The Orderly was a member of the Belfast Charitable Society and the committee which ran Belfast Poor House. They were appointed each week as an unpaid Superintendent to check and report back on every element of the house. They attended the infirmary, the house, the school and kitchen and made the decisions on the everyday running of the Poor House. They would give permission for people to leave the house and would also be the person who would adjudicate on whether a person was allowed additional allowances for work they had completed. The Orderly took great pride in his work, and many of them fulfilled the role of Orderly for many years. In later years the “Orderly Book” became known as the, “Day Book” where all of the information of the residents of the Clifton Nursing Home were recorded.
I have just completed the cataloging of the Orderly Books as part of the archive project here at the Belfast Charitable Society. We have a virtually unbroken run of these records from 1775. They provide almost 20,000 pages of information, an enormous resource and insight into the running of the Poor House and the challenges faced by the Orderly.