Belfast has been served by a number of graveyards over the years- in the early days the main cemetery was that at the Corporation Church, the site now occupied by St George’s Church on High Street. Friar’s Bush and Shankill Burying Grounds also served as the final resting places of the citizens of Belfast and the surrounding area. In 1797, due to pressures arising from the burial of dead from the Poor House, the Belfast Charitable Society decided to open the ‘New Burying Ground’, today known as Clifton Street Cemetery.
A special section was set aside in this new graveyard for the burial of the Poor House dead. In 1882 the Poor House became an old people’s home, and by 1892 the Poor House division in Clifton Street Cemetery was full. The Belfast Charitable Institution, as the old people’s home was known, then purchased 59 plots in Belfast City Cemetery. Today this plot contains the remains of 232 individuals who were residents at Clifton House.
The first burial in the Belfast Charitable Society’s plot in City Cemetery was Ann Ferron who died 18 October 1892. The last burial was of John McAfee, who died on 15 November 1930. The Belfast Charitable Society subsequently purchased a new plot in Section J3. The Belfast Charitable Society’s plot is marked by a simple obelisk monument to those who lived out their days in our care.
This month marks the 150th anniversary of the opening of City Cemetery, with major refurbishment works set to begin at the site. Please check out Belfast City Council’s website for more information. Belfast Charitable Society offer tours of Clifton Street Cemetery. Please contact us for more details.