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Belfast Reflections: History put in its place

City's old buildings and historical sites should be remembered, says Eddie McIlwaine

Eddie McIlwaine

The demolition of the old Post Office, in Royal Avenue, to make way for a new shopping complex. 11/7/1985
Mc Glade's Pub. Donegall Street, Belfast.
The General Post Office in Royal Avenue, Belfast, beautifully decorated for the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. 1/5/1953
Harland & Wolff shipyard workers finish for the day as the truly massive Sea Quest dominates the sky-line. 14/1/1966
HMS Belfast today and during its launch (above right) on St Patrick's Day 1938 at Harland and Wolff when the people of Belfast presented the ship with a silver bell
linen/ winding weft yarn. York St. Factory.
Smithfield market, Belfast.Young boy in a shop selling household furniture lamps and bric a brac. 26/11/1941
The Earl of Listowel, (first left), Postmaster General, in the Switch Room of Telephone House, Belfast with Mr H.N. Stephenson (centre) and Mr H.R.Jones. 7/5/1946
Saw repair shop, McMasters, Church Lane. 19/11/1945
Northern Ireland Road Transport Board, oil reclaiming plant. Barrelling reclaimed oil product from blending tank. 15/10/1943
Classic Hairdressing Salon, Garfield Street. A barber is cutting a customer's hair. 2/1/1942
1962 Royal Avenue
Royal Avenue, Belfast, from Castle Place looking towards North Street (from first floor level.) 19/5/1936
Belfast Custom House, Custom House Square, Belfast. 28/1/1930 BELFAST TELEGRAPH ARCHIVE
Belfast. Streets. City Centre. Custom House Square. 20/8/1963
Sandy Row, from Donegall Road looking towards Lisburn Road. Belfast. 10/5/1946 BELFAST TELEGRAPH COLLECTION/NMNI
Looking along the Ormeau Road to the gasworks from Short & Harlands recreation club. 19/3/1948
Belfast; Castle Place, from Castle Street. 1915
Cavehill Mountain with Belfast city in the background.
Antrim Road, Belfast. January 1934
Arthur Square, Belfast. 7/12/1967
In complete contrast with the busy traffic and the many multi-storey chain stores in Belfast's city centre, a peep into the past is provided by centuries old "Pottinger's Entry" which connects High Street and Ann Street. 13/2/1968
Grand Opera House, The Hippodrome (Odeon), and The Ritz (ABC). In the foreground is a motorcycle and sidecar and a jeep. 5/10/1942 BELFAST TELEGRAPH COLLECTION/NMNI
The Great Northern Railway Station, Great Victoria Street, Belfast, in the early part of the century.
The Odeon Cinema, Great Victoria Street, Belfast. 1962
Belfast Corporation Gas Works, a man is shovelling sulphate of ammonia. 5/3/1940
A locksmith in his shop, Pottinger's Entry. 10/6/1933
One of the huge assembly jigs for the Britannia now nearing completion in the main factory of Shorts Brothers and Harland Ltd. 17/2/1955
A Shorts worker at work on a busy production line at the Queen's Island plant. 19/11/1965
Linen Industry:Plain Weaving Shop, Brookfield Factory. 3/3/1939
Mr. Keating, a saddler working at a bench. Little Patrick Street. 29/4/1941
The Calcutta flying boat at Belfast Harbour in 1928
The production line at Shorts carpet sweeper division. 7/5/1957
Belfast city centre, looking towards the City Hall and the hills beyond. 25/4/1939 BELFAST TELEGRAPH COLLECTION/NMNI
Belfast City Hall, composite photographs showing approaches. 26/6/1948 Belfast Telegraph Collection/NMNI
City Hall, south side, Belfast 3/11/1942 BELFAST TELEGRAPH ARCHIVE/NMNI
Statue of Queen Victoria in the grounds of the City Hall, Belfast. 5/1/1943 Belfast Telegraph Collection/NMNI
Belfast Castle. February 1937 Belfast Telegraph Collection/NMNI
St. Anne's Cathedral, with Miss Praeger working on the figure of Solomon on the Pillar of Wisdom. 18/6/1928 Belfast Telegraph Collection/NMNI
Outside St. Anne's Cathedral Mr. W.D. Hoskins, ARICS. and Mr. T.J. Rushton FRIBA a partner of Sir Charles Nicholson, cathedral architect with the Dean of Belfast, Very Reverend R.C.H.Elliot. 18/9/1947 BELFAST TELEGRAPH COLLECTION/NMNI
Presbyterian Assembly Buildings and Church House, Gt. Victoria St. Belfast 24/9/1942 BELFAST TELEGRAPH COLLECTION/NMNI
Carlisle Memorial Methodist Church, Clifton St. Belfast. 13/5/1949 Belfast Telegraph Collection/NMNI
New' Petty Sessions Court, Victoria St. Belfast. 27/4/1943 Belfast Telegraph Collection/NMNI
Albert Bridge Road looking from Templemore Avenue citywards. 2/9/1943 Belfast Telegraph Collection/NMNI
Building a roundabout at the junction of Ravenhill Road, Albert Bridge Road and Madrid St. 10/9/1948 Belfast Telegraph Collection/NMNI
Anne St. and Arthur Square, Belfast. 11/10/1946 BELFAST TELEGRAPH COLLECTION/NMNI
Donegall Square North and East. Belfast. 26/7/1948 BELFAST TELEGRAPH COLLECTION/NMNI
Donegall Square South and West. Belfast 3/11/1942 BELFAST TELEGRAPH COLLECTION/NMNI
High Street, Belfast, looking towards the Albert Clock. 24/2/1939 BELFAST TELEGRAPH COLLECTION/NMNI
Lisburn Road, at Malone Avenue, Belfast. 3/5/1946 BELFAST TELEGRAPH COLLECTION/NMNI
Sandy Row, from Donegall Road looking towards Lisburn Road. Belfast. 10/5/1946 BELFAST TELEGRAPH COLLECTION/NMNI
Shaftesbury Square looking towards Gt. Victoria St. and Dublin Road, Belfast. 12/11/1942 BELFAST TELEGRAPH COLLECTION/NMNI
Belmont St. Woodstock Road, Belfast. 3/2/1939 BELFAST TELEGRAPH COLLECTION/NMNI
Bloomfield Road, Belfast, looking towards the Beersbridge Road. 1/12/1947 BELFAST TELEGRAPH COLLECTION/NMNI
High St. from Castle Place. Belfast 20/2/1939 BELFAST TELEGRAPH COLLECTION/NMNI
The Palm House in Botanic Gardens, Belfast. 7/5/1946 BELFAST TELEGRAPH COLLECTION/NMNI
Grand Opera House, The Hippodrome (Odeon), and The Ritz (ABC). In the foreground is a motorcycle and sidecar and a jeep. 5/10/1942 BELFAST TELEGRAPH COLLECTION/NMNI
Exterior of King's Hall, Balmoral. 21/4/1949 BELFAST TELEGRAPH COLLECTION/NMNI
G.N.R. railway terminus at Belfast 16/12/1937 BELFAST TELEGRAPH COLLECTION/NMNI
Looking along the Albert Bridge to The East Bridge Street Power Station. 2/9/1943 BELFAST TELEGRAPH COLLECTION/NMNI
Painting of Andrew Mulholland, founder of York Street Flax Spinning Company 4/4/1945 BELFAST TELEGRAPH COLLECTION/NMNI
Building of the Sydenham by-pass, a workman using a frog hammer. 25/10/1939 BELFAST TELEGRAPH COLLECTION/NMN
Shipyard workers watching the launch of the "Canberra". 11/3/1960 BELFAST TELEGRAPH COLLECTION/NMNI
Shankill Road at Canmore St.looking citywards, Belfast. 17/11/1943 BELFAST TELEGRAPH COLLECTION/NMNI
Victoria Square, Belfast, from Victoria Street. Davis & Co. automobile engineers, Cantrell & Cochrane factory. 24/8/1939 BELFAST TELEGRAPH COLLECTION/NMNI
Victoria Square, Belfast, with Cantrell & Cochrane delivery lorry. 3/5/1946 BELFAST TELEGRAPH COLLECTION/NMNI
Wilson's Court, Belfast. A narrow alley between High Street and Ann Street. Sign for "Lavery's". Gas bracket lamp. 16/5/1941 BELFAST TELEGRAPH COLLECTION/NMNI
Corner of North Street and Waring Street, Belfast. The Belfast Bank head office (formerly The Northern Bank). 22/9/1942 BELFAST TELEGRAPH COLLECTION/NMNI
Old clothes market, Smithfield, Belfast. 5/1/1937 BELFAST TELEGRAPH COLLECTION/NMNI
Cattle pens at The Great Northern Railway Station, Belfast, from the Albert Bridge. 2/9/1943 BELFAST TELEGRAPH COLLECTION/NMNI
The Mater Hospital, Crumlin Road, Belfast. 15/9/1942 BELFAST TELEGRAPH COLLECTION/NMNI
The Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast, from the Grosvenor Road. 21/9/1925BELFAST TELEGRAPH COLLECTION/NMNI
Chichester St. looking towards Donegall Square North. Belfast. 3/1/1941 BELFAST TELEGRAPH COLLECTION/NMNI
Chichester St. from Victoria St. junction. Belfast. 3/5/1946 BELFAST TELEGRAPH COLLECTION/NMNI
Donegall Square East, Showing a row of parked cars. Belfast 10/9/1928 BELFAST TELEGRAPH COLLECTION/NMNI
Donegall Square East, with air raid shelters, from the roof of the Robinson & Cleaver building, Belfast. Top of photo cut of by the censor. 22/9/1943 BELFAST TELEGRAPH COLLECTION/NMNI
Donegall Square North from the roof of the City Hall. Air raid shelters in City Hall grounds. Belfast 15/9/1942 BELFAST TELEGRAPH COLLECTION/NMNI
Donegall Square North. Belfast 23/1/1946 BELFAST TELEGRAPH COLLECTION/NMNI
Arthur St. looking towards Arthur Sq. and Cornmarket. 27/4/1943 BELFAST TELEGRAPH COLLECTION/NMNI
Belfast, City Hall and surrounding area. Aerial Photograph. 17/8/1929 BELFAST TELEGRAPH ARCHIVE/NMNI
Stormont.Belfast. 24/10/1947 BELFAST TELEGRAPH ARCHIVE/NMNI
Stormont, painted black with pitch to camouflage it.Trolley bus no. 26. Belfast. 26/3/1942 BELFAST TELEGRAPH ARCHIVE/NMNI
City Hall from Wellington Place, Belfast. 5/10/1942 BELFAST TELEGRAPH ARCHIVE/NMNI
Shorts:General (Up to 1960's) Short & Harland production of RAF bombers.

Remember the famous old Smithfield Market where you could turn back the clock and find books you thought were long out of print? Or pick up an album of some flute band only you had heard of. Or a gospel singer dedicated to his cause, never mind the quality of his voice, in Billy McBurney’s original Premier Record Shop?

My picture shows the Premier — boasting in chalk above the door of “Select Irish and Scotch Records” — and the entrance to that market which one night in the early ’70s went up in flames, never to be replaced in that form that had existed for nearly 100 years.

Smithfield was the kind of place you went to shelter from the rain on a winter day — a bit like the shop in Last of the Summer Wine. You went in intending to spend not a penny and always found a bargain you couldn’t resist.

I’ve still got a few vinyl 78rpm records I picked up in Smithfield literally for|a song. And just across the way was |Hugh Greer’s book store with its wealth |of new and second hand gems just dying to be read. Book shops and record stores are still in the Smithfield district but |the new market isn’t a patch on the |old.

A 400th anniversary has to be a time to remember other old buildings and places that are missing from Royal Avenue and elsewhere in Belfast today.

Miss Elliott’s Secretarial College for prim young ladies to learn shorthand and typing has disappeared from Royal Avenue.

I used to be the only boy student there, building up my shorthand speed for my career as a reporter and I was warned by Miss Elliott that dating any of those young ladies was out of order and that I was there strictly to learn.

The girls were kind to me most of the time, the only male in the place. None of them tried to marry me or anything like that. I count a few of them among my friends to this day.

The old Post Office with its rows and rows of pigeon holes has gone too from Royal Avenue and in Lower North Street, the Moka, the first Chinese style restaurant I ever experienced is now a business house and in Upper North Street I still miss the Gaiety Cinema where you could while away a lazy afternoon.

And when you talk about missing places you have to remember McGlade’s pub next to the Belfast Telegraph where journalists gathered for a drink and a yarn and Sam Casey’s Brown Horse across the way where the printers drank.

One night, when the Irish Cup was brought in after Crusaders had pulled off a famous victory and a celebration had been called by Sam, who was a Seaview official, the trophy vanished.

It later turned up safe in the arms of Bob Young, a loyal Glentoran fan and a Tele copytaker who had taken it home for safekeeping, fed up with all the praise being heaped on the Crues.

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