Belfast Telegraph

Victorian splendour of Belfast building is uncovered once again

By Angela Rainey

Eagle-eyed shoppers in Belfast have been able to catch a glimpse of one of the city's most architecturally stunning buildings for the first time in years.

Billed as one of the finest examples of Art Nouveau architecture, Castle Building on Castle Place had been covered up while renovation work took place.

Although it's bottom half remains modestly protected by a steel barrier, a small glimpse of the building's sympathetic face-lift could be viewed from across the street.

Castle Building dates back to 1905 when it was first known as C McCullagh and Co, a silk mercers and milliners store.

According to local historians, it was then extended two years later to reflect the ornate and decadent designs of architecture that was prevalent in the Victorian period.

Tiled with a green and white 'carraraware' facade by famous ceramicists Doulton & Co, the four-storey building also boasts two dragons, Dutch gable and turret.

Over the years the building has housed stores such as Mothercare and Blacks, and a Costa Coffee shop will be installed there after permission was granted in April by Belfast City Council.

Chief executive of Ulster Architectural Heritage Society Nikki McVeigh lauded the unveiling as a "treasure of architectural detail".

"Character of historic buildings and shopfronts can be scarred by unsympathetic alteration or addition to signage," she told the Belfast Telegraph.

"Here an example of original signage, a treasure of architectural detail has been uncovered.

"It would be wonderful to see it remain on show for all to see."

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