Please note, with restrictions currently in place this event may be cancelled or postponed; or its venue may be temporarily closed to the public. Check with the event organiser or venue for most up-to-date information.


These virtual Friday talks will explore the multifaceted history of the Poor House, its Board and the residents who sought sanctuary within its walls, will run every Friday at 1pm until Friday 28 May 2021. Covering a range of subjects from Belfast and the Slave Trade;  The Medical History of the Poor House; Lesser Spotted Graves of Clifton Street Cemetery; Industrial Philanthropists to name just a few.

The full list of talks are:

Friday 23 April - Belfast and the Slave Trade.
This talk will examine Belfast and its ties to slavery, from those who owned Plantations and enslaved people, to the West Indian merchants who benefited from what Henry Joy termed “the infamous traffic in the flesh and bone of man”. It will also cover the abolitionist movement and those who dedicated their lives to the abolition of slavery.

Friday 30 April - Doctors & Disease: The Medical History of the Poor House.
Explore the medical history of the Poor House as recorded in our archives, from the different medical establishments we supported, to the patients and the doctors who treated them. The talk will examine the Poor House response to the epidemics of the 19th century and will include the biographies of key medical professionals associated with Clifton House, from Dr William Drennan, through to the 1798 American exile Dr White and the Purdon medical dynasty.

Friday 7 May - Lesser Spotted Graves of Clifton Street Cemetery.
Many of you will know about the key figures of Belfast who are buried in Clifton Street Cemetery including the activist, abolitionist and reformer, Mary Ann McCracken, and the founder of the United Irishmen, Dr William Drennan. However, this talk will delve into the burial registers of Clifton Street Cemetery to explore the equally fascinating lives of the ‘lesser spotted graves’ of Clifton Street Cemetery including a French prisoner of war turned barber!

Friday 14 May - The Bigger Family Picture: From 1798 to Partition.
The Bigger family of Mallusk and Belfast have a long association with both Belfast Charitable Society and North Belfast. Explore this remarkable family through some of its most interesting personalities including the noted antiquarian Francis Joseph Bigger.

Friday 21 May - The Chichester Family: Lords of Belfast.
The Chichester family laid the foundations for what would become Belfast City, owning it and the surrounding land for 250 years- a unique situation on the island of Ireland. The family’s influence, both positive and negative, helped to shape the development of the town, and many streets still retain their names today. For 190 of the 246 years that Clifton House has been operating, Chichester descendants have acted as Presidents of the Belfast Charitable Society. This fascinating talk will reveal their long and colourful dynasty.

Friday 28 May - Industrial Philanthropists: The Barbour Family of Lisburn.
Explore the fascinating history of the Barbour Family of Lisburn, founders of Barbour Threads at Hilden. The Barbour family were not only industrialists but philanthropists, supporting their workforce and the local community. This talk will touch of the development of the mill and the impact of the family on Lisburn and beyond, as well as how the family are still helping to tackle disadvantage in partnership with Belfast Charitable Society today.

These virtual talks will take via Zoom. On purchasing a ticket, a Zoom ID will be emailed to you on the morning of the event. For further information, email

Fri, 21 May 2021 1:00 - 2:00pm
Fri, 28 May 2021 1:00 - 2:00pm

Clifton House Belfast

  • 2 North Queen Street
  • Belfast
  • Antrim
  • BT15 1EQ

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Clifton House Belfast

Upcoming events at Clifton House Belfast

Clifton House Online Talk Series
Clifton House Online Talk Series
History And Heritage

Clifton House Online Talk Series

1.21 KM
14 - 28 May 2021

Virtual Friday talks exploring the multifaceted history of the Poor House, its Board and the residents who sought…

Find Out More
Mary Ann McCracken 250
Mary Ann McCracken 250
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Mary Ann McCracken 250

10 Jun - 09 Jul 2021

To mark 250 years since her birth, the Mary Ann McCracken Foundation, established by Belfast Charitable Society, has…

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