Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 26 July 2014

Belfast Reflections: Glitter ball that graced the old floral hall

Book. Northern Ireland. Scenery. Camera Studies.   FLORAL HALL, HAZELWOOD, BELFAST. A BUS-RIDE FROM THE CITY CENTRE IS BELFAST'S PLAYGROUND, HAZELWOOD AND BELLEVUE.
FLORAL HALL, HAZELWOOD, BELFAST. A BUS-RIDE FROM THE CITY CENTRE IS BELFAST'S PLAYGROUND, HAZELWOOD AND BELLEVUE.
Ballroom of romance the Floral Hall in Belfast was one of the most popular dance venues in the province
Ballroom of romance the Floral Hall in Belfast was one of the most popular dance venues in the province
City Hall from Wellington Place, Belfast.  5/10/1942
BELFAST TELEGRAPH ARCHIVE/NMNI
City Hall from Wellington Place, Belfast. 5/10/1942 BELFAST TELEGRAPH ARCHIVE/NMNI

All that glitters is not gold — so the celebrated glitter ball that once hung and revolved from the ceiling of the old Floral Hall Ballroom at Hazelwood is vital to the Belfast story.

If only it could be found in time for the 400 birthday celebrations.

But when business lady Mary Trainor and I met at the Opera House the other evening, that ball which graced so many happy dance nights at the Floral — which sadly is now a hay barn — was still missing.

She and I are hot on its trail to get that ball all lit up and glittering again just like it did in the old days of the Fifties and the Sixties.

One celeb who would like it recovered is pianist/composer/adjudicator Ivan Black who will tell you that old glitter ball brought him good luck as it spun away up there in the ceiling when he went for an audition for the Dave Glover Band at the Floral Hall way back in ’53.

“I was interviewed by Dave’s brother Sam whose own band were resident in the Floral at the time,” recalls Ivan. “He decided that I wasn’t a good enough sax player and was about to reject me when Dave arrived and decided to hire me as his piano player. I toured with Dave for six years and then went off to form my showband and later named it the Broadaway Showband. Sam, who at the time was the top sax player in Ireland, found religion and gave up band work to go preaching.”

Black, of course is still out there writing and recording songs and is the accompanist of Donaghadee Male Voice Choir.

The glitter ball that used to oversee the waltzes and the quicksteps and the moonlight saunters at the Floral was unscrewed from the ceiling of the now desolate dancehall all of 22 years ago and transported to the former Arts Theatre in Botanic to work its magic on a show called A Slice of Saturday Night that was on stage there.

We know the glitter ball was recovered from an old store room at the Arts Theatre after it was closed down and that since then it has been refurbished and was used as the centrepiece in at least one other musical.

If anyone has seen the Floral Hall glitter ball or knows where it is, get in touch.

Better still — if you fell in love under its spinning, flashing lights at the Floral Hall, tell us your story from this old ballroom of romance.

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