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. 

Northern Whig, Friday 22nd May 1925


The ladies’ football teams representing Femina Sports Club, Paris, and Dick Kerr’s, Preston will arrive in Belfast this morning, and will be received by the Right Hon. the Lord Mayor (Sir William Turner) and Sir Robert Baird. During their short stay in the city they will visit several places of interest, and this afternoon will be the guests of Mr. H. L. Garrett, at Dunville’s, Arthur Street.


As already announced in these columns the teams are to play a match in aid of several hospitals at Windsor Park, Belfast, tomorrow, and there is sure to be a very large attendance to give the visitors a hearty welcome and at the same time augment the funds of our most useful institutions. Mrs. Walter Scott and those associated with her have left no stone unturned to make the match a success, and everything now rests with the citizens.


Femina Sports Club has over 1,000 playing members, and have a section in their magnificently equipped ground in Paris for different kinds of sport. They are the champions of France. Mdlle. Carmen Pomies, the centre-half and captain of the team, speaks English fluently as well as several other languages, and is a qualified shorthand typist, both in French and English. Eight of the team or engaged in offices in Paris, two are in the Galleries Lafayette, one is a milliner, and another is a chemist. The English team was formed in October, 1917, and since then have taken part in 138 matches, having won 123, lost 8 and drawn 7. They have been instrumental in raising over £70,000 on behalf of various charities and deserving objects.


Articles and websites of note:


Carmen Pomies: Football Francais Feminin


The Incredible Life of a French Footballer

Dick, Kerr Ladies


Celebrating Dick, Kerr Ladies and their incredible Boxing Day achievement 100 years on


Dick, Kerr Ladies: 'Best ever' women's football team honoured


Last stand: Looking back at the history of Windsor Park


Northern Whig, Friday 17 June 1927


Gliding silently and swiftly down the greased slipway, the new White Star liner Laurentic was launched from the Belfast yard of Messrs. Harland & Wolff, Ltd., yesterday morning.


A large number of visitors saw the huge hull take the water during a heavy downpour of rain. The launch took place without any fuss. There was an air of hushed interest over the sightseers as the towering mass of riveted steel plates dipped gracefully into the water. The launch successfully completed, cheers were raised by the crowd of workmen who had gathered at the end of the slipway.


The launching looked so exceedingly simple in execution that it tended to obscure the fact that the highest engineering skill was required to carry out the operation so successfully. No sooner had the Laurentic tasted sea water than she was taken into custody by four tugs and towed to the 150-ton harbour crane.


There was no breaking of a bottle of champagne on the side of the ship at the moment of moving. In fact, the Laurentic started to stir before some of the onlookers had realised it.


The honour of pulling the lever which released the ship from the slips fell to Mr. J. Gillespie, foreman shipwright.


THE TONNAGE AND SPEED


The Laurentic has a gross tonnage of 18,700, and a sea speed of 16 ½ knots, and with the Albertic, already in commission, the White Star Line will possess the two largest cabin steamers on the St. Lawrence route to Canada. The new boat will have accommodation for 1,600 passengers – cabin, tourist third cabin, and third class.


It is anticipated that she will be in commission next November, and in 1928 she will be associated with the Albertic, Calgaric, Doric, Regina, and Megantie in maintaining the Company’s weekly sailings from the Mersey to Canada. Before entering the Canadian service the Laurentic will engage in winter cruises.


It is claimed that the comforts provided for passengers on the Laurentic will be unsurpassed by any steamer of its class afloat. From the Louis Seize dining saloon, which will seat 310 passengers, the cabin passengers may pass to the lounge – a reproduction of Italian renaissance work – or to the Empire drawing-room, or to the oak-panelled smoking-room, designed on Jacobean lines. There is also a parquet floor for dancing in the lounge, and a card room.


The cabin staterooms have been designed on spacious and well-appointed lines, while amidship there will be suites, including bedroom, sitting room, and private bathroom.


DEMOCRATIC TRAVEL


Bearing in mind the growing popularity of democratic travel, which has brought Transatlantic crossing within the means of many who have hitherto been unable to entertain it as a possible holiday, the builders of the Laurentic have provided excellent accommodation for the increasing volume of tourist third-class passengers. The greatest care will be taken to provide suitable amenities for travellers in this class, and the advanced requirements of the ordinary third-class passenger will receive equal attention. In additional to the well-furnished and airy staterooms for four and six persons, there will be a number of two-berth rooms, fitted with hot and cold water, available for married couples and friends desirous of being berthed together. The numerous public rooms will include three dining-rooms, ladies’ room, lounge, general room, two smoking-rooms, and a children’s room. There will also be a barber’s saloon. Extensive promenade decks will be a feature of each class, and there are also a gymnasium and a children’s playground.


HANDLING OF CARGO


The Laurentic will be fitted with the latest appliances for the swift and efficient handling of cargo, and will have an unusually large capacity for refrigerated cargo of all kinds at varying temperatures. In addition to the wireless installation, the Laurentic will be fitted with a wireless direction finder, which is of great assistance to the navigation of the ship during foggy weather; a submarine signalling apparatus; a non-magnetic semaphore installation with a Morse lamp on top, and the latest Gyro compass.


The new ship should prove a useful factor in the increasing trade between this country and Canada, as well as a valuable addition to the White Star Line fleet.

Among those who witnesses the launching were: - Viscountess Pirrie and her sister, Miss Carlisle, Mr. W. J. Willet-Bruce (supt. engineer), and Mr. D. Galloway (resident supervisor of construction), representing the White Star Line, and directors and officials of Messrs. Harland & Wolff, Ltd.


This is the second Laurentic built by Messrs. Harland & Wolff. The first, of 14,400 tons, was sunk by a German submarine off the Donegal coast during the war, while carrying some millions in bullion to America. The salvage operations, successfully carried out by divers, made a thrilling story.


To find out more about shipbuilding in Belfast, click here.


Browse the Harland & Wolff Collection on National Museums NI's website.


Browse the Paul Louden-Brown White Star Line Collection on National Museums NI's website.


  • Belfast Between The Wars

Updated: Jan 14

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.