Welcome to Belfast Between The Wars, a blog showcasing a range of interesting stories written in and about Belfast between the end of the First World War in 1918 and the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939. 

  • Belfast Between The Wars

Belfast Telegraph, Friday 24th October 1924


The story of a policeman’s visit with a Belfast publican to the Albert Clock to test the accuracy of a constable’s timepiece was told in the City Summons Court this afternoon when John Campbell, Annette Street (East Bridge Street), was prosecuted for a breach of the Licensing Act on 23rd September. The Court, while holding that the case had been proved, allowed the defendant off, cautioning him to be more careful in future.


Constable Jackson told the Bench of finding the defendant’s public-house open at 9-51 a.m. on 23rd September.


Mr. Donnelly – The case is a question of minutes.


The witness said he found four men inside. He did not see the shop being opened and he did not see the men enter it.


In reply to Mr. Donnelly, witness said he pulled out his watch when he entered and directed the defendant’s attention to the time. Mr. Campbell and he went to the Albert Clock to test the accuracy of his watch. He then discovered his watch a minute slow.


Mr. Toppin, R.M. – What time was it by the Albert Clock?


Witness – Five minutes past ten.


Mr. Donnelly – Do you remember the song, “If you want to know the time ask a policeman?” (Laughter.)


To find out more about the history of the Albert Clock and how it was saved from toppling over click here.


To find out more about the song, 'If You Want to Know the Time Ask a Policeman' click here.


To listen to the first verse and chorus of the song click here (from 1 minute 30 seconds).


You can view images of the Albert Clock on National Museums NI's website.



  • Belfast Between The Wars

Northern Whig, Monday 23rd April 1928


Paris is undoubtedly the world’s centre of fashion, and garments created by its designers are worn by leading Society women all over the British Isles, America, and the Continent. To offer the women of Ulster a wide choice of those garments which are worn by the smartest people, a party of Anderson & McAuley Fashion Buyers earlier in the Spring visited Paris and the Riviera, and the purchases that they made have only just arrived.


The French Model Hats are marked by a subtle simplicity and a gracefulness of outline. One chic model is of natural colour Balibuntal, edged with Black and trimmed with Black Petersham ribbon. A smart steel dagger finishes the hat. Another model is of Blue Bakou Straw, with floral Crepe-de-Chine binding and new scarf trimming. This is priced at 3 ½ Gns. A Suzel Model, priced at 69/6, is of natural colour straw, with Black cire leaves and ribbon. A Pandan Hat, in the ever-popular Black, is given a lighter tone by a silver bird. This hat has the new bandeau fitting with a becoming cut-away front, and is very moderately priced at 39/6. One of the most beautiful hats is in Black Balibuntal, with gracefully rolled back, and the entire hat is fashioned on exceptionally charming lines.


The Dress Materials have been carefully chosen as indicative of Fashion’s latest trend. The new Embroidered Voiles, in a range of colourings that includes Spring Green, Coral, Beige, Lido, Gold, and Black, are admirable for Summer frocks. This fabric is 46 inches wide, so that the width of the material is the length of the dress. Price, 10/11 per yard. Another Embroidered Voile in dainty colourings is priced at 4/11 ½ per yard.


Kerachi Cloth, for frocks and jumpers, is a most effective all-Wool material, with tinsel stripe, priced at 18/11. This fabric is absolutely new and would make up charmingly. Another variation of the same material, at 16/11, is composed of broad tinsel and plain stripes. A distinctive striped material, exquisitely soft to the touch, is a camel-hair fabric, admirable for summer coats. This material in 10/11 per yard, and can be had in a range of neutral shades to tone with any frock. There is also a variety of other French goods, including silken fabrics and painted Crepe-de-Chines.


In the Kiddies’ Department there are some exceptionally dainty sets, consisting of Frocks and Bonnets to match, in embroidered muslins. Sets from 19/11. These are trimmed with contrasting shades and are washable. In 16in. and 18in. lengths only. There are also some smart little Hand-made Coats, cut in the French style and made by the famous Italian House of Lenci. Sets, complete with pretty hats to match, from 3 ½ Gns.


Find out more about the history of Anderson & McAuley here.


Belfast Telegraph, Friday 24th May 1929


The Dispensary for Sick Animals of the Poor, Tyrone Yard, Hamilton Street, Belfast, which from this month has been placed in the hands of the Belfast Branch of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, was open to public inspection on Thursday.


Sir Wm. Coates (Lord Mayor) visited the dispensary, congratulated the staff on their work, and expressed his approval of the premises which are clean and spacious.


The dispensary has been open for a period of two years, during which a very humane and necessary work has been carried on in a quiet, informal way. Recently, however, developments have been made towards bringing the equipment, etc., up-to-date, and with more facilities at their disposal the veterinary surgeons are now able to meet all demands on their skill. All types of animals are among the patients – dogs, cats, goats, horses, cows, rabbits etc. There is even space allotted to bird patients. “We look after anything from canary to elephant,” remarked an official, laughingly, to a “Telegraph” representative.


THE SOCIETY’S AIM


Unfortunately the dispensary is at present open only on one day per week. The society aims, however, through time, at emulating other large cities and having the doors open to admit suffering animals night and day. Lack of funds is the only obstacle which prevents that ideal from becoming a reality.


The dispensary is the only one in Belfast where free treatment is given to animals of the poor. Even a twenty minutes’ visit to the premises is sufficient to show how great is the necessity for such an institution, and how much it is appreciated. Nearly 1,000 animals have been treated since inauguration. Capt. James Gregg, M.R.C.V.S., O.B.E., J.P., is the veterinary surgeon in attendance and is assisted by Capt. Ernest Higginson.

Among the members of committee who were present were Mrs. McVeigh, superintendent; Mrs. Morris Neill, hon. sec.; Miss Helen McConnell (chairman), and Miss E. Tedford, superintendent of the shelter portion of the work. Miss Walkington is president.


In Mr. T. J. Grimley, keeper of the animals, the “patients” and “lodger” at the shelter have a friend who appreciates them, and whom they appreciate. One “stray”, a fox terrier known as “Beauty”, is so attached to her master and to Hamilton Yard that on three occasions when a home has been found for her she has returned to the yard and pleaded for admittance.


A VALUABLE DEPARTMENT


A Shelter Department is a valuable one, and the society have given much assistance to the police in housing “stray” lost and neglected dogs. By Act of Parliament the home may not destroy an animal unless it has not been claimed after seven days. At Hamilton Yard, however, homeless or orphan dogs or cats are housed for sometimes six or seven seeks in the hope that an owner may be found. Where possible a home is found for a healthy animal. Sometimes it is difficult. For instance, a very attractive black doggie is at present waiting an owner. His last venture as a domestic pet was unsuccessful because he destroyed twenty-five of his mistress’s hens. He has promised, however, to be a better dog next time!


Our representative was favourably impressed by the painless methods of destroying unwanted animals, which are practiced at the lethal chambers attached to the dispensary. Small animals are chloroformed by the most humane method known, and a quick mechanical killer is used for the larger animals.


Find out more about the history of the USPCA here.


There are some beautiful late Georgian terraced houses on Hamilton Street. Discover more about their restoration here.


Find out more about the history of the houses here by searching for ‘Hamilton Street’.