Belfast Telegraph

Friday 19 December 2014

Video: Rare footage of 1901 tram ride down Belfast's Royal Avenue

The footage was discovered by Aislinn Clarke, Artistic Director of Belfast's Wireless Mystery Theatre, while trawling through film archives, writes Paul Carson.

McDonnell Street Belfast
Images from the Belfast Telegraph's Archive - The Blitz
Belfast Telegraph offices, 15/16th April 1941
York street, 15/16th May 1941
York street, 15/16th May 1941
York street and Great Patrick street, 4/5th May 1941
York street, top of Jennymount street, 15/16th April 1941
Whitewell Road, 15/16th April 1941
High Street from Castle junction, 4/5th May 1941
High Street from Albert memorial, 4/5th May 1941
High Street, 4/5th May 1941
High Street, 4/5th May 1941
Crumlin road presbyterian church, 3/5th May 1941
Castle lane, 4/5th May 1941
Belfast City Hall, 4/5th May 1941
Belfast City Hall, Banqueting hall roof, 4/5th May 1941 To purchase this photograph as large format canvas or acrylic visit Belfast Telegraph page on www.niphotocanvas.co.uk
Arnotts, Bridge street from High street, 4/5th May 1941 To purchase this photograph as large format canvas or acrylic visit Belfast Telegraph page on www.niphotocanvas.co.uk
Bridge street from High street, 4/5th May 1941 To purchase this photograph as large format canvas or acrylic visit Belfast Telegraph page on www.niphotocanvas.co.uk
Bridge street from North street, 4/5th May 1941 To purchase this photograph as large format canvas or acrylic visit Belfast Telegraph page on www.niphotocanvas.co.uk
Bridge street from High street, 4/5th May 1941 To purchase this photograph as large format canvas or acrylic visit Belfast Telegraph page on www.niphotocanvas.co.uk
Bridge street/High street, 4/5th May 1941 To purchase this photograph as large format canvas or acrylic visit Belfast Telegraph page on www.niphotocanvas.co.uk
Municipal Tram Depot, Antrim Road, 15/16th May 1941 To purchase this photograph as large format canvas or acrylic visit Belfast Telegraph page on www.niphotocanvas.co.uk
Ballymoney mobile canteen, April/May 1941 To purchase this photograph as large format canvas or acrylic visit Belfast Telegraph page on www.niphotocanvas.co.uk
Rosemary street & North sreet, 4/5th May 1941 To purchase this photograph as large format canvas or acrylic visit Belfast Telegraph page on www.niphotocanvas.co.uk
Rosemary street & Bridge street corner, 4/5th May 1941 To purchase this photograph as large format canvas or acrylic visit Belfast Telegraph page on www.niphotocanvas.co.uk
Demolishing hazlets, North street, 4/5th May 1941 To purchase this photograph as large format canvas or acrylic visit Belfast Telegraph page on www.niphotocanvas.co.uk
Newcastle street, Newtownards road, 1941 To purchase this photograph as large format canvas or acrylic visit Belfast Telegraph page on www.niphotocanvas.co.uk
North street, 4/5th May 1941 To purchase this photograph as large format canvas or acrylic visit Belfast Telegraph page on www.niphotocanvas.co.uk
North street, 4/5th May 1941 To purchase this photograph as large format canvas or acrylic visit Belfast Telegraph page on www.niphotocanvas.co.uk
Belfast during the blitz - Hallidays road, Belfast,15/16 April 1941
Hugensen Avenue (cavehill road), 15/16th April 1941
Henry Street (York street), April 1941
Corvette after air raid, Hardland and Wolff, 4/5th May 1941
International bar, 4/5th May 1941
International bar, Corner York street - Donegal street, 4/5th May 1941 To purchase this photograph as large format canvas or acrylic visit Belfast Telegraph page on www.niphotocanvas.co.uk
Ravenscroft Avenue, Newtownards road, 4/5th May 1941 To purchase this photograph as large format canvas or acrylic visit Belfast Telegraph page on www.niphotocanvas.co.uk
Methodist church, Newtownards road, 4/5th May 1941 To purchase this photograph as large format canvas or acrylic visit Belfast Telegraph page on www.niphotocanvas.co.uk
Tamar and Dee street, 1941 To purchase this photograph as large format canvas or acrylic visit Belfast Telegraph page on www.niphotocanvas.co.uk
Staffordshire regiment, Pettigo border, 8/6/1922 To purchase this photograph as large format canvas or acrylic visit Belfast Telegraph page on www.niphotocanvas.co.uk
Belfast, 12/10/1932 To purchase this photograph as large format canvas or acrylic visit Belfast Telegraph page on www.niphotocanvas.co.uk
York street/Donegal street, Belfast, 31/8/1920 To purchase this photograph as large format canvas or acrylic visit Belfast Telegraph page on www.niphotocanvas.co.uk
Searching for snipers, Little Georges street - York street, Belfast, 30/8/1922, To purchase this photograph as large format canvas or acrylic visit Belfast Telegraph page on www.niphotocanvas.co.uk
Military post, Ormeau road, Belfast 1922 To purchase this photograph as large format canvas or acrylic visit Belfast Telegraph page on www.niphotocanvas.co.uk
Lancia armoured car, Royal Avenue, Belfast, 1922 To purchase this photograph as large format canvas or acrylic visit Belfast Telegraph page on www.niphotocanvas.co.uk
Collecting ammunition, Belfast, 1922 To purchase this photograph as large format canvas or acrylic visit Belfast Telegraph page on www.niphotocanvas.co.uk
Messrs Henry Levy & Sons, York street, Belfast, 3/7/1922 To purchase this photograph as large format canvas or acrylic visit Belfast Telegraph page on www.niphotocanvas.co.uk
Messrs William Campbell, Belfast, 29/5/1922 To purchase this photograph as large format canvas or acrylic visit Belfast Telegraph page on www.niphotocanvas.co.uk
Messrs Dornan & Co, Donegal Quay, Belfast, 19/5/1922 To purchase this photograph as large format canvas or acrylic visit Belfast Telegraph page on www.niphotocanvas.co.uk
Tasmania street, Belfast, May 1922 To purchase this photograph as large format canvas or acrylic visit Belfast Telegraph page on www.niphotocanvas.co.uk
Examining lorry, Balmoral, Belfast, 8/5/1922 To purchase this photograph as large format canvas or acrylic visit Belfast Telegraph page on www.niphotocanvas.co.uk
Cyclist seach, Belfast, 13/3/1922 To purchase this photograph as large format canvas or acrylic visit Belfast Telegraph page on www.niphotocanvas.co.uk
Police and armoured car, corner of Royal Avenue - Kent street, Belfast, 18/2/1922, To purchase this photograph as large format canvas or acrylic visit Belfast Telegraph page on www.niphotocanvas.co.uk
Haslett's school, corner of Cromac street - Raphael street, Belfast 1922, To purchase this photograph as large format canvas or acrylic visit Belfast Telegraph page on www.niphotocanvas.co.uk
Youngs Row, Newtownards road, Belfast 1922 To purchase this photograph as large format canvas or acrylic visit Belfast Telegraph page on www.niphotocanvas.co.uk
Hampshire Regiment after 16 mile march, Ulster border, 1922 To purchase this photograph as large format canvas or acrylic visit Belfast Telegraph page on www.niphotocanvas.co.uk
Abandoned armoured car, Pettigo, 1922 To purchase this photograph as large format canvas or acrylic visit Belfast Telegraph page on www.niphotocanvas.co.uk

Scroll down to view video

"It is Film Footage of a tram ride down Royal Avenue  on 27th May 1901," said Aislinn.

"You can see the base of the Albert Clock at the end of the film, so it must have turned onto High Street by then. 

"You can also see lots of horse-drawn trams, heading to Ormeau Road, and contemporary advertisements for soap.  How graceful Belfast people look in that style of dress."

Life has probably changed more for most people in the past century than in any other.

One in four workers in Belfast was unemployed by 1931 - about 50,000 men and women. Traditional industries like the shipyard and linen mills were feeling the cold wind of modernisation. And although some of the workforce was absorbed by the developing engineering sector - Shorts, Mackies, Sirocco - the dark days of the depression took their toll.

Housing conditions were still appalling, with two or more families often sharing the same two- up, two-down. In deprived areas of north Belfast, there could be 30 people between seven or eight rooms.

Horrifyingly of all, the rates of life expectancy actually dropped, to an average of 57.1 years, and death rates for mums and babies was up to 60% higher than in Britain.

Many diseases were endemic. Tuberculosis, bronchitis, pneumonia and rickets were rife. People didn't know how to eat properly - and couldn't afford to, anyway.

Strangely, the war brought many Ulster people a better way of life than they had ever known before. Rationing meant that at least families had access to the right sorts of foods for good health and growth.

The war effort meant more jobs for men and women, while children brought up in the smog of an industrial city were evacuated to the clean air of the country.

After the Second World War, it was obvious that people would never again accept a life of grinding poverty and early death.

The Labour Government introduced a sweeping programme of health and education reforms and new housing experiments were only decades away.

Life was still very hard, particularly in Belfast and isolated rural areas of the province, where many reforms lagged behind the rest of the United Kingdom.

But the first steps on the road to a brighter future for the ordinary working person had been taken.

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