Discover the inspirational story of the Belfast Poor House and its vast impact
on the growing city of Belfast.

June 1956

After the war

1956 – 1964 – During the war Clifton House had become dilapidated and it was estimated that at least £10,000 would be needed to restore and update the buildings. By 1960 the Society was providing a home for 144 aged men and women ‘of good character’ who were natives or residents of Belfast. Applicants from […]

March 1946

National Health Service

1946 – 1949 – Having been moved to the Antrim coast due to the Second World War, residents returned to the institution in October and the Society’s financial difficulties had become acute. However, the introduction of the National Health Service in 1948-9 not only enabled residents to have the services of additional medical practitioners but […]

April 1939

Air-raid shelters

1939 – 1945 – On the outbreak of the Second World War it was decided that the cellar storey of the House would make excellent air-raid shelters. It was just as well, for the devastating German air attack on Belfast on Easter Tuesday, April 15, 1941 wrecked terrible devastation on areas close to the House […]

September 1927

Electricity was introduced

1927 – Electricity was introduced into the House by a gift from Mr and Mrs Fran Workman and this was soon followed by the installation of a lift to the ward upstairs.

March 1920

Debt once more

1920 – 1922 – The First World War brought to an end the period of comparative prosperity – the rise in costs could no longer be met by the almost fixed income and by 1920 there was debt once more. A special appeal brought in £2,000 but the Society had around fifty empty beds which […]

September 1892

Erection of ornamental wrought iron work

1892 – It was agreed to erect ornamental wrought iron work over the gateway bearing the words ‘Belfast Charitable Society 1771’ which can still be seen today.

May 1882

The Charters Wing & The Children Leave

1882 – 87 – Not long after the completion of the Charters wing, children ceased to be admitted and the last left in 1882 and as the twentieth century dawned, the Society found itself in a better state than ever before to care for the elderly. Accommodation was no longer over crowded, there was good […]

October 1865

New Corporation is formed

1865 -1870 – Following on from the relief of the poor becoming a statutory obligation of the Union and the supply of water no longer under the responsibility of the Society, the Society had to adapt to a number of rapid changes. As well as this a new Corporation was formed, elected by ratepayers, following […]

December 1840

New Burying Ground

1840 – 1856 – By 1840 there was no room left for pauper burials in the New Burying Ground. The 1845 the potato crop was struck by blight and by 1846 the failure was total. Famished people poured into Belfast from the countryside, many of them carrying typhus and relapsing fever. The Society responded to […]

May 1832

Cholera Ground

1832-3 – The lower side of the upper plot in the New Burying Ground is known as the Cholera Ground where victims of the great epidemic in 1832-3 are buried. An emergency Board of Health applied to the Charitable Society for help. The Poor House was sealed off, rich meat broth was prepared for inmates […]