Sunday, 21 February 2021

6 College Gardens

College Gardens, Belfast (Timothy Ferres, 2021)

I motored over to Belfast's University Quarter in a sunny February day in 2017.

There were spaces on Elmwood Avenue, so I parked, ambled towards Lisburn Road and turned in to College Gardens, a street which runs from 95 University Road to Lisburn Road.

One entire side of College Gardens comprises Methodist College or "Methody"; the opposite side, terraced town-houses and flats.

I was curious to see number six, because it used to be the home of Field-Marshal Sir John Dill's father.

John Dill was a branch manager in the Ulster Bank; the bank, today, still has a branch on the University Road side of the 1970s block.

It transpires that the said house is long gone and numbers 1 to 6 are now a two-storey block, viz. Queen's University's old Common Room.

The College Gardens side of this block - the ground floor - is now the premises of Deane's at Queen's restaurant.

4-7, College Gardens, Belfast, 1896 (Image: Northern Ireland Historical Photographical Society)

I suppose the original terrace was demolished in the early seventies to make way for the more prosaic block we have today.

Thence I strolled over to the Ulster Museum, where there was an informal talk taking place about the museum's two paintings of "Spring" and "Winter" by Pieter Brueghel the Younger.

Thereafter I continued my amble, along University Road and past Camden Street, where a friendly cat basked in the sunshine.

Anybody who knows me will know that I never pass a cat without greeting it, and this large ginger number was no exception.

Two young women accosted me and inquired if I knew the owner of Ginger (no).

They were concerned that Ginger was alone, taking the benefit of the sun.

One of them spotted that Ginger had a collar with name-tag and phoned the number.

False Alarm!

Ginger was, it would seem, accustomed to spending some time on Camden Street.

First published in February, 2017.

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