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Caption for Belfast, The Harbour Office 1897: Belfast had a very effective body managing and improving its harbour long before it had a council able to provide roads, drainage and oversee housing. This was the office of the Harbour Commissioners, a body of senior ship owners, shippers and merchants; they did away with the small docks to provide spaces now occupied by Queens, Albert and Corporation Squares. They established the basis of the present harbour. A major task was the cutting of the Victoria Channel to give a straight passage from Queens Bridge to the Lough. The work left an island where they built a slip, which was soon to be managed by J E Harland. In 1897 the commissioners were landlords to a yard employing nearly 9,000 on the County Down side. The astonishing trade of Belfast, and the charges on ships and goods, provided all the money required and some to spare. The non-profit-making commissioners built these handsome offices. Well furnished, with marble busts and the walls hung with pictures, the decor would have become a London gentlemen's club. They designed a uniform for formal occasions: frock coats, white waistcoats and fancy buttons with gilt anchors. Not all was harmony, however; there were battles to be fought with their shipbuilding tenant across the river.

An extract from Belfast Photographic Memories.

Memories of Belfast

I was lucky in that I lived in an area that was not often touched by the violence that was going on in Northern Ireland at the time, but a telephone conversation with my mum in recent days brought back memories of life in Belfast when 'the troubles' were in full swing. She had just heard the news of the recent (...Read full memory)

My cousin and I lived at the top of the Oldpark Road, near Ballysillan, in the mid-1950's and every Saturday morning during our tenth and eleventh years, we would catch the bus into town, walk around the City Hall and down to swim at the Ormeau Baths. After we had our permitted 30 minutes, we would walk back to a cafe (...Read full memory)

back in the years 1947 /1950 ,my grand mother and I would spend a day at Hazelwood ,if I recall correctly by the steps they had a little carnival ,then we would make our way to the Floral hall ,which in those days had a silver tea room ,whiter than white table cloths ,the waitress,s dressed in black with white (...Read full memory)

After school - Belfast Royal Academy - a liitle gang of us would take the bus down to Royal Avenue and head for the Lombard restaurant in Lombard Street. It was a very comfortable, spacious place, founded by the Ulster Temperance Society and open evenings too, where you could sit as long as you liked, with waitress (...Read full memory)

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