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, Friday 27th May 1927

A dog, which by some extraordinary means, got on to the roof of Messrs. Woolworth's yesterday, was the cause of much trouble before it was rescued. Mr. Cooper, the manager, made the first attempt, then Constable R. W. Hall climbed to the roof and managed to get a collar and chain round its neck, but the poor animal refused to budge.

It seemed there would be no option but to shoot it, and this was suggested, but Constable Hall first decided to send to the Toiling Animals Committee Rooms in High Street. By the aid of roof ladders it was found possible for a member of the committee to get close to the dog. He was able to remove the collar and chain, and by extreme patience and kindness so to gain the animal's confidence that it allowed him to carry it to safety.

To read more about Woolworths in Belfast click here and here.

Belfast News-Letter, Saturday 31st July 1937

In weather just appropriate for an iced milk drink the New Milk Bar at 16, Great Victoria Street, Belfast, was opened to the public yesterday.

Situated almost opposite the Hippodrome, and convenient to the Great Northern Railway Station, the Grand Opera House, and the Ritz, the new establishment will be a popular resort in this part of the city. It is the second one-hundred-per-cent. milk bar in Belfast, and has all the latest equipment and fittings necessary for the supply of milk shakes, hot milk soups, fruit cocktails, and ice cream. Morning tea and coffee and snacks are also obtainable.

Dr. C. S. Thomson, Superintendent Medical Officer of Health, visited the New Milk Bar yesterday, shortly after noon, and sampled the first glass of the tasty products served to the public. He wished the establishment every success, and expressed the hope that he would soon see more milk bars set up in the city.

The bar itself is decorated in an effective way, the colour scheme of the walls being blue in different tones. The wall-covering is of a new washable material, easy to keep perfectly clean and spotless. The staff of charming waitresses are attired in blue check dresses which admirably match the colour scheme of the place. Illumination is provided by a modern system of lighting. As well as the bar with its stools there are neat oak tables and chairs.

On the wall is a large painting by a young Belfast artist, Maurice C. Wilks. It depicts contented cows grazing in a scene of rural beauty and peacefulness.

The bar will be open from 9 a.m. till 11 p.m. daily, but will be closed on Sundays.


The main contractors for the building of the New Milk Bar were Messrs. W. J. Hynds & Son, builders and contractors, 1a, Chadwick Street, Belfast. They have every reason to be proud of this, their latest job, for the whole appearance of the establishment is distinctly pleasing to the eye. A modern polished frontage sets off the new premises admirably, and will be sure to attract the passers-by. The best materials have been used and put into position by highly-qualified craftsmen.


It is appropriate that a milk bar should carry its amenities to the extent of choosing the specially hygienic flooring, which has been laid by "Granwood" Flooring Company (local agent, Mr. W. R. Johnstone, 153, North Street, Belfast). This firm has been responsible for the floors of more than 1,000 schools, as well as hundreds of churches and other types of building where hygienic qualifications are important. "Granwood" floors are damp-proof, and have many other qualities to commend them.


Marco Refrigerators, Ltd., have been responsible, through the sole distributors for Northern Ireland, Patterson, of Bridge Street, for all the refrigeration equipment, and its installation. These refrigerators are British throughout, and the freshness and purity of all the ingredients are assured. Any Ulster home may have the same expert service from the local distributors, and the engineers will fit farms and business houses with equal facility. The present spell of really warm weather emphasises the need for such equipment, and advice should be obtained immediately on the subject from Pattersons.


All the ice-cream served in the New Milk Bar is supplied by Ulster Creameries Ltd., 134, Castlereagh Street, Belfast, specialists in the provision of the highest quality of this commodity. It is made under hygienic conditions in a modernly-equipped creamery registered by the Ministry of Agriculture. Only the best Ulster milk and cream are used, and the ingredients are blended to provide a perfectly balanced food. The creamery has a capacity of 1,000 gallons of ice-cream daily, and customers are provided with electrical storage cabinets, in which the ice-cream is kept in perfect condition till it reaches the consumer.


All the milk, cream, butter and eggs in the New Milk Bar are being supplied by Dobson's Dairy, Beersbridge Road, Belfast. This is in keeping with the proprietor's stipulations that all the ingredients in their drinks should be of the highest quality. Rigorous standards are observed with regard to freshness and purity. This firm is one of the largest and most reputable in Ireland and has a hygienic dairy, with regular scrutiny for anything which might impair the reputation for quality enjoyed by Dobson's Dairy.


One of the most noticeable and yet unobtrusive features of the decorations in the system of illumination by means of architectural lighting tubes. This method of lighting fits in with the colour scheme in a tasteful manner. It can be used in business premises, cafes, cinemas, and private houses, in each case being adapted to suit the surroundings. The light from the tubes is restful and never irritates the eyes.

To view a selection of images of milk bars in Belfast from the 1930s click here.

To read more about the artist Maurice Canning Wicks click here.

  • Belfast Between The Wars

Northern Whig, Wednesday 1st December 1926

Some excitement was caused in High Street, Belfast, last night when a force of policemen were seen at the rear of the jewellery premises Messrs. R. McDowell & Co., Ltd., endeavouring apparently to find an entrance. People began to gather rapidly, and before long High Street was clicked with a crowd, among whom all kinds of amazing rumours of thieves and cat-burglars were set a'going.

The "thieves," however, turned out to be five girl clerks employed in an office situated behind Messrs. McDowell's shop. At six o'clock the office was locked up with the young ladies inside. It was nine o'clock before they attracted attention outside, and the police were informed. Despite the efforts of the police the door remained shut, and a young man volunteered to go through a window and try to get the door opened from the inside. He got inside, but found he could not open the door.

The police got in touch with Mr. R. McDowell, who came down and opened the door, freeing the young ladies after nearly four hours' imprisonment.

To view a photograph of McDowell's Jewellers in 1933 click here.