Monday, 16 August 2021

62-68 High Street, Belfast

62-68 High Street, Belfast, is a four-storey painted terracotta and red-brick building with dormers and turrets, by the architect William Batt for The National Bank.

Construction began in 1893 and the building was completed in 1897.

Marcus Patton OBE, in his Central Belfast: A Historical Gazetteer, describes it thus:
Terracotta arabesques of centaurs with cornucopias swirl at the foot of the wineglass stem bases of the two-storey canted oriels rising above the main dentilled cornice to become octagonal turrets with fishscale roofs flanking a central dormer, with smaller dormers on the face of the mansard roof behind.

Built in "a kind of Franco-Flemish Renaissance style" of steel and fire-proof concrete, it originally had an interior of some grandeur, and before it was clad over [1980s], the ground floor had a balcony over the central window, with broken pediments over grand side entrances.

...the strength of the concrete was proved when the building survived the 1941 blitz intact, unlike most of its neighbours.
The National Bank operated from the building until absorption by the Bank of Ireland in 1966.

In June, 2013, a project began to redevelop the ground floor for use as a a café bar: the National Grande Café Bar, which opened in early September, 2013.

In the spring of 2015 a cocktail bar and nightclub, called Sixty6, opened on the upper floors of the building.

The National Bank of Ireland was founded in London in 1835, becoming The National Bank in 1859.

The Bank's core Irish business was divested to the Governor and Company of the Bank of Ireland, as National Bank of Ireland, in 1966.

First published in July, 2013. 

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