Belfast is known for its strong women but not many have received recognition over the years for their contribution to the life of the city.
Women’sTEC is redressing the balance by changing street names throughout Belfast to the names of five of the most iconic females to have carved their names in the city’s history — and first on the list is Duncairn Gardens.
The name change, which will last for a week, is one of a series of initiatives to commemorate the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day, including yesterday’s (March 8) celebratory march through Belfast.
For one week only, the Lisburn Road is named after Ruby Murray — the only performer ever to have five singles in the Top 20 at once
Helen Crickard, Women’s TEC Project Manager, said: “The idea was initiated by Martin Carter when he was doing a rag and |bone project around Belfast; he noticed all the streets were named after men, but it was all women who were giving him pruck and telling him stories of the women in the area.
“We want to celebrate women whose contribution to the city’s cultural and political life has been overlooked. This is about highlighting the work of all of these women in helping to make Belfast a better place for their children and for the future.”
Duncairn Gardens is recognising the work of prominent civil rights activist and feminist Madge Davison, whose sons were present when the sign was erected.
Madge’s sons Jonathon and Niall Hobbs and her grandson Rory were the first to view the sign in honour of their mum last week.
“This is a lovely tribute to the role of Belfast women and the messages of equality are as |important today as they were years ago,” Jonathon said.
Madge played a big role in the civil rights movement before returning to university and becoming a barrister. She was about to start a new job when she passed away at the age of 41.
“It’s a tragedy that her life was cut short but she accomplished so much with the time she had,” Jonathan added.
His brother Niall added: “It’s quite humbling to have our mother honoured in this way; it’s wonderful that the things she achieved are remembered and we are delighted to be a part of it.”
For this week, Royal Avenue has become Mary Anne McCracken Avenue to commemorate her work on women’s equality, the Newtownards Road is Sadie Menzies Road to commemorate the trade unionist and founding member of the Communist Party of Ireland and the Falls Road is Nora Connolly Road in recognition of James and Lillie Connolly’s daughter.