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02Jan

AB Heritage Visit to Belfast, Christmas 2018

A recent invitation by a client to assess the heritage importance of buildings close to the centre of Belfast was a great opportunity to visit Northern Ireland’s capital city. The Northern Ireland Historic Environment Record is a superb record and completely accessible online!  There is no substitute for attending the local archives however, and The Public Record Office for Northern Ireland (PRONI) was a pleasure to visit.

The main subject of the visit were the surviving Belfast Corporation Gasworks buildings located to the south of the historic core of the city. The gasworks was founded in around 1821 and rebuilt in c. 1887 with several architecturally impressive buildings remaining extant, in particular the Grade A Listed Gas Office building and clocktower.

gasworks office

The historic former Gasworks Offices and clocktower

While investigating the gasworks has allowed me to appreciate the industrial aspects of Belfast’s historic environment, the trip would not have been complete without a visit to The Titanic Centre. The slipways where The Titanic and her sister Ship The Olympic were built are marked with the outline of the two ships.

The Titanic was launched here!

Alex Titanic DockA poignant memorial to the Titanic disaster lies alongside its slipway in the form of grassed and decked areas depicting the ratio of survivors to casualties in various passenger groups. Sadly, though perhaps predictably, it shows how the lower the class the greater the percentage fatalities.  It was the crew, however, who suffered the greatest losses.

Belfast was a real pleasure to visit, albeit briefly. Great architecture, including the City Hall, a lively Christmas Market and stacks of maritime, industrial and cultural heritage. Reminders of the troubles and Northern Ireland’s political heritage are evident as well.

Thanks to the staff at PRONI for all your help

 

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Posted at 12:11

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