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, Wednesday 11th December 1929


Alec, the goose that was such a familiar figure at Cromac Square, Belfast, was killed yesterday by a motor bus.


Miss McAllister, the owner of the bird, wept bitterly when the news was conveyed to her.


"I don't know," she said, "what I shall do without him. I have had him for six years, and it is a great blow to me. As a rule, motor drivers were most careful, and even if Alec got in the way they stopped. His companions are fretting and crying about him and they fully realise their friend has gone."


Northern Whig, Friday 13th December 1929


THE DAY'S DITTY


TO ALEC


(The Cromac Square gander, who was killed by a lorry on Tuesday).


You were a goose, they said,

And yet, now that you're dead,

You leave behind a mem'ry warm and sweet;

So that the Press declare

Alec of Cromac Square,

And folks remember when they walk that street.


'Twas strange that your decease

Came at a time when geese

Were getting it extremely in the neck;

And, though another grace

Our festive Yuletide place,

We still will hear your contemplative quack.


N.B. - How often it was said

Of famous men now dead,

"You are a goose!"


- Ruddick Millar


Larne Times, Saturday 7th December 1929


THE GEESE IN CROMAC SQUARE, BELFAST


We're always making changes

In the streets of old Belfast;

And the young soon grow impatient

With the relics of the past.

Go ahead with new improvements,

Make the city clean and fair,

But, in pity's name I beg you,

Spare the geese in Cromac Square.


Amid the city's bustle

And the sound of hurrying feet,

The grinding of the tramcars

And the traffic on the street.

With a calm, reposeful presence

And a faint, astonished air,

Wondering at our frenzied hustle,

Reign the geese in Cromac Square.


They say a goose is stupid,

But it can't be true of these,

For it's we who dodge the flying cars

While they sit at their ease.

A foolish puppy barks at them

And then repents full sore;

For they act with quick decision

And a nice esprit de corps.


They move like soldiers on parade

In closely serried ranks.

Too mindful of their dignity

To play at silly pranks -

Full worthy of their ancestors

Who heard their country's call.

And, when citizens were sleeping,

Saved the Roman Capitol.


Let poulterers in greed of gold

Be not too rash, I beg,

For one of these may be the goose

That lays the golden egg!

The unromantic turkey's

Quite enough for Christmas fare,

And he's got no claim on history

Like the geese in Cromac Square.


They're friends of all the citizens

Who pass in bus or tram;

We like them every bit as much

As Mary did her lamb.

The passers-by all crane their necks

To see if they're still there;

So here's long life and freedom

To the geese in Cromac Square.


S.


To read more about Alec and the sculpture of him at St George's Market click here.


To find out more about the artist behind the sculpture (Gordon Muir) click here.



Belfast News-Letter, Saturday 8th June 1935


The Lord Mayor of Belfast (Sir Crawford McCullagh) attended the Classic Cinema last night when Miss Eleanor Haslett, of 82, Princetown Road, Bangor, was chosen to represent the Province in the “Miss Great Britain, 1935,” beauty contest.


Sir Crawford, who introduced the winner and congratulated her upon her success, said: “I can only express the hope that you will maintain the reputation that the prettiest girls in the kingdom are found in Belfast.”


Miss Haslett was chosen by the popular vote of patrons of the cinema from 33 contestants, of whom four survived the preliminary judgings: Miss Barbara Stagg, 43, Grenville Gardens, Belfast; Miss Emily Dewes, 22, Virginia Street; Miss Kay Kavanagh, 36, Gamble Street; Miss Eleanor Haslett, 82, Princetown Road, Bangor.


The Winner, who had also been voted “Ulster’s Aquatic Queen” for 1934, was born in Belfast and is employed as saleswoman in Messrs. Normans. With light brown hair, and blue eyes, athletic figure and stately carriage, she is a fitting representative of Ulster’s womanhood, and the decision of the voting was received with enthusiastic applause.


From the hands of the Lord Mayor she received her ticket to London, where “Miss Great Britain” will be selected from fifteen winners of divisional contests. She is, besides, eligible to spend a week at Torquay as the guest of the Torquay Hotel Association, and numerous substantial prizes presented locally are also hers.


Mr. J. C. Macdermot, manager of the Classic, thanked the Lord Mayor for his attendance and wished Miss Haslett a safe crossing and success in the final contest.


To view a display of the prizes for the Miss Northern Ireland Contest at the Classic Cinema in 1935 click here.


To read more about the golden age of film in Belfast click here.


To read more about Sir Crawford McCullagh click here.


Northern Whig, Thursday 22nd July 1926


A most attractive programme has been drawn up for the garden fete arranged by the Lady Mayoress (Lady Turner) in aid of the Queen Alexandra Memorial Fund, to be held at Belfast Castle on Saturday.


Lady Turner is being assisted by a large band of helpers, the Lord Mayor (Sir William Turner) acting as treasurer for the effort, with Sir Frederick Moneypenny as his deputy, and Mrs. Dawson is secretary.


The following ladies will be in charge of stalls: Lady Dixon, Lady Clark, and Mrs. Torrens (fruit and flowers); Mrs. Hume (cakes and sweets), Miss Turner (ice-cream), Lady Campbell (variety), Mrs. Swiney and Mrs. Walter Richardson (baskets), and Mrs. Montague Douglas Scott (fortune telling).


Captain D. Crichton has arranged a splendid series of outdoor sports, including football, bowling at wicket, darts, coconut shy, golf approaching, and a treasure hunt.


Dances will be contributed by Mr. Brown’s clever pupils.


To view a selection of images of Belfast Castle from National Museums NI's website click here.


To read more about the history of Belfast Castle click here.