub at 77 Falls Road. Theresa street was named after his daughter.
1878 Belfast Improvement Act. Court of Admiralty granted to Belfast. Townsend Street Church rebuilt. Barney Hughes, Baker, who invented the Belfast Bap dies. Barney also was the first Catholic elected to Belfast Council, generations of kids recalled him in the street song….
“Barney Hughes bread…sticks to your belly like lead“
Not a bit of wonder you fart like thunder, Barney Hughes bread.”
Barney Hughes started off working for the "Corporation Bakery" opposite St Anne's Cathedral, now, there is another possible realistic historically linked name for the area "The Bakery Quarter" ? as opposed to the yuppy "Cathedral Quarter?, or how about "The Flogging Quarter", in memory of the "Triangle" that stood permanently on the corner of Bridge Street and North Street, which people were lashed to and publicly flogged, make no doubt about it, there is a political agenda behind the pouring out of masses of money as funds, or grants to rewrite and create an "acceptable" imagery of Belfast, and you know what I think of grants and funding.. as Pearse said, they would, "purchase the one half and intimidate the other". History should never be a commercialised subject, it is obscene, it opens the door for commercial interests to be able to dictate to writers of history and effectively 'edit' their works, common sense tells you are not going to be given hundreds and sometimes thousands of pounds to write unkindly of those who pay you!, History should not be prostituted.
must of us can remember “Meli’s Chippie” at the corner of Springfield Avenue, but at one time that building was a public house, in the house to the left of Huges Bakery lived the manager of Hughes , who was shot dead there during a robbery , but that is a story on its own. That big clock above the door bore the name , B A R N E Y H U G H E S.. a letter of his name for each number from 1 to 12.… remember how we used to spell or should I say chant, out his name ?
J. B. Kennedy was another baker who stamped his mark on Belfast , seen above with “Kennedy United” a team he sponsored. known as “The Walking Saint” because of his kindness and generosity. The gold chalice which couples drink from at St Paul’s Chapel at their wedding Mass was donated by J.B, his home “Clondara House” was only recently demolished, St John’s Parish priests were its last occupiers..