Architecture Both Old and New in Belfast
In the first century AD, Belfast was a small market town, and although there would have been plenty of structures, none of the buildings from that time have survived. There was a chapel known as the Ford in 1306 where St.George’s church now stands, at the bottom of the high street. Nowadays, most of the oldest buildings still standing in the city date back to the 1600s.
Early Constructions in Belfast
Most of the historic buildings in Belfast were built after the English style, which meant a wooden structure with timbered roof and chimneys. A few buildings, such as the Jacobean castle (which was burned down in 1708) were made from bricks. In the early eighteenth century, the ordinary people of Belfast tended to live in small, thatched shacks or cabins. Architecture began to attain some kind of prominence towards the end of the eighteenth century.
It was during this time that the Exchange and the Assembly Rooms were constructed at the four corners. It was also at this time that the Earl of Belfast brought in legislation governing the standards of properties.
The Late Eighteenth Century
The city saw some major developments towards the end of the eighteenth century. A Presbyterian chapel was erected in 1783, and the White Linen Hall in 1785. These were built on wide streets, in contrast to the back alleys where the ordinary people had their shacks. Other than the most prominent buildings, much of Georgian Belfast has disappeared; major developments across the city began when Victoria was on the throne.
More of the buildings from the Victorian era time are still standing in Belfast, including the building housing the Natural and Philosophical Society in College Square. The Clifton Street Poorhouse, which was actually built in 1774, still survives in that part of the city.
Early Twentieth Century
During the Edwardian era, Belfast was growing into a prosperous industrial city, which produced the Scottish Provident and the Cleaver Buildings, as well as various industrial properties. A good number of buildings erected at this time did not survive the Second World War when Belfast was hit by German bombs.
Modern Day Belfast
Until the nineteen-eighties, when a regeneration programme was introduced to enliven the city, Belfast and its architecture were in decline. It was during this period of regeneration that the Belfast Waterfront Hall and the MacCausland Hotel were built, breathing new life into what had been a beleaguered city. At the same time, the Albert Memorial on Victoria Street was also erected. These days, Belfast continues to thrive as a modern, forward-looking city with the recent addition of the spectacular Titanic Centre dominating the skyline in the east of the city.
Belfast Architecture over the years has always been progressive and moved with the and we fully expect this to continue in the future.