Friday, 30 January 2009

Research At Public Record Office In Belfast

I spent an hour carrying out some research in the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI), in Balmoral Avenue, yesterday. Most of my time was actually spent waiting. I sought an old chart of Strangford Lough or, in particular, Salt Island and Gibb's Island.

When I obtained the reference number for a 1932 map (about three feet square), I waited quite patiently for about twenty minutes till it arrived. I really wished for a photocopy of the two islands; however, they were not prepared to do this so the entire chart must be copied at a cost of £5.40. Moreover, it shan't be ready for ten days.

Presuming that the photocopy will be of satisfactory quality, I intend to photocopy the A4 part with the islands thereon; and then offer the large chart to the National Trust at Strangford Lough. It may laminate well.

While I was at PRONI, I took the opportunity to study some old Belfast street directories; and discovered that the very first entry for the Golden Crumb home bakery, 53, Belmont Church Road, Belfast, was in 1948. The entry states: " K H Murdock, Bakery".

Striding back to the two-seater which I had parked across the road, at Shrewsbury Gardens, I motored on to Boucher Road, where Fulton's Hawthorn Restaurant is located. I had a lasagne, salad and coleslaw meal with their sublime mustardy dressing and, en route, nodded at the regular pianist there who now recognizes me. I didn't have to queue today since I was so early.

On Thursday evening I attended a BBC concert at the Assembly Building in Fisherwick Place, Belfast. It was a good concert, practically full. The theme was Schubert, and I had a good seat ten feet away from the pianist. The Ulster Orchestra's Steinway concert grand piano is starting to show its age (perhaps none the worse for that, tonally) : little pieces of the ebony wood have chipped off, probably in transit to various venues. Could some benefactor not treat them to a brand new, top-of-the-range one? Fat chance, I suppose.

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