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

Northern Whig, Thursday 3rd January 1929


An exciting episode in Valentine Street was described at Belfast Custody Court yesterday, when William John Collins, of Valentine Street, was charged with assaulting Hugh Thompson in the view of the police, and charges of being drunk and disorderly and assaulting a constable were brought against Edward Moore, of Moffatt Street.


Constable Hall said Collins was arrested for striking Thompson, when Moore came up and, after remarking that Collins was his chum, struck witness on the face. A hostile crowd gathered, and prisoners were so violent that reinforcements were needed from Henry Street to effect the arrests. Witness later had his wounds dressed at the Mater Hospital.


Moore was fined 20s and 40s on the charges against him, and Collins was fined 20s for assaulting Thompson and 40s for assaulting the constable.


  • Belfast Between The Wars

Belfast News-Letter, Saturday 16th February 1929


A warm, softly-lighted, and yet well-ventilated room, set with flower-decorated tea tables, the hum of voices, the aroma of Eastern cigarettes, and, in the centre floor, swaying figures dancing to infectious music. Does not such a picture suggest the acme of comfort on a freezing afternoon?


Perhaps this is one of the reasons why the weekly dance tea in the Carlton always proves so attractive. The hall, as well as being one of the best dance halls outside London, is always the embodiment of cosiness. Yesterday afternoon every table was booked considerably beforehand, in spite of the fact that there were many other attractions. Among those present were Mrs. St. Clair Boyd. She was accompanied by her son and daughter, and a party from “The Desert Song”, at present being presented at the Grand Opera House. It included Mr. Sanders Warren and other principals.


The feature of the programme was the appearance of Miss Florence McMurray and Mr. Robt. Vance in ballroom dances. Miss McMurray is a Belfast lady well-known in dancing circles here. But she is not a professional dancer in the strict sense of the word, for she took up the art simply for pure love of it and with no idea whatsoever of making it her profession. It has been to her rather an “outside line” and she has not studied under famous professors as those who are taking it up seriously are in the habit of doing. Miss McMurray is best described as an amateur-professional. Mr. Vance comes from Dublin. He, too, is a young dancer who has only taken up the work professionally very recently.


Miss McMurray wore a frock of wine-toned georgette, and she and her partner were accorded an enthusiastic reception. Their numbers included the waltz, slow foxtrot, and quickstep. They certainly demonstrated admirably what can be achieved simply by a great love for the work and incessant practice. At the close of the demonstration the applause was so vociferous that they responded with another dance.


View images of the Carlton Café and Restaurant on National Museums NI's website.


Belfast News-Letter, Monday 21st December 1936


Residents of Servia Street, off Albert Street, Belfast, were rushed from their houses in the early hours of yesterday morning during a serious fire which broke out in an adjoining building where fourteen horses were stabled.


The outbreak, which destroyed £150 worth of band instruments and uniforms in a room over the stables, was fanned by a strong wind and in a short time the flames were lapping the walls of the neighbouring dwellings from which the police ushered tenants to safety, while the work of rescuing the terrified horses was carried on under most trying conditions.


The alarm was raised at 4-50 a.m. by a man named Adams, of Verner Street, and Head-Constable Rice and Constables Gregg and Baxter were quickly on the scene to assist the many volunteers in removing the entrapped animals. Dense smoke added to the difficulties and when the gateway leading to the stables was forced open two carts were found blocking the passage.


ANIMALS PANIC-STRICKEN


Flying sparks and crackling timbers terrified the horses, which were reached when the brigade arrived, and no time was lost in leading the animals from the danger zone.


The brigade succeeded in preventing the outbreak affecting the houses nearby and managed to save the lower portion of the affected premises, the upper portion of which was completely gutted. An egg store nearby suffered some slight damage. The horses which were all removed without mishap, belonged to Hughes Brothers, a local firm of hauliers.


To find out more about the various roles horses played in people's lives in the past click here.


View images of the Fire Brigade on National Museums NI's website.