Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Postcards Of Belfast (Early 1900s)

I've found that the postcard posts have thus far been my most popular so here's a selection of postcards depicting Edwardian Belfast. They show the city's oft-lauded industrial might, its grand architecture, its commerce, and scenic spots. These postcards bring to mind the fascinating photographs in the book Made In Belfast by Trevor Parkhill and Vivienne Pollock which describes the industrial and commercial vibrancy of Belfast at the time. I found the book somewhat of a revelation. I had been so used to seeing Ireland at the time, north and south, depicted as agrarian, bucolic or just plain primitive.

This post card shows Belfast Castle looking slightly eerie.
This grand looking building, completed in 1906, was the home of Belfast Tech, aka the Black Man Tech, until 2011. If you'd like to find out more about this educational institution here's a documentary I found that goes into its history.

I have no idea if the charming looking building still stands, perhaps a local reader can enlighten me, but I can safely say that the people enjoying themselves in the boat are long gone unless one of them happens to be Highlander.

This colourful postcard shows the Palm House in Belfast's lovely Botanic Gardens. It looks pretty much the same today, social media notwithstanding.

Belfast City Hall took 8 years to construct and was completed in 1906. It's a beautiful building and to this day serves as a fantastic focal point for Belfast. When I sat outside it a few years ago eating lunch a man offered to sell me a volume of Marvel comics that he produced from under his shirt.
Harland and Wolff's famous shipyards, what can I say that hasn't already been said? They're still a point of pride amongst many in Belfast. At the time depicted they were a if not the major employer in Belfast. Its most famous ship was of course the Titanic, which some contemporary visitors to Belfast expect to see there. Thankfully now their disappointment can be allayed by the recently constructed Titanic Museum. Other famous ships to come from the yards include the Titanic's sister ship, the Olympic, and the HMS Belfast which under the pretense of being a museum ship protects London from Cybermen and Daleks.

High Street, Belfast, with Belfast's answer to Big Ben or the Leaning Tower Of Pisa, the Albert Memorial Clock, in the background.

Queen's University in 1910. I can't think of anything else to write other than my dad attended the university roughly 50 years later and he and his pals used to congregate in the Student Union in order to huddle around a television to watch the Flintstones.
 Queen's Bridge around 1900 showing some of  the city's industrial activity at the time.
This postcard shows Belfast's main shopping thoroughfare, Royal Avenue. All the shops shown are now KFCs, McDonald's and Carroll's tricolour inflatable hammer dealers. The trams are in tram heaven.
Shaw's Bridge still stands, although it has long since been superceded by a snazzier more modern affair nearby. Here's the bridge from another angle.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for these! I wonder if that Boathouse on the Lagan is near Cutters Wharf on Lockview Road in Stranmillis?