The first edition of Marcus Patton’s survey of buildings in central Belfast was published by the UAHS in 1993, at a time when the city was still reeling from the onslaught of the Troubles and tourists were thin on the ground. Nearly twenty five years later, the city is in a much more optimistic state and tourists sometimes seem to outnumber the natives. But what else has changed?
The UAHS guide recognises quality in new buildings as well as old ones, and as an example of a building that was not there at the time of the first edition, the Waterfront Hall is given prominent coverage. The other new buildings are also mentioned and even pictured among the thousand small photographs scattered through the text, although not all have been welcomed by the author.
The book records not just what is in Belfast today but also what has been lost, with many historic photographs from the Monuments & Buildings Record and private collections included to flesh out the story of the city. The Troubles are recorded in many entries describing the impact of bombs, but development pressures were responsible for the loss of many other buildings such as the fine warehouse of 1852 that stood on the site now occupied by Windsor House.
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