Friday, 1 July 2016

The Ulster Club

The Ulster Club occupied premises at 23 Castle Place in central Belfast.

The three-storey building, designed by Sir Charles Lanyon, stood in a commanding position across the junction from the Bank Buildings.

It was built in the Regency style, stuccoed, with a cast-iron balcony attached to a bow-fronted central bay.

The Club-house was built about 1863, though swept away for Calvert House (1983-4), a four-storey glass structure, in 1981.

I recall the Ulster Club, which was derelict and ruinous, at the height of "the Troubles", before it was demolished.

Presumably the 5th Earl of Enniskillen was staying in the club when he received the calamitous news that his ancestral seat in County Fermanagh, Florence Court, was on fire.

Lady Enniskillen telephoned him at the club and he was said to have retorted, "what the hell do you expect me to do?", or words to that effect.

The Club sold its premises at Castle Place in the late 1960s and leased one floor of River House, in High Street.

It merged with the equally celebrated Ulster Reform Club in 1982.

First published in July, 2014.

1 comment :

Anonymous said...

A schoolfriend and I sneaked into the derelict Ulster Club days before its demolition. It was an eerie sight. The floors were heaped with debris and pigeon droppings and the occasional bird flapped around in the gloom. What light there was I think came down from the skylight above the stairwell. While we were there a well-known local architectural historian arrived to make his own final farewell. He didn't seem surprised that we were there but told us to "have a good look round because it's the last chance you'll have." I recall that we came across sodden plaster decorative details fallen intact from the cornices.